(TibetanReview.net, Jun10, 2016) – China has begun evicting monks and nuns from a sprawling Buddhist study centre called the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy located in Serta (Chinese: Seda) County of Karze (Ganzi) Prefecture, Sichuan Province, with plans to trim their total number to just 5,000 by Sep 20, 2017, reported the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (Washington) Jun 7, citing an official document. Earlier, in 2001, more than 1,000 dwellings at the centre were demolished by the Chinese government, with their resident monks and nuns expelled.
The report did not say how many monks and nuns are estimated to currently live and study at the centre. It only said many thousands of Tibetans and Han Chinese study at the centre, which comprises a sprawling settlement resting between two adjacent hills located more than 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) above sea level and hundreds of miles from the nearest city.
The centre was founded in 1980 by the late religious teacher Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, with support from the late 10th Panchen Lama, and remains one of the most important centres for ecumenical study of Tibetan Buddhism.
The report cited a local source as saying that last year, 600 members of this centre were ordered to leave, compelling them to return home. Also, about 400 members aged 60 and above were reported to have been ordered to leave.
The report quoted the source as saying: “This year, the authorities are talking about 1,200 members who will have to leave, and it is said that China has now issued a document saying that only 5,000 monks and nuns will be allowed to remain.”
He has said 60 to 70 percent of the residences of monks and nuns were being marked for demolition.
The report cited its source as saying the order to reduce the number of residents had come from higher authorities, with China’s president Xi Jinping taking a personal interest in the matter.