DHARAMSHALA, May 17: In the name of “maintaining stability, enhancing unity, and promoting harmony,” Chinese authorities in Tibet have re-launched a new wave of 'patriotic re-education' and 'legal education' campaigns targeted at Tibetan monastic institutions.
In a report carried by the state-run ChinaTibetNews.com, the local government of the so-called Tibetan Autonomous Region on May 11 held a meeting to mark the “uniform and in-depth implementation” of the Communist Party of China’s basic policy on religion and the rules and regulations passed by the State Religious Affairs Bureau in all the monasteries and nunneries.
Addressing the meeting titled, “Mobilisation Meeting on In-depth Legal Education Campaign in Tibetan Buddhist Temples,” TAR governor Pema Thinley said that providing “guidance” to Tibetan Buddhism in adapting itself to a socialist society is an effective way to “resist the infiltration and sabotage from the Dalai clique.”
While admitting that the widespread legal education campaigns were launched in all the monasteries and nunneries in TAR since 2008 at the instructions from Beijing, Thinley said that the continued implementation of legal education is “crucial for strengthening the management of monastic institutions and an important starting point for maintaining harmony and stability.”
In a release today, the Dharamshala based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said that the 'patriotic re-education' campaign, first started in 1996 in Tibet, is used as a “tool to stabilise and to exert control over Tibetan monastic institutions.
“After the widespread demonstrations in Tibet in 2008, control and surveillance on Tibetan monastic institutions have increased with the official work teams permanently stationed in monasteries and nunneries carrying out patriotic re-education and legal education campaigns,” the release said.
The group noted that China’s implementation of different programmes such as the ‘Nine Must Haves’ and ‘The Six Ones’ in recent months has “severely restricted” the religious activities of monks and nuns who are “arrested and expelled” for not complying.
“Regular religious classes are cancelled to accommodate the legal education sessions run by the work teams in monasteries and nunneries. Movement of monks and nuns are severely restricted making it difficult for monks and nuns to go outside their monasteries and nunneries and to visit other sacred monasteries and religious lamas,” the release said.
“These restrictions have forced many monks to flee their respective monasteries forcing many monasteries to close down.”
The Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, under the Nine Must Haves program, are required to hang the portraits of four Chinese Communist leaders and the Chinese national flag and to make available in the respective monasteries newspapers and television programs produced and published by the Chinese government.
TCHRD said that Tibetan monasteries and nunneries have become a “major area of crackdown,” used as a regular base for Chinese authorities to publicise its political propaganda.
“The continued implementation of forced 're-education' campaigns has severely affected the normal functioning of Tibetan Buddhist institutions and the religious freedom of monks and nuns are consistently violated,” the rights group said.