October 20, 2005

Tibet: China Tightens Stranglehold on Tibet's Monasteries

In a fresh bid to tighten its strong control over Tibet's monasteries, Beijing has started imparting "patriotic education" to Tibetan monks and nuns, a report said, quoting Tibetans fleeing into exile

Kathmandu: In a fresh bid to tighten its strong control over Tibet's monasteries, Beijing has started imparting "patriotic education" to Tibetan monks and nuns, a report said, quoting Tibetans fleeing into exile.

According to three young Tibetan monks who fled the country last month, the Talung Monastery in Phenpo Lhundrup in Lhasa, capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region, where they lived, was subjected to an intense campaign from June, Tibetan web site Phayul.com reported. The monks said while earlier, the Chinese authorities had given them five different political literatures to study, in June, they were given two more and told officials from the County Religious Bureau would arrive in the monastery to conduct examinations.

Those above 18 were also asked to condemn the Dalai Lama, the exiled leader of the Tibetans, as a "separatist," and to pledge loyalty to mainland China during the officials' visit.

A large number of monks left the monastery to avoid the officials, the report said.

In June 2005, officials from the Religious Bureau visited Gyabdak Nunnery in Dzongshul village in Phenpo Lhundrup to conduct "patriotic education". They reportedly asked 50 nuns to pose for individual photographs, a request which was turned down by more than 40 of the women.

Consequently the officials reportedly cancelled their enrolment and asked them to be expelled.

The expelled nuns are currently said to be living at home.

The photographs were reportedly to be used for propaganda purposes. In April 2005, while conducting a three-month "patriotic education" campaign in Sera Monastery, one of the three great monasteries of Tibet, officials from the Lhasa Religious Bureau gave the monks several books to study. The books were "Handbook on Crushing the Separatists," "Handbook of Contemporary Policies," "Handbook of Policies on Religion," Handbook on Law," "Handbook on Ethics for the Masses," and "Handbook of History of Tibet".

At the end, the monks were tested, resulting in the reported expulsion of 18 of them. Of them, eight monks faced detention in the Public Security Bureau Detention Centre, the report said.

Beijing began "patriotic education" in Tibet's monasteries and nunneries from 1996 in an effort to make Tibetans renounce their allegiance to the Dalai Lama, whom the Tibetans regard as a god.

According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, at least 11,383 clergy were expelled between January 1996 and August 2004 under the "patriotic education" campaign.

Source: New Kerala