Jul 20, 2015

Tibet: Mystery Surrounding Death of Imprisoned Prominent Monk Exacerbated by Chinese Authorities

Calls made by the European Union, United States, and international rights groups for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche are regrettably no longer necessary, as the prominent Tibetan monk has passed away from undisclosed causes at the age of 65. On Thursday 16 July 2015, Chinese authorities cremated his remains, refusing to preserve the body for 15 days as Tibetan Buddhist tradition dictates. The Chinese government continues to deny custody of Tenzin’s remains to his family, further intensifying suspicion around the monk’s death.


Below is an article published by Reuters:


Chinese authorities cremated the body of a prominent Tibetan monk on Thursday [16 July 2015], his sister said, denying family members custody of his remains amid suspicions over the cause of his death.

More than 30 monks, nuns and family members of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche viewed his body, said Dolkar, his sister, who witnessed the cremation in Dazhou city in southwestern Sichuan province on Thursday morning.

She said government officials had denied her request that her brother’s body be preserved for 15 days in keeping with Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

Dolkar said her brother’s fingernails and mouth were black and that officials had not told her the cause of his death, adding to her suspicions.

The U.S. State Department said this it hoped Chinese authorities would investigate and make public the circumstances surrounding Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death at the age of 65 on Sunday [12 July 2015].

International rights groups, as well as the United States and the European Union, have called for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche who was serving a life sentence on charges of “crimes of terror and incitement of separatism”.

On Wednesday [15 July 2015], dozens of Tibetans protested outside the prison where Tenzin Delek Rinpoche died, reflecting anger amongst his supporters and family, who believe he was murdered.


Photo credit: Paul Richards/AFP/Getty Images