Published By Tenzin Saldon

Chinese authorities in Kham Sershul force Tibetan monks below 16 years old out of the monastery to join government-run secular schools. Photo/RFA

In a drive to assert what is called “‘Sinicization’ of Tibetan Buddhism”, Chinese authorities in Kham Sershul are forcing Tibetan monks who are below the age of 16 out of the monastery and instead, compelling them to join government-run secular schools.

According to news reports, the Chinese government ordered Dzachuka monasteries in Sershul (Chinese: Shiqu) county, Karze (Ch: Ganzi Prefecture, incorporated into China’s Sichuan Province) to remove young monks who are 15 years old and below to enroll in Chinese-run government schools. If the monks refuse to abide, the monasteries will face closure while their administrators, the monks’ religious teachers, as well as their parents will be punished, warned the authorities.

Although the total number of young monks who have been forced out of their monasteries and other details could not be verified at the time, it is believed that as many as 200 young monks were removed from Dza Sershul Monastery, Dzachuka earlier this week on 10th July. The government-enforced removal of young monks from their monasteries is clearly against the wishes of the monks and their parents as Radio Free Asia’s source cited a blogger on a Tibetan social media who said, “These young monks were seen leaving their monastery unwillingly and with tears in their eyes.” The parents of the young monks were also threatened that the authorities would close the monastery if the monks refuse to leave.

Jowo Ganden Shedrub Palgyeling Monastery in Dzachuka has also faced the removal of around 20 novice monks, reported the RFA.

Beijing’s interference in Tibetan Buddhist practices and control of Tibetan Buddhism institutions continues to intensify. In the recent years, Karze was subjected to mass-demolitions of world-famous Tibetan Buddhist institutes – Larung Gar and Yarchen Gar – the forced eviction of thousands of monks and nuns from the two Buddhist centers, the government-controlled “Democratic Management Committees” taking over the administrative role of the traditional heads of monasteries, and humiliating and rights-violating “patriotic re-education” sessions that monks and nuns are forced to participate in. Such developments attest to the Chinese government’s increased repression on religious institutions.

Dza Sershul Monastery in Karze, founded in 1760, is one of the main Gelugpa centers in Kham having profound historic and religious significance.

-Report filed by UN & Human Rights Desk, DIIR-

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