Beijing (AsiaNews) - Chinese authorities yesterday, 16 July, cremated the body of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, the Tibetan Monk who died last Sunday in prison under suspicious circumstances on 12 July. The rite took place in Dazhou, in the southwest of Sichuan Province. One of his sisters, Dolkar, was able to attend the cremation, while about 30 monks and nuns were allowed to see and wash the body before it was placed in an electric furnace.
In recent days, thousands of Tibetans have rallied from different provinces of the country to demand the return of Tenzin’s body, but the Chinese police refused and even arrested his family members.
His sister, Dolkar’s request the body be preserved for at least 15 days after death (according to Tibetan tradition) was also rejected.
Several eyewitnesses claim that the corpse seemed in good condition, not emaciated as was described before his earlier death. Moreover, it seems that the nails of hands and mouth of Tenzin were black. This raised suspicions about the real cause of death.
As reported by Radio Free Asia tendar, Tenzin’s family have accused the police of having poisoned him.
The US State Department - since the pro Tenzin demonstrations that took place in New York and San Francisco – have called on Beijing authorities to investigate and make public the circumstances of the lama’s death.
Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who at the time of death was 65 years old, had been sentenced to death in December 2002 along with 28-year-old activist Lobsang Dhondup for a bomb attack in Chengdu in April of that year that killed one person and wounded a second. Chinese officials always refused to hold an open trial (in violation of Chinese law) or release the verdict or indictment.