China conducts massive ‘patriotic education’ campaign in Lithang

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) received confirmed information that the Chinese government has just unleashed a massive patriotic political campaign in Lithang.

According to confirmed information, in the first week of September 2007, the Chinese government summoned the leaders of townships and monasteries in and around Lithang to commence the Patriotic Political Education Campaign.

Similarly, the concerned offices and officials summoned the Tibetan people from the Lithang Monastery to receive political education. The Tibetan people were made to learn by the Chinese officials about how the aristocrats, officials and serfs of the old pre-1959 Tibet subjected the Tibetan commoners to oppression, torture and servitude. The campaign included telling Tibetans how the Chinese liberation of Tibet has empowered the Tibetan commoners to rise up and to hold denunciation sessions (Tib: Thamzing) to those serfs who had oppressed and suppressed them.

In ‘patriotic education’ classes, the Chinese officials teach Tibetans about how the Chinese government has developed, improved the living standards of Tibetan people and how they are now entering a prosperous era. The Chinese officials then tell Tibetan people that Trulku Tenzin Delek and Runggye A’dak were ungrateful to the Chinese motherland for all the progress and development made by the Chinese government. They also explained how Trulku Tenzin Delek, Runggye A’dak and a group of evil Tibetans made serious mistakes. Pictures and pamphlets denouncing Trulku Tenzin Delek and Runggye A’dak were distributed.

The Chinese authorities have not only banned the display of the picture of the Dalai Lama in monasteries but also in the monks’ residences. The Chinese authorities forcefully ordered the monks below the age of eighteen to leave the monasteries and to return to their respective homes. In addition, a school, which falls under the administration and management of the Lithang Monastery, was closed down and the school children were sent back to their respective homes.

Meanwhile, in another development, about 30 People’s Armed Police (PAP) raided a monk’s residence with no warning during the night and was beaten and tortured. Along with that incident, the PAP also forcefully seized a few residences of monks who have no connection with political activities.

In an outrageous violation of religious freedom, the government civil servants and those retired civil servants were barred from circumambulating around the monastery, and barred from keeping and performing rituals on their altars. It was concluded that an intensive ‘patriotic education’ campaign was to be carried out over a period of three months by the Chinese government in Lithang.

In addition, the display of the picture of the Dalai Lama was banned both in homes and in monasteries. In light of the political unrest and tension in Lithang in the last few months, the Chinese government resorts to imposition of restriction and curbs in a bizarre course of events in Lithang. The restriction and implementation of ‘patriotic education’ campaign of this kind is unprecedented in Lithang in the last few decades.

TCHRD expresses its serious concern and worry about the scale of human rights violations and the disruption of the day-to-day traditions of Tibetan people in Lithang. TCHRD appeals to the Chinese government to respect the human rights of Tibetan people in Lithang.

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