DHARAMSHALA, JULY 18: A Tibetan monk had hung himself to death outside his monastery in Labrang, Sangchu County, reportedly in protest against Chinese government’s repression and restrictions on religion on July 9, reported the Radio Free Asia
Thabke, a 24 year old Tibetan monk of Labrang Monastery, hung himself from a tree outside his monastery, one of the largest Tibetan monasteries in Tibet, last week.
A local source told RFA that due to restrictions placed on communications in the area the information could be sent out earlier.
The same source was quoted as saying that Thabke, a native of Ngakpa village, had “confided to close friends that he wanted to end his life in protest against the imposition of a variety of restrictive regulations and policies.”
“[Chinese] authorities have even interfered in the religious curriculum and have created severe hardships in the monasteries, including Labrang,” the source said.
Thabke, the source said, had been against China’s policy of limiting Labrang monastery’s strength at 999 monks.
“He also protested against the imposition of restrictions on religious freedom and prohibitions on the display of photos of personal teachers,” RFA quoted the source as saying. “Many monks and nuns who had wanted to pursue the study of Buddhism in the monasteries have had to quit and lead ordinary lives.”
In a move to further step up surveillance and control of Tibetan monasteries, China established 24 police stations in monasteries across Labrang last month. An official report called it a part of “recent focus on policing monasteries” in the region that has seen several self immolation protests by Tibetans since 2009.
Meanwhile, the Tibetans have submitted petitions at the regional Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference held in Xining, Qinghai province, in January this year, appealing the government to stop deployment of troops in monasteries.
China has long considered Buddhism as a key element of Tibetan identity and monastic institutions as the hotbed of political dissidence.
Following widespread unrest against Chinese rule, largely led by monks and nuns, in 2008, Chinese government launched renewed and intensified "Patriotic Education" campaign covering almost every sections of society and mainly targeting the monastic institutions.