August 30, 2011 / 5:09 PM / 8 years ago

China jails two Tibetan monks over self-immolation

BEIJING (Reuters) - Two Tibetan monks were jailed for 13 and 10 years by a court in southwest China Tuesday for “intentional homicide” for helping a fellow monk set himself on fire, state media said.

“The two plotted, instigated and assisted in the self-immolation of fellow monk Rigzin Phuntsog and caused his death,” the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the court’s finding. No further details were given.

Overseas rights groups say Phuntsog self-immolated in March in protest at government controls on the restive region of Tibet.

The sentencing of Tsering Tenzin and Tenchum, monks at the Kirti Monastery in Aba, a mainly ethnic Tibetan part of Sichuan province, followed Monday’s 11-year jail sentence for another monk, Drongdru, for the same crime.

He was jailed because he hid the injured monk for 11 hours and prevented emergency treatment, which resulted in the monk’s death, the news agency said.

Phuntsog’s death triggered protests in Aba, where ethnic Tibetans erupted in defiance against Chinese control three years ago. He was a disciple and nephew of Drongdru, the monk sentenced Monday, Xinhua reported earlier.

At least three Tibetan monks have immolated themselves in China since 2009.

In March 2008, protests led by monks in the Tibetan capital Lhasa were suppressed by police and turned violent. Rioters torched shops and turned on residents, especially Han Chinese, whom many Tibetans see as intruders threatening their culture.

That unrest spilt over into other ethnic Tibetan parts of China, including mountainous western Sichuan.

Reporting by Michael Martina; editing by Robert Woodward

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