07/22/2016, 15.07
CHINA - TIBET
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Chinese authorities bring demolition of Buddhist Larung Gar center forward

The center houses up to 10 thousand Tibetan and Chinese people. The authorities want to reduce the number of monks and nuns. They suspect that the monastery has ties with "separatist forces in exile". Religious freedom shrinking since Xi Jinping became president. Similar to case of Zhejiang’s crosses and churches.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - Chinese workers, accompanied by police, soldiers and government representatives, started demolishing the residences of monks and structures of the Buddhist center of Larung Gar, Sertar County (Kardze, Sichuan). The demolition began on July 20 at 8 am (click to see video)

Larung Gar is the largest institute of Tibetan studies in the world, with a population of over 10 thousand people, Tibetan and Chinese.

The Chinese authorities have justified the destruction as a safety measure because the place is overcrowded and to make way for a road. The decision was not, however, previously agreed with inhabitants.

Last June, the authorities issued an ordinance calling for the reduction to 5 thousand the number of people in the monastery (1500 monks and 3500 nuns before Oct. 2017). The order dated October 30 this year for the beginning for the relocation of residents and demolition. The order also detailed a series of punishments if residents failed to obey, including the complete demolition of the monastery.

Many believe the order is unjust and another way to reduce - and possibly eliminate - the center suspected of having links with "separatist forces in exile".

A young student, a resident of the monastery, tells  Free Tibet the order is contradictory: "If the only way to solve overpopulation is destroying the houses, why is the same policy not applied to Chinese cities where the population is overcrowded? Where is the equality, the rule of law, the public good, religious freedom and equal rights for all (as they say), if you destroy the homes of innocent faithful who live their simple life? ".

Meanwhile, Khenpo Tsultrim Lodroe and Khenpo Rigdar, two eminent religious figures of the center, have asked students to "remain calm", "continue their studies" and to "avoid making demonstrations."

Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, vice president of the Tibetan Parliament in exile accused China's leadership: "Since  Xi Jinping became President of China religious freedom in Tibet has visibly deteriorated”.

The demolition of Larung Gar closely resembles the demolition of crosses and churches in Zhejiang and other Chinese provinces, designed to put under control the effervescence of the Christian communities marked by rapid growth.

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