By Tenzin Dharpo
Remnants of razed houses at Yarchen Gar in Sichuan's Kardze prefecture, Aug. 11, 2017. Source- RFA
DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 18: Following the forced demolition of the famed Larung Gar Buddhist monastic institution, Chinese authorities in the Sichuan Province’s Palyul County have reportedly begun similar drive to demolish residential structures of Yachen Gar and aim to forcefully evict substantial number of its residents.
An anonymous source cited by Washington based Radio Free Asia said, “Chinese authorities ordered the demolition of 2,000 houses of monks and nuns at Yachen Buddhist Center … [by the end of] this year.”
“The demolition began on Aug. 8 and the work is said to be ongoing at Yachen Gar, while the same number of monks and nuns [2,000] are also to be expelled from the Buddhist center this year alone,” the same source said.
Residents, majority of whom are monastics, were ordered to wreck down houses made of lighter materials such as wood while workers would demolish concrete structures. Yarchen Gar, which has over 10,000 residents have been placed under inordinate amount of stress with a prelude of their fates already unraveled at Larung Gar.
Earlier last week, Rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, citing undercover sources in Tibet, reported that Larung Gar’s immediate and surrounding area have been reshaped to accommodate infrastructures to cater tourism. Intrusive structures such as luxury hotels, shopping complex and broad alleyways crisscrossing the whole valley have been built in the aftermath of the forced demolition of houses that began last year.
Following the forceful eviction of students and demolition of Larung Gar since mid 2016, the once sprawling Buddhist learning center boasting over 10,000 students as of May 2017 have been reduced by 4828 monks and nuns and 4725 houses flattened to the ground.
In March, authorities began restricting foreigners and tourists at Yachen Gar. Brice Pedroletti, a reporter for French daily Le Monde said that China has placed ‘heavy restrictions for tourists traveling in Tibetan areas’ despite having a valid visa and travel permit. Pedroletti and three fellow travellers on March 18 were questioned for hours by the authorities. He said, “Six plain-clothed police officers came to the restaurant where we had gone for some food and were asked questions concerning where we had come from and where we were going.”
A group of six UN human rights experts on February 24 (eve of 34th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva) had jointly condemned China for committing grave violation at Buddhist institutions including Larung Gar and Yachen Gar.
However, China has continued its planned projects in these foremost Tibetan Buddhist learning centers with unchallenged fervor. Yachen Gar, like Larung Gar, is headed for a head on collision with obtuse policies of the communist party and certain destruction.