Published By Jamphel Shonu
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Larung Gar--Before and After the Demolitions

Larung Gar–Before and After the Demolitions

Dharamshala: The Chinese authorities have reportedly resumed demolition of monastic dwellings and expulsion of monks and nuns of Larung Gar, one of the world’s largest centers of Buddhist learning in Tibet. The dismantling of the center, which began in July 2016, was temporarily suspended in December during winter.

Latest reports and video footages emanating out of Tibet have confirmed that 3225 more dwellings would be dismantled by the end of April, five months before the actual September deadline in the initial demolition ‘order’ issued in June 2016.  The order detailed directives to downsize the institute by 5000 residents, which would mean half the size of its original population. The evictees are neither allowed to return to the centre nor continue thier practice in their hometown. Images also show evictees are isolated and put up in newly constructed dwellings.

Human Right Watch (HRW) yesterday called on the Chinese authorities to halt the expulsion and political re-education of monks and nuns of the institute.

Sophie Richardson, China Director at HRW said, “China is aggressively dismantling religious freedom along with religious life at Larung Gar by subjecting many expelled monks and nuns to forced re-education.”

HRW condemned the Chinese government’s treatment of the evictees. The press release mentioned that the “video footages showed nuns dressed in religious robes dancing on the stage to the audience seemingly of Chinese officials violates the tenets of religious freedom and also amounts to degrading treatment prohibited under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which China is a party.”

Washington based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) in its latest report titled “Shadow of Dust Across the Sun: How Tourism is use to Counter Tibetan Cultural Resilience” claimed that the wide-scale demolitions of Larung Gar and Yachen Gar are politically motivated to transform the world-famous Buddhist institutes into tourist destinations, to further dilute the authentic Tibetan Buddhist culture. The report further added that the expulsions of monks and nuns, demolitions of monastic dwellings got underway after six companies “held multiple special meetings.” The offices and departments involved “were required to discuss the politics and the overall situation.”

The wide-scale demolitions of Larung Gar and the subsequent eviction of monks and nuns drew international condemnation and action. In a rare and bold step, six United Nations’ independent experts on February 24 this year made public an urgent joint communication made to the Chinese government. In a strongly worded statement, the UN experts raised eight areas of concern over human rights situation inside Tibet and asked the Beijing government to provide detailed information on Larung Gar and Yachen Gar.

On March 8 this year, at the 34th session of Human Rights Council, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein expressed concern over ‘cultural and religious restrictions’ in Tibet and demonstrated commitment to ‘engage with China for an effective dialogue on important human rights issues.’

At the HRC session, which concluded on March 24, the United States, European Union, Germany, Canada and France expressed concern over the religious repression of people inside Tibet and the crackdown on human rights defenders in Tibet and China.

In December last year the European Parliament adopted an urgency resolution on Tibet and condemned the demolition of Larung Gar.

Responding to China’s beefing up demolition work at Larung Gar, the Tibetan Political Leader, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay said “what we see happening in the case of Larung Gar is reminiscent of the bitter experiences of Cultural Revolution. We fear that the Cultural Revolution is reviving in Tibet. “

On April 1 this year the Tibet Museum of Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) in partnership with Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Delhi) and India International Centre (IIC) will open a photo exhibition titled ‘Revisiting the Cultural Revolution in Tibet: A Photo exhibition’ at IIC, Delhi. The week- long photo exhibition will showcase the impact of Cultural Revolution in Tibet and how it is reviving in Tibet especially in the case of Larung Gar. Former Indian Foreign and Finance Minister Shri. Yashwant Sinha will grace the inauguration of photo exhibition.

-Report filed by United Nations and Human Rights desk of DIIR-


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