By Tenzin Monlam
Undated photo of Tibetan pilgrims' tents outside Yarchen Gar. Photo-RFA
DHARAMSHALA, April 15: The Chinese authorities have demolished over 200 tents set up by Tibetan pilgrims near Yarchen Gar Buddhist Institution in Palyul County (Ch: Baiyü County), Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province, reports Radio Free Asia.
According to a source from the region, the authorities have citied that the encampment was causing difficulties in the orderly management of the complex, which is also under demolition drive to reduce the number of students.
“At least 200 tents and other temporary dwellings were torn down after a notice ordering their destruction was posted on April 1,” a source from the region said.
The source speaking on condition of anonymity further added, “The pilgrims come here for one to two months to receive teachings and accumulate merit by circumambulating and viewing the complex.”
In addition to that, monks and nuns of the Buddhist center are also reportedly feeling the tightening grip within and surveillance in the complex. A source said that despite having Internet access, it is difficult for news about Yarchen Gar to reach the outside world now.
The source said, “Though the complex has Internet service, residents hesitate to share their stories. Many fear Chinese retaliation at Yarchen Gar if stories about the center get out to world media.”
Last month, Brice Pedroletti, a reporter for French daily Le Monde
and three fellow tourists were denied access into the complex and were ordered to return despite having proper documents and travel permits.
Founded in 1985, the Yarchen Gar of Palyul County boasts over 10,000 monks and nuns studying in the complex. It is one of the biggest Buddhist centers in the world along side Larung Gar, situated in the same province. China also plans to bring the same faith to Yarchen Gar’s sprawling population as well.
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 Yarchen Gar. It also sought explanation over the developments that have been going on in both the centers.