Truku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche cremated inside police facility, family members suspect foul play

DHARAMSALA, Jul 16: Ignoring pleas from Tibetans across the world and international bodies, Chinese authorities have cremated the body of Trulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche who passed away in Chinese prison on July 12 while serving life sentence.

Rinpoche’s body was cremated at 7 am today against the wishes of the family members at a county police facility about 5 Kms from Chuandong prison in Chengdu city, the capital of Sichuan province where he served thirteen years.

Dolkar Lhamo's original application in Chinese language.
Dolkar Lhamo’s original application in Chinese language.

Only 32 people including family members, students and other monks and nuns were allowed to attend the funeral. After the cremation only one person was allowed to stay back to clear the remains; the rest were asked to leave the facility.

Family members believe Rinpoche was murdered as they noticed that his lips and finger nails had turned unusually dark in colour, indicating administration of poison.

Earlier one of Rinpoche’s sisters, Dolkar Lhamo had submitted a five-point application to the prison authorities appealing for the return of Rinpoche’s body in which she questioned the legality of the actions taken by the prison authorities.

Following are the points made by Dolkar Lhamo in the application written originally in Chinese:

1: A lot of certifications were read to us as we negotiated with the detention facility. We asked for a certificate of death, which they have promised to deliver. The said promise from the detention facility is made by Secretary Wong. Yet in the afternoon, we were told that no death certificate could be provided.

2: The deceased’s body cannot be brought home. We suspect it has to do with the cause of death. Please specify under which law is a deceased’s person kept away instead of being returned to the relevant party.

3: If the detention facility cannot provide a clear response concerning the cause of death of Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, we will ask journalists and the relevant personnel to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. If we can bring it back (the body), then we are willing to forfeit the right to an investigation. This is the humble wish of the relatives and Dolkar Lhamo.

4: Despite the fact that the prison staff were clearly aware of our whereabouts in Chengdu during the time of death of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, we have not been contacted immediately by the prison staff. For what reason were we not notified immediately of Tenzin Delek’s death. The death time provided by the prison facility in inconsistent, some said it’s at 02: 00 while others said it’s at 04:00.

5: The detention facility made a notification that if we choose not to inspect the body, they will cremate the body after a given time. Given that the detention facility and relevant department cannot provide a satisfying answer concerning the cause of the death of the deceased. Is there any law or legislation that allows for the deceased’s body to be cremated by the prison staff. in other words, whats the legality of such action undertaken by prison staff?

To read earlier reports, click here and here.


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