China: 500 nuns and monks expelled from Larung Gar
Ongoing destruction of the Tibetan Institute (Press Release)
According to the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), China’s authorities have once again expelled 500 nuns and monks from the monastery and Buddhist teaching institute Larung Gar in Tibet. Thus, the number of Buddhist nuns and monks from Larung Gar who were expelled since August 2016 has reached a total of 5,100. “Now, China’s religious authorities can inform Peking that they have over-fulfilled their plan,” said Ulrich Delius, the STP’s Asia expert, in Göttingen on Wednesday. “They managed to reach the goal of expelling more than half of the residents Larung Gars nine months before the official deadline – a sad record in the history of actions against the freedom of religion. The recent measures against Larung Gars are to be seen as the most severe limitation of the freedom of religion in the country since the authorities initiated a wave of cooptation and control against the Buddhist monasteries and started to re-educate the nuns and monks in the 1990s.”
The plan was to forcibly reduce the number of inhabitants of the Larung Gar Institute – which was founded in 1980 – from around 10,000 to 5,000 people by September 2017. Most of the nuns and monks who were expelled on December 24, 2016, are from the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Golog in Qinghai Province. They were taken to a provisional detention center by buses and military trucks. At the same time, their approximately 400 houses in Larung Gar were destroyed by bulldozers.
“The Chinese authorities never really tried to find a solution to the temporary overcrowding of the teaching institute in cooperation with the administration of Larung Gar” Delius reported. “If the authorities had tried to respect their right to freedom of religion, they could have allowed the new nuns and monks of Larung Gar to build houses outside the settlement area, which had been reduced by the authorities more than once.” However, the Chinese government wants to limit the influence of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism at all costs. Thus, strict regulations were issued to cut down the influx of Tibetans to Larung Gar. Now, every monk and nun will have to pass a political entrance examination and submit a request for resettlement to Larung Gar to the “United Front Work Department”, which is feared for its repression in Tibet.
Header photo: antialiasing via iStock