By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 26: The Chinese government has reportedly imposed a ban on religious activities on all party members and cadres in the so called Tsolho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Amdo province, according to Tibet.net. A similar ban was reported from Golog prefecture in October where a large number of informers would ensure that no Tibetan party member engaged in religious rituals including “Kora (circumambulation), using rosary, digital prayer beads and other religious objects.”
The anonymous source who spoke to Tibet.net said that severe methods had been used to stop Tibetan officials from engaging in religious activities, including getting rid of their personal religious altars and shrines. “Such measures have pressured Tibetan Party members in the region into removing personal Buddhist shrines and altars at their homes against their will,” the source further divulged. If the party members are found not in compliance with the order, they could face layoffs from government jobs and be deprived of state benefits and subsidies.
The government seems to have overlooked the privacy of the supposedly loyal Tibetan members so as to defend the CCP ideology from inside the workforce. Moreover, the source claimed that a strict ban has been imposed on holding prayer services, which also could include Buddhist funeral practices for deceased family members and relatives. “While the current decree is only being implemented in some areas, it is very likely to be expanded into other areas in the future,” the source suspected further discrimination.
The CCP government reportedly introduced a “Code of conduct for Communist Party members in the Tibetan Autonomous Region for Not believing in Religion” that detailed prohibitions on religious practices by party members in Tibet Autonomous Region specifically. Washington based International Campaign for Tibet found a document on the code of conduct, which formally said that it is applicable to all CCP members in TAR, but suspected that it had been used to pick out religious Tibetans.
It categorically forbids official party members to engage in any activities both in public and private life, including “advising” their families and relatives to not set up altars, hang religious pictures or personalities at home. Although no official reports of the ban’s implementation have been recorded except from unverified ones, the CTA report suggested that at the least Tsolho TAP has now been confirmed to be under the “pervasive enforcement of the ban” since its introduction in April this year.