China’s on-going campaign to destroy all physical signs of Tibet’s ancient civilisation is leaving piles of rubble across the land. China’s aim to wipe out all traces of Tibetan religion has seen the destruction of more than 6000 Buddhist monasteries since 1949 and the destruction or pillage of countless precious religious statues and artifacts. Secular architecture has also been targeted for its link with Tibetan culture. The capital city of Lhasa in particular is undergoing severe transformation through massive demolition of colourful traditional style housing, replaced with concrete Chinese housing compounds designed to house the huge influx of Chinese settlers. Recent actions reveal these policies continue to be applied at an alarming rate.
Kham Monasteries Destroyed:
According to a recent report from the Xinhua News Agency published in the Tibet Daily (Tibetan version) on 25 May 1997, Chinese authorities have begun to impose strict restrictions on the construction and renovation of monasteries in Kham (incorporated into the Chinese province of Sichuan). In the last year alone 526 monasteries have been destroyed in one area.
According to the report, “the social life of the people in this province is diverting towards the revival of the old feudal system and therefore the authorities have considered it vital to forbid revitalisation of the blind faith and other bad elements in the name of religion.” The authorities boast that they have “taken effective steps in destroying thousands of monasteries in the (data was not complete)