Oct 12, 2010

Tibet: China to Tighten Control over Buddhist Monasteries

From November 1, the Chinese Administration of Religious Affairs will apply stricter control measures over Buddhist Monasteries in Tibet in efforts to reduce the influence of the Dalai Lama despite his repeated and explicit rejection of Beijing’s ‘splittist’ accusations .

Below is an article published by Phayul


China plans to tighten control over Tibetan Buddhist monasteries to reduce the influence of the exiled Dalai Lama and other 'internal and external separatist forces,' according to a government notice seen on Monday [date].

The State Administration of Religious Affairs issued the 'Management measure for Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and temples' to be applied from November 1, saying it was devised in response to a growing foreign influence and 'separatist activities.'

Monks at some monasteries had been influenced by 'internal and external separatist forces' and engaged in 'disrupting national unity and splitting the nation,' the administration said in a notice on the new rules posted on its website.

'The existence of these problems has seriously influenced the normal order of Tibetan Buddhism ... and even given the Dalai clique an opportunity to plot and spread confusion in Tibetan areas, and to engage in destructive separatist activities,' it said, referring to the exiled leader, the Dalai Lama.

The stricter management of monasteries was designed to help 'maintain the normal order of Tibetan Buddhism and build a socialist harmonious society,' the notice said.

The notice followed the reported sentencing of two monks accused of leading anti-Chinese protests in 2008 in Lhasa, the capital of China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

The Lhasa Intermediate People's Court sentenced Jampel Wangchuk and Kunchok Nyima to life imprisonment and 20 years in prison, respectively, in June, the Indian-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) reported on Friday [8 October 2010].

The two men were monks at Dreprung, one of the largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and were in a group of about 350 monks who marched into Lhasa from the monastery on March 10, 2008, TCHRD said.

Police arrested the two monks and some 40 others in April 2008, but there was no confirmation of what happened to them until last week, the group said.

Courts have already sentenced dozens of other monks and lay Tibetans who joined the 2008 protests, according to state media and exile groups.

The protests began in Lhasa on the anniversary of a 1959 uprising against Chinese rule and escalated into ethnic violence and rioting that left at least 21 people dead, according to the government.

The protests grew into widespread demonstrations against Chinese rule in many Tibetan areas of China.

Exiles said they had evidence that dozens more died in the violence, many of them Tibetan protestors attacked by Chinese security forces.

In July, US-based Human Rights Watch called for an investigation of China's abuses in its Tibetan regions, saying witness accounts had confirmed the use of 'disproportionate force and deliberate brutality' during and since the 2008 protests.

The State Administration of Religious Affairs said it began drafting the new management measure for monasteries in late 2008.

It said the measure would protect all 'lawful activities' at monasteries, including training on Tibetan Buddhist texts, publishing, and receiving donations from domestic and overseas organizations and individuals.

After the 2008 protests, the government increased security, turned away journalists from Tibetan areas, limited access by foreign tourists and temporarily suspended communications in some places.