China bans Tibetan Party members and cadres from engaging in religious activities in Golok

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Chigdril County, Golog

A strict ban on religious activities has been imposed recently on all former and current Party members and cadres in Golok (Ch: Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, in the Tibetan province of Amdo.

In Darlag (Ch: Dari) County in Golok, the ban is being enforced by the deployment of a large number of informers to ensure no Tibetan party member engages in religious rituals such as going for kora (circumambulation of sacred structures), using rosary, digital prayer beads and other religious objects.

Last weekend, local authorities conducted thorough searches in the homes of Party members in Darlag for photos of the Dalai Lama.

Darlag has roughly 33,000 Tibetans according to the seventh national population census, with less than a quarter believed to be working in various government departments.

Code of Conduct for not believing in religion

The imposition of the categorical ban on all religious activities in Darlag is in many ways similar to measures introduced in the Code of Conduct circulated earlier this year in Tibet Autonomous Region.

The six-point directive required Party members to shed all aspects of religious life. All religious acts associated with the Tibetan way of life were listed as banned, including not sending children to monasteries as monks and nuns or inviting monks and nuns to perform prayers, engaging with religious material online and a complete denouncement of the 14th Dalai Lama.

The party members not only need to adhere to Marxism materialism and atheism and be absolutely loyal to the party and its constitution, but are expected to educate their family members about the incompatibility of religion with the Party’s founding principles and mission.

The Second Batch of Education Rectification Campaign

The timing of the latest ban can be linked to the onset of the second batch of education rectification campaign.

The National Political and Legal Team Education and Rectification Leading Group held its sixth national meeting in Beijing on 13 September.

Guo Shengkun, the leading group’s leader who ​​​presided over the meeting had said the party members must take the lead in implementing the second batch of education rectification campaign with higher standards and stricter requirements to ensure that tangible results are achieved.

“The role of the special agency of the Commission for Discipline Inspection and Supervision must be enhanced in order to thoroughly investigate outstanding problems in key areas, eliminate black sheep, and rectify stubborn diseases”.

The Qinghai Party Secretary Wang Jianjun in a provincial level meeting held on 25 September ​said the province ​must carefully implement the instruction of the ​leading group’s sixth meeting.

The ban is likely to be imposed in other parts of Golok and Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and the rest of prefectures and counties outside TAR in the coming days.

The intrusive home searches and infiltration of informers violate the right to freedom of thought, belief and religion, freedom of expression, freedom to assembly and association, right to education and right to privacy of the Tibetans.