Beijing: As the self-immolations in Tibet continued unabated, China has brought a new law under which anyone caught helping someone self-immolate would be held liable for "intentional homicide", a regulation officials hope will bring down such cases.
According to a regulation recently drafted by the Ministry of Public Security and the judicial bodies, people who plan, organise, incite or help others perform self-immolations will be tried for intentional homicide, state-run Global Times reported on Monday.
"Those who parade a corpse through the streets or gather to watch the immolation without actively stopping the suicide will also be subject to criminal prosecution," it said.
One Buddhist monk and his nephew in Sichuan Province, close to Tibet were arrested for encouraging eight people to commit self immolations, official media announced on Sunday.
According to overseas Chinese groups the self-immolations were aimed at protesting the Chinese rule in Tibet and calling for return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
So far 92 people committed self immolations in the recent months and according to reports the numbers went up to 23 in November coinciding with once-in-a-decade-leadership meet of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
Xi Jinping was elected the new leader replacing the outgoing President Hu Jintao. The Chinese government has long condemned the Dalai Lama clique for encouraging innocent people to engage in self-immolation on the Chinese mainland and now this case has provided overwhelming evidence, Xiong Kunxin, a professor of ethnic studies at the Minzu University of China, told the Global Times.
"Many victims were brainwashed this way by the 'bad monks,' who planned to use the immolation cases to turn world opinion against the Chinese government," Xiong said.
"Buddhism is a peaceful religion and respects life. To burn oneself to death is against the fundamental teachings of Buddhism, Xiong said, adding that those who committed self-immolation were very naive and lacked sound judgement.
The self immolations and Dalai Lama were strongly denounced by the state-run China Daily in an editorial on Monday. "True Buddhists do no lie. That is why when Dharmsala and the 14th Dalai Lama portray the present-day Tibetan inhabited areas as 'hell on Earth', where 'ethnic genocide' is the norm, their Western sympathisers, thinking they speak as true Buddhists", it said.
"That is why, when Dharmsala and the 14th Dalai Lama deny any connection with the self-immolations, they point fingers at the Chinese authorities, or simply the Han Chinese, citing the deaths as evidence of Tibetan 'desperation' against 'Chinese rule'", the editorial said.
"True Buddhists do not kill any living things, themselves included. Nor do they instigate others to kill. It is the No 1 sin in all forms and versions of the Buddhist commandments. In Vajrayana Buddhism, suicide is the most serious sin, equal to killing Buddha," it said.
"That is why Buddhist masters and believers alike never tire of persuading people not to commit suicide. That is why, when Dharmsala and Dalai Lama, instead of condemning self-immolation, praise it as an act of "bravery", even some of their devout sympathisers and believers feel confused", it said.
Citing the arrest of the Buddhist monk from Sichuan province, the editorial said "some of the intended victims had to flee home to escape an arranged self-immolation", which puts a heavy question mark against how "voluntary" such "suicides" are.
"That constitutes murder under the Chinese criminal code".
"Since Dharmsala and Dalai Lama have been crying for 'human rights' for fellow Tibetans, they may want to share their thoughts on the human rights of those who have been taught and helped to kill themselves," it said.