Skip to main content

Tibetan monk who helped bring Buddhism to West murdered in China

By Katie Hunt, CNN
updated 11:49 PM EDT, Wed October 9, 2013
A Tibetan monk sits outside a temple in Shangri-La, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of China's Yunnan Province.
A Tibetan monk sits outside a temple in Shangri-La, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of China's Yunnan Province.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A high-profile British Tibetan monk and two other men have been killed in China
  • Police said that three suspects have been captured
  • The victims were killed over a financial dispute, police added
  • Victim's brother says he was "assassinated"

Hong Kong (CNN) -- A high-profile monk who played a key role in bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West has been murdered in southwest China, police say.

Tarap Shetrup Akong, who has British citizenship , was killed along with his nephew and another man in Sichuan province on Tuesday, police in the provincial capital Chengdu said on their official account on the microblogging site Weibo.

Police said that three suspects have been captured, and that the victims were stabbed in a financial dispute.

Akong was born in Tibet in 1940 and left for exile in 1959. He founded a monastery called Samye Ling in a secluded part of Scotland.

The victim's brother said in a statement on the monastery's website that he had been "assassinated" but did not give any further details.

Robbie Barnett, a Tibet expert at Columbia University in New York, said that he was known for his social as much as spiritual work.

"The bulk of his life's work was on providing social welfare to villagers, rural communities, townspeople, nomads and monasteries in Tibet and other countries."

Barnett said that he had great diplomatic skill and was able to maintain relationships with high-level Chinese officials without compromising his work with Tibetans on the ground.

CNN's Jaime FlorCruz in Beijing contributed reporting

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:25 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Beijing says only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive, prompting criticism that it stifles democracy.
updated 3:14 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
China warns the United States to end its military surveillance flights near Chinese territory.
updated 11:12 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
China has produced elite national athletes but some argue the emphasis on winning discourages children. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports
updated 1:13 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
updated 5:08 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
updated 12:52 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
updated 3:42 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
updated 12:10 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
updated 3:12 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
updated 10:30 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
updated 5:11 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
updated 11:44 PM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
updated 7:57 PM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
updated 2:56 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
ADVERTISEMENT