News and Views on Tibet

Rights group reveal new findings of Drago County desecration

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The 99-foot tall Buddha statue in Drago County in Kardze, eastern Tibet before its demolition (Photo/Tibet Watch)

By Tenzin Nyidon

DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 27: London-based NGO, Free Tibet with its research arm, Tibet Watch released a new report “Desecration in Drago County: Destruction of Tibetan Religious Heritage, Arbitrary Detentions, and Torture” that reveal new findings of violations in Drago County in Kardze, eastern Tibet. The extensive report detailed the ongoing assault on Tibetan Buddhism by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Drago County and the destruction of many significant cultural and religious sites that took place in October 2021. 

The report was presented to the UK Parliament hosted by Navendu Mishra, a Labour MP for Stockport and Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet. He urged the UK government to put pressure on China in light of the new evidence showing destruction of Buddhist cultural heritage sites, and detention of the locals in Drago. The extensive report is a culmination of 18 months of research with an analysis from interviewing former residents to inspecting drone footage and commissioning satellite images.

John Jones, the Campaign and Advocacy Manager at Free Tibet, said, “This new report shows how residents of Drago County, known for its strong sense of Tibetan identity and resistance, have been under siege since October 2021, with their cultural and religious heritage under attack and locals being detained, tortured, and subjected to re-education.”

“The findings of this report show how China has violated Tibetan’s rights s to self-determination and freedom, as well as using torture and detention”, he further added.

The report detailed previously unreported and appalling human rights violations in Drago where the destruction and demolition of Buddhist statues and structures captured attention of observers worldwide, like the satellite images of the 99-foot Buddha statue before and after its demolition, and the callous destruction of a Buddhist school with over 100 students, a building consisting of 45 giant prayer wheels as well as a 30-foot tall Buddha statue. Drago has been subjected to violent crackdowns in 2008 and 2012 and Tibetans who resisted the CCP’s control through protest were arbitrarily detained by the paramilitary troops or subjected to torture, while those who tried to spread the information were threatened with punishments, the findings revealed.

The rights group hopes that the findings will raise awareness about the ongoing and deteriorating crisis happening across Drago County and spur international support and solidarity for its innocent people living in occupied Tibet who are subjected to violent crackdown on religious freedom by the Chinese government. 

3 Responses

  1. It makes my blood boil when I hear the destruction of our sacred Buddhas, monasteries and mani-wheels by the evil CCP. The CCP regime has been on a spree of wanton destruction of Tibet’s priceless ancient treasures for the last seven decades! The communist terror regime has killed more than 1.2 million Tibetans which is higher than the death of Indian freedom fighters during the entire British rule of India! An estimated one million Indians are said to have died during the entire Indian freedom struggle. Mangal Pandey, a sepoy in the Indian army revolted against the British when he discovered that cattle and pig fat were used for the cartridges of the British guns that culminated in the 1857 First War of Indian independence. Tibetans must emulate Indian freedom fighters and fight for our independence being incensed by the utter disrespect for our religion and beliefs. Owing to our weakness, the regime is at liberty to do what they like with impunity and play with the lives of our people by incarcerating, torturing and murdering them. Today, there has been a sea change in India as far as the perception of Indian independence is concerned. Those Indians who collaborated with British are seen as boot lickers of the British and those who have fought the British are perceived as the true patriots! Owing to this change of perception, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose is given far more prominence than he was ever given. It is therefore incumbent on the Tibetans to change with the times and emulate the great freedom fighters of India like Mangal Pandey, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Chandrashekar Azad and Bhagat Singh. Through their courage, the flame of India’s independence from British colonial rule was rekindled which ultimately became a reality. If they had collaborated with the British as Tibetans are doing today, India would have never thrown the British yoke. The Indian freedom fighters never gave up their ownership of their country unlike the Tibetans who have become China apologists! WE MUST INSIST, TIBET ALWAYS WAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE TIBETAN LAND”.
    The destruction of our culture, religion, language and ethnicity by forcing Tibetans to marry Chinese will continue as long as we remain silent spectators as we have done until now. We must fight the illegal occupation of our country and must not play with a hopeless idea that communist China will come back to some sense! Such idea was what let Jawaharlal Nehru to make his disastrous decisions on China which is now the greatest threat to India’s national security. Idealism is not realism! The present policy is supposed to have stopped Chinese population transfer to Tibet. It was supposed to have stopped the inhuman treatment of Tibetans. It was supposed to have stopped the religious persecution of Tibetans by being compliant collaborators but as we know it, none of them have materialised. In fact, the policies of suppression and oppression have only increased. Tibetans should be able to see this with their own eyes!
    On the other hand, instead of growing resistance to the destruction of our religion, language, culture and identity, there are anti-Buddhist, anti-monk elements who are waging a war on what is left of Tibetan Buddhism in exile. The perverted apostates called the monks “gas cylinders” because of their maroon robes. This shows the utter disrespect to our monk community who are vanguard of holding aloft the flagship of Tibetan Buddhism and carrying across the world which in turn has garnered strong support for Tibet. There are those who are blaspheming the monk community by mocking them as “parrots”, who are only capable of mumbling without understanding the meaning according to them! These morons would probably be rejoicing, when they read the destruction of the gigantic Buddha in Kham Durango and the brutal treatment of the monks there! There is a Tibetan woman who wants to urinate on the head of Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, who is the monk speaker of the Tibetan parliament! All these show how the exile born Tibetans are mocking and trashing their own roots! Most of this generation can’t write a decent letter in Tibetan nor speak the language fluently! However, they have no qualms in desecrating our monk and nun community like the Chinese communists nor undermining the esteem Tibetans have for our monk community like any other Buddhist country. Therefore, the Chinese destruction of our culture and religion has infected some of the exile Tibetans who have don’t have an inkling of Tibet’s rich cultural heritage!
    What these people don’t realise is like Mangal Pandey whose strong belief in his Hindu religion fired him to revolt against the British, the monks and nuns in Tibet are in the forefront of Tibetan resistance to Chinese occupation of Tibet. Of the 156 Tibetans who self-immolated, most of them are monks and nuns! Meanwhile, in exile, they have been able to bring Buddhism to many countries where Buddhism was unknown. Students from many countries Iike Mongolia, Australia, New Zealand, The US, Canada, Vietnam, Spain and Indians are studying in the great monasteries reestablished in India. It’s so unfortunate that these anti-Buddhist and anti-monk people have never found anything good and so they have slipped through the cracks. It may be they lack the merit to see the holy Dharma and it’s faithful in a good light. Like their counterparts in communist China, they only perceive the negative! The Buddha said, དད་པ་མེད་པའི་མི་རྣམས་ལ་ དཀར་པོའི་ཆོས་རྣམས་མི་འབྱུང་སྟེ་ ས་བོན་མེ་ཡི་ཚིག་པ་བཞིན།། (Those who have no devotion will not cherish the Dharma because they are like a burnt seeds which doesn’t germinate!

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