By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, DEC 9: Tibetan nuns have been forced to declare their loyalty to Beijing and the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through ‘political training’ at Shugsep nunnery near Lhasa, according to reports. It is a campaign conducted by their nunnery’s management committee and state-controlled “women cooperatives,” reports Radio Free Asia (RFA)
via state media this week.
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) condemned the action, expressing concern that it finds the practice “highly worrisome”. The organization’s director Tsering Tsomo noted that China has recently stepped up its practice to coerce Tibetan monks and nuns to display their loyalty towards them with particular emphasis on its claim of authority over selection of the successor to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Representatives of Buddhist communities across the Himalayan region have meanwhile rejected Chinese claims of control over His Holiness’ succession by supporting a resolution by senior Tibetan religious heads at the 14th Tibetan Religious Conference in association with the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in Dharamshala.
A Four Standards policy introduced in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in 2018 instructs monks and nuns to demonstrate “political reliability,” “moral integrity capable of impressing the public,” willingness to “play an active role at critical moments” and competence in Buddhist studies.
Human Rights Watch on Oct 30 last year said that in the pursuit of China’s attempt at ‘Sinicization of Religion’ in Tibet, Beijing is compelling selected monastic in TAR areas to undergo political training designed to create a new corps of Buddhist teachers proficient in state ideology.
TCHRD’s director slammed China’s political coercion of Tibetan monastics by saying, “Compelling Tibetan monks and nuns to obey the communist government’s revised regulations on religious affairs in the form of the ‘Four Standards’ is highly worrisome.”