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China Cremates Prominent Tibetan Monk Against Family’s Wishes

China refused to hand over Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche body to his relatives. 

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Chinese authorities cremated the body of a prominent Tibetan monk on Thursday, 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 US State Department said that it hoped Chinese authorities would investigate and make public the circumstances surrounding Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s death at the age of 65 on Sunday.

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China refused to hand over Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche body to his relatives. 
Exiled Tibetans hold a banner to demand the release of the body of Tibetan Buddhist leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who has been in a Chinese prison since 2002, during a protest in Dharmsala, India. (Photo: AP)

Followers Protest in Vain

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

Calls to the Dazhou government went unanswered. The Sichuan government propaganda department said it was unaware of the case. An official who picked up the telephone at the provincial police department said she had not heard of the case.

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