DHARAMSHALA, March 13: Many monasteries in Tibet have been forced to hand over administration to communist party cadres while some monasteries are facing a shut down due to boycott by monks following increased repression and control by Chinese government authorities.
The Dharamshala based Tibetan centre for Human Rights and Democracy in a release yesterday listed a number instances when Chinese government ‘work teams’ forcibly took charge of management of monasteries, resulting in mass boycott by monks.
“A number of Tibetan monasteries in Nagchu (Chinese: Naqu) Prefecture's Diru County in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) have been forced to hand over the entire administration and management of the monasteries to groups of cadres sent by the Chinese government,” the release said.
‘Work teams' with over five members each visited Taklung Monastery and Choelung Monastery, late February and documented details of the monasteries' assets including all antique pieces and ordered the monastery officials not to make any transaction without “official approval.”
“Fed up with 'patriotic re-education' classes and constant questionings over whether they or someone they knew had links with Tibetans living in exile or if there were any former monks of the monasteries now living in India, the monks voluntarily decided to leave the monastery after the forced takeover of their monasteries by the Chinese government,” TCHRD said citing sources inside Tibet.
Other monasteries, including Bekar, Drong-na, Rabten, and Roggyen also had to be “closed down,” according to the release, after monks staged mass boycott in protest against frequent Chinese 're-education' sessions and attempts at hoisting Chinese national flags.
Alarmed by the closure of monasteries and the absence of monks to perform rituals, local Tibetans in the region have carried their protest to government officials and in one instance, even leaving a dead body at a government building, complaining that there were no monks to perform the last rituals.
In Markhung village, local Tibetans marched to the township office and urged the 'work teams' stationed there to let the monks return to avoid possible closure of monasteries, TCHRD said.
In Layok village, a group of Tibetans approached the township office and left a dead body with Chinese Yuan 3,000, complaining that there were no monks in the monasteries to perform the last rituals, according to the release.
Following the protests, government officials have issued an order stipulating a one-month period for the monks to “realise” their mistakes and return to their monasteries, failing which, the officials warned that they would use “other methods,” TCHRD said.
In another order, local officials have barred Tibetans families from sheltering monks who have left their monasteries in protest. Treating the monks as fugitives, officials have told Tibetans to pass on any information regarding the monks.
According to TCHRD, over 13 officials in Tibet have been sacked since December 2011 for not enforcing a set of strict new security guidelines in Tibet.
Fearing the spread of the ongoing wave of self-immolation protests and mass demonstrations in neighbouring Tibetan areas, Chinese authorities on December 1, 2011, had issued an 18-point regulation that provides directives for handling and managing cadres who fail to maintain 'stability' in Tibet.