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Monks expelled for voicing their opinion over admission policy

Over the years, the Chinese authorities in Tibet have been appointing their officials in the monastic institutions to monitor and control the activities of the monks.

Lobsang Tenzin and Thupten Nyima, recently arrived in Nepal in early March, described to TCHRD the control and interference by government officials in their monastery.

They told TCHRD, “In Lhasa Ramoche Monastery, two officials have been permanently residing in the monastery under instructions from the Lhasa Religious Bureau. Although the monks of the monastery elect their heads, they have no control of the activities of the monastery. The government appointed officials call meetings in the monastery and conduct “love your religion, love your country” political education sessions in the monastery.”

“New monks are recruited on the basis of examination. However, instead of examining the monks on the basis of their spiritual knowledge, they are examined for their political ideology. The questions are designed to test the new monks’ allegiance to the Communist Party of China. Anyone who fails to pass the allegiance test is not given admission in the monastery.”

“In 2004, around 70 new monks registered for admission in the monastery. During the examination, the monks were given a question paper with the following questions; Do you agree that the “separatist” groups should be cracked down? How do you think the solidarity of the motherland can be achieved? The monastery should sustain on itself and not on the support of the people, what is your opinion? etc. Except for 24 monks, the rest did not give any answer to the questions and were automatically disqualified for admission.”

“In order to seek admission for the remaining new monks, the elected monastery heads, Yeshi Lodoe and Drakpa Gyaltsen, approached the government officials to give admission to the monks. They reasoned with the officials that the admission should be done through a reasonable and fairer manner unlike the current political ideology test. On hearing this, the officials got enraged and a heated argument ensued between them.”

“On the following day, the 115 monks in the monastery were called for a meeting. The officials alleged that the elected heads were hindering the administration work of the monastery and declared their expulsion from the monastery. Both Yeshi Lodoe and Drakpa Gyaltsen are around thirty years old and have been a monk at the Ramoche Monastery for a long time.”

Although many Tibetans want to pursue their life in monastic studies, the interference through government appointed officials in the monasteries of Tibet make it hard for the monks to live their life peacefully. Anyone who fails to abide by the rules set by the authorities and voices their opinions either face expulsion at the least or imprisonment.

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