By Tenzin Dharpo
Demolition work at Larung Gar, Sept. 2016. File photo
DHARAMSHALA, JAN. 20: A temporary respite for the residents of the Larung Gar Buddhist monastic university in eastern Tibet’s Serta county as authorities have halted demolition work as the winter sets in the region although downsizing operations are expected to resume in the coming spring with increased vigor.
Demolition operations have been halted since the beginning of January with winter making it difficult for work crews to carry on operations, according to Radio Free Asia. “However, we hear that it will begin again in April, and that this time it will be more aggressive and widespread. For now, things have calmed down considerably,” an anonymous source told RFA.
The Chinese government started the demolition drive at Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in July 2016, citing renovation work as reason whilst forcibly evicting students intending to cut down the academy’s strength to 5,000 from 10,000 by 2017.
A total of three Tibetans nuns studying at this largest Buddhist Institute have committed suicide following Chinese government’s the demolition drive.
Last month, the European Parliament in Strasbourg passed an urgent resolution on Larung Gar calling for Chinese authorities to engage in “constructive dialogue” with concerned Tibetan religious leaders in discussing overcrowding concerns and basic facilities in the centre and called for “adequate compensation and the re-housing of Tibetans who have been evicted during the demolitions in Larung Gar at the place of their choice to continue their religious activities.”
On Dec. 5, 2016, the Tibetan PM Lobsang Sangay, head of the Tibetan exile government, appealed the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to take immediate action to save the Buddhist centre founded by the late Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok. “High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein has made it a priority to visit Tibet at the time of his appointment. We urge him to visit Tibet to assess the human rights situation in Tibet and especially in Larung Gar and Yarchen Gar. We also request him to raise this issue during his opening statement at the upcoming 34th UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva in March next year,” Sangay said at a press conference.