July 16, 2015
- The body of revered Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was cremated today (July 16) amid high security at a remote detention facility where he died in his 13th year of a life sentence. His ashes are being taken back to his home county and monastery by his sisters and other relatives, according to his relatives in exile, where prayer ceremonies are expected to be held.
- When the authorities refused to allow the body to be returned to his family for traditional prayer ceremonies, it was negotiated for some members of his family to visit the body late last night. They were taken to a high-security detention facility in an isolated area several kilometers from Chengdu – not Chuandong Prison where they had thought he was being held. Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s body, still in prison uniform, was in a bed in a cell. According to the same sources, his mouth and nails were stained black, and details of the circumstances of his death are still not clear.
- Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s family had urged the authorities not to rush a cremation, citing a provision in Chinese law that allows families to appeal against hasty cremations of prisoners. In an appeal letter they have written to the authorities, translated in full into English below, one of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s sisters said: “2. The body of the deceased cannot be taken home. We suspect the cause of death has some connection to the Prison. Please tell us clearly, which legal article states that the body of the deceased cannot be returned home.”