And in Ngaba a mother of two is arrested after a solo protest
Demolition work has begun at Larung Gar, the largest centre of Buddhist teaching in Tibet. The demolitions are part of a plan announced last month to dramatically scale down the size and population of the academy and monastery, which is located in Sertar County in Kardze, eastern Tibet.
At around 8am (local time) yesterday, a Chinese work-team arrived at the monastery, accompanied by officials, police and members of the armed forces dressed in plain clothes. They brought bulldozers and other demolition equipment. Upon arriving, they began to pull down residences belonging to the monastery. Pictures and video posted online showed the scale of the destruction, with piles of wood and stone scattered across the site.
Larung Gar currently holds well over 10,000 people. In June this year the government of Serta County sent out an order stating that by October 2017 this number will be cut in half, with only 1,500 monks and 3,500 nuns allowed to live on the site.
The order from the local authorities gave instructions for the phased removal of residents, with 30 October this year set as the deadline for the first wave of removals and demolitions. Several punishments were mentioned in the order in case the deadlines were not met. These included further expulsions and even the demolition of the entire monastery.
Authorities have justified these measures, and other past demolitions at Tibetan monasteries and nunneries, as safety measures in response to overcrowding. A student at Larung Gar questioned this explanation, posting his thoughts online:
If its only option to solve the over population is destroying the houses then why is the same policy not implemented in the Chinese cities and towns where population is overcrowded? Where is the equality, rule by law, public welfare, religious freedom and equal rights of all nationalities (they used to say) if you crush down the houses of innocent religious practitioners who are living simple lives.
A mother of two arrested in Ngaba
Next door to Kardze, in Ngaba County, a mother of two has been arrested after carrying out a solo protest. On 14 July Konchok Dolma from Karoma Township walked through the street with a portrait of the Dalai Lama. She was arrested by police within minutes of starting her protest.
Konchok Dolma is a house wife with a seven-year-old boy and four-year-old girl. Her current situation and whereabouts are not known. A number of other Tibetans who have been arrested after carrying out similar protests remain in an unknown location and condition. They include Lobsang Tsering, Losang Thubten, Tashi Dhondup and Sangay
Whether it is demolitions of monasteries or arresting Tibetans for possessing pictures of the Dalai Lama, religion in Tibet is subject to relentless interference by the Chinese government. Beijing even wants to handpick the next Dalai Lama when the time comes. Tibetans will utterly reject any choice of Dalai Lama made for them by Beijing, but need our support. Sign the petition to call on political and religious leaders to tell China that they will do the same and will never recognise any Dalai Lama it appoints.