Tibetan monks to be ‘educated’ against separatism

Show of force outside Kumbum Monastery, 2015
Show of force outside Kumbum Monastery, 2015

26th November 2015

The plan will see officials deployed to monasteries to guard against overseas influence

According to reports from China, officials will be deployed in Tibetan monasteries to warn residents against participating in activities that “split the country and disrupt social order”. The scheme was announced on Tuesday by the government of Nangchen County, in Amdo, eastern Tibet.

Under the scheme, officials will be stationed at monasteries throughout the county, where they will provide the monks with ideological, moral and legal education. According to an expert quoted in the article, this is allegedly in response to fears by authorities that some monasteries are being influenced by “hostile foreign forces and religious extremists such as the Dalai Lama”.

Despite the monasteries supposedly handling their own internal affairs, officials also claim that the visits are necessary so that they can provide monasteries with basic services such as electricity and running water, and inform the monks of new government policies. There are 103 Buddhist monasteries and religious facilities spread across Nangchen County.

The announcement is the latest in a long line of restrictions that authorities have imposed on Tibet’s monks and nuns, who have actively resisted Chinese occupation. In April, Chinese officials said that Tibet’s monks and nuns should dedicate themselves to Communist Party practices as much as they should to their Buddhist religion, and should be tested for patriotism. In September, local authorities expelled 106 nuns from their nunnery in Driru County in Central Tibet and then demolished their living quarters.

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