News and Views on Tibet

Monks and nuns in Serthar denied passport

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By Phuntsok Yangchen

DHARAMSHALA, January 19: Chinese authorities have stopped issuing passport to monks and nuns in Serthar County in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture to travel outside Tibet and China.

According to US based Radio Free Asia, though no reason has been given for the restriction, it is believed that it may be linked with the role played by local monasteries in anti-China protests in 2008. Special conditions are being applied for monks and nuns who wish to procure the travel document.

The restrictions are also imposed on former monks and nuns, who are required to affirm in writing that they have no connection with any monastery.

Both monks and laypersons were denied travel documents after the widespread protest against Chinese authorities in 2008, However the ban on lay persons was lifted about a month ago.

The lay Tibetans applying for the passport have to spend more than three thousand Chinese Yuan to a travel agent and then get the approval from the office for overseas travel.

Since 2009, 136 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet protesting against China’s occupation of Tibet and its hard line policies.

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