China to create law-abiding ‘model monastery’ in TAR

In a Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) Communist Party meeting, held on the afternoon of 30 October, the Chinese government approved to carry out law-abiding patriotic re-education principles including a “model monastery,” according to the official report on 1 November 2011. This is a new strategy to further intensify the control over Tibetan monasteries and nunneries in Lhasa.

The principles also include an annual “contest” among the various monasteries and nunneries in TAR. Additionally, all monasteries and nunneries shall not engage in creating social disturbances and should oppose strongly against the Dalai cliques. Monks and nuns should not participate in any ‘separatist acts’. There shall be a half-yearly assessment carried out in all monasteries and nunneries, and an annual award is promised to be given to the one that best obeys all the rules set by the Chinese government. That ‘winner’ shall be labeled the ‘Model Monastery,’ whose students (monks/nuns) will be given certificates and monetary rewards. This ‘Model Monastery’ will be set as an example for the other monasteries and nunneries which shall further strive to become one, states the principle.

On 20 October 2011, the Tibetan Buddhism University was inaugurated in Chushul County, Lhasa (TAR). During his visit to the university on 24 October, the TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo said that the university should “aim high in producing monks who are well educated about ‘Dalai clique’ and ‘other national splitist’ plots.” Representatives from various monasteries are educated at this university, where the Chinese government claims to educate these monks on Tibetan Buddhism. In actual practice they hold Patriotic re-education classes, which are much more intense than the ones carried out in the monasteries. After completing their “education” from this newly opened university, the monks are to “teach” and influence their colleagues in their respective monasteries after they return.

On 28 October, during the Buddhist Association Forum held in Lhasa, Chen Quanguo reaffirmed its stand for criticizing the “Dalai cliques” and to “resolutely eliminate the XIV Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhism.” He added that the regional party committee and government should implement party policies to strengthen the management and deployment ideas required to build the “harmonious Model Monastery.”

Earlier this year, Chinese authorities introduced identity cards for the monks and nuns. These are all attempts to tighten the already rigid control over monasteries and nunneries, especially after the series of self-immolation incidents in Tibet. This only worsens the grave situation of religious freedom in Tibet.

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