Thursday, 9 January 2014

China shut down three monasteries in Driru, Tibet

After keeping them surrounded by the paramilitary People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF) for weeks, China in Dec 2013 shut down three monasteries in Driru (Chinese: Biru) County of Nagchu (Naqu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) Jan 7. No exact reason has been stated for the shut down order on the Dron Na, Tarmoe, and Rabten monasteries which has been reported earlier by other sources as well.

The closure order came as the PAPF was assigned to enforce political re-education in the county which has been under great turbulence ever since late Sep 2013 when the Chinese authorities ordered the Tibetans to make a manifest show of allegiance to the communist ruled China by flying its red flag on the rooftops of every home and monastery. Tibetans not only refused but also trashed the flags that were issued to them, leading to a vicious cycle of protests and violent repressions in which there were killings, large-scale detentions and disappearances, and a number of jail sentences.

The Chinese authorities have particularly targeted the monasteries in the current repression, with each monk being vetted to evaluate their political correctness and reliability. The three monasteries obviously failed the tests.

The report said that the closing down of the Dron Na monastery was preceded by the detention, on Nov 19, of its lead cultural education instructor Kalsang Dondrub. And then on Dec 26, all the rooms in the monastery were sealed and the resident monks turned out, with an order forbidding their return.

China has declared Driru a “politically unstable” county which if not contained will affect the rest of Tibet. It has therefore launched an “intense and thorough” political re-education campaign, including with the villagers and monastic residents being subjected to indoctrination meetings day and night.

It remains impossible to draw a detailed and coherent picture of the situation in Driru due to the Chinese government’s tight controls on flow of information and severe restrictions on the residents’ freedom.

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