A high-profile Tibetan monk who cofounded the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the West and maintained contacts with Beijing was killed in China, local police and his brother said.
Three Tibetans confronted Tarap Shetrup Akong, a British national, at his residence in the southwestern city of Chengdu on Tuesday and stabbed him to death along with his nephew and a driver, Chengdu police said in a statement.
Police said the men were attacked after negotiations over a financial dispute soured, but the victim’s brother, Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, issued a statement saying the three had been “assassinated,” although he did not elaborate.
Yeshe Rinpoche wrote on the Web site of the monastery that Tarap Shetrup Akong founded in Scotland that the monk’s body has been taken to a hospital, where a postmortem will be carried out. Chengdu police said the suspected assailants have been detained and have admitted carrying out the killings. The case remains under investigation.
Calls to the mobile and office phones of the British embassy’s spokesman rang unanswered, and messages were not responded to.
Tarap Shetrup Akong co-founded the Samye Ling Monastery in 1967, making it the first Tibetan Buddhist center to be established in the West.
He maintained political ties with Beijing and met with then-Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference chairman Jia Qinglin (賈慶林) when he traveled to Britain in 2006 to explain the Chinese government’s policies in Tibet, according to Xinhua news agency.
“Though we have settled abroad for a long time, we are always concerned about the development of our motherland, in particular the development of Tibet,” Tarap Shetrup Akong was reported by Xinhua as telling Jia.
Beijing’s rule of Tibet has been turbulent. Tensions flared up last week as Chinese security forces reportedly fired into a crowd of Tibetan residents who were demanding the release of a fellow villager detained for protesting orders to display the national flag.
Overseas rights groups say that about 60 Tibetans were injured in the rare shooting, a sign that the government is tightening its control in the Himalayan region.