By Tenzin Monlam
Monks at prayer in Ragya Monastery/RFA
DHARAMSHALA, July 15: The Chinese authorities have shutdown two factories run by Ragya Monastery in Machen County citing environmental protection as the reason, Radio Free Asia
The closed facilities –a brick factory and the other one a sand-sifting plant – have been the main source of income for the monastery for many years. “The sand plant and brick works that they closed were the main source of income for Ragya Monastery,” a source told RFA
on condition of anonymity.
“Recently, Chinese authorities arrived to shut them down,” a source said, “They claim that they are doing this so that they can plant trees and clean up the environment in the area, but they are creating a real nuisance and disturbance with this order.”
The source also added that the Chinese authorities are building bridges and highways nearby to mine natural resources and also the mining near Machen Mountain is still ongoing. “The mining on Machen Mountain has not stopped, and the welfare of the Tibetan people is being completely ignored,” he said.
Golok Ragya Monastery has history of confrontation with Chinese authorities. In 2009, around two thousand Tibetans came out on the streets of Ragya to protest the death of Tashi Sangpo (28), a monk of Ragya Monastery who took his own life by jumping into Machu River on March 21, 2009.
In November 2011, the monastery came under the radar of the Chinese authorities after a large portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama along with two Tibetan national flags were found hanging from the roof.