11/03/2011, 00.00
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Chinese Communist Party teaches Tibetans how to be good Buddhists

The Chinese authorities step up religious indoctrination of Tibetans. Harsh repression of those who break the law continues. United Nations condemnation demands Beijing cease the repression. Those who pray for the monks who set themselves on fire arrested in Nepal.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews / Agencies) - China has passed a law to force all Tibetan monks and nuns to follow rules on how to be good Buddhists and respect Chinese power. Meanwhile, on 1 November, a UN committee demanded Beijing halt its crackdown on Tibetan monasteries which have induced several monks set themselves on fire in extreme protest.

On October 30, the Chinese government approved to carry out law-abiding patriotic re-education principles, a new strategy to further intensify the control over Tibetan monasteries and nunneries. Monks and nuns are forbidden to participate in any "separatist activities" and there will be frequent compulsory courses on how to behave. Each year, an annual “contest” among the various monasteries and nunneries will be held for the"monastery model", with cash prizes and awards of merit for monks.

On 20 October 2011, the Tibetan Buddhism University was inaugurated in Chushul County, Lhasa. During his visit to the university on 24 October, the Tibetan Party Secretary Chen Quanguo said that the university should “aim high in producing monks who are well educated about ‘Dalai clique’ and ‘other national splitist’ plots”. The current Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, and Nobel Peace laureate, is considered by Beijing to be a "dangerous terrorist and separatist." Even owning a picture of him or his writing is punishable by years in prison.

Chen also spoke at a Buddhist Association forum in Lhasa Oct. 28, repeating the criticism of the "Dalai clique" and pointing to the "resolute desire to eliminate by Tibetan Buddhism the 14th Dalai Lama." He reiterated the intention of creating "a harmonious model Monastery."

For years, Beijing has wanted to impose fidelity to the CP on Tibetan monks, having found that the monasteries are the core of Tibetan culture and loyalty to the Dalai Lama. For months, many large monasteries, such as Kirti and others in Aba County (Sichuan), are under police occupation with hundreds of monks transferred to an unknown destinations, many others arrested. The repression is so fierce that in recent months several monks set themselves on fire in town square’s in a gesture of extreme protest.

On 1 November in Geneva, a UN fact-finding team for the Protection of Human Rights accused the Chinese authorities of "serious restrictions of freedom of religion, expression and association" of the Tibetan monks, with hundreds of monks forced to leave monasteries and "many arrested or made to disappear" with the "violation of international law" and "odious practices in no way justifiable”. It has asked Beijing to halt these activities and relieve the tension that has led to the self-immolation of 9 monks and a nun in recent months.

But China appears to continue on its path and is finding the support of "friendly" other countries. On 1 November in Kathmandu, police arrested over 100 Tibetan exiles who had gathered at the Center for Tibetan refugee monks to pray for those who had set themselves on fire. The police raided the premises, tearing down a banner with the image of the Dalai Lama.

Also on 1 November in Kathmandu sources denounce the arrest of 61 Tibetan refugees who have protested in the streets demanding an end to Chinese repression in Tibet. Those arrested declared a hunger strike and were released later that night.

In Nepal, there are tens of thousands of Tibetan refugees. The Nepalese government in recent years has banned any demonstration against "friendly nations" like China.

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