After destroying Buddha statue, China arrests, beats Tibetan monks for speaking about it

The statue is shown before its destruction in an undated photo from Tibet. (Photo courtesy: CTA)

(, Jan08’22) – Chinese authorities in Draggo (Chinese: Luhuo) County of Kham Tibetan prefecture of Kardze (Ganzi), which is now part of China’s Sichuan Province, have beaten and arrested Tibetans on suspicion that they had sent out information about their demolition on Dec 12, 2021 of a 99-foot Buddha statue.

Eleven monks from Draggo’s Gaden Namgyal Ling monastery have been arrested on suspicion of sending news and photos of the statue’s destruction to contacts outside the region, reported the Tibetan Service of Jan 7, citing an exile Tibetan source with local contacts.

The report said monks from the local monastery and other Tibetan residents had been forced to witness the destruction of the imposing 40 million Yuan (6.3 million USD) statue which had been inaugurated on Oct 5, 2015 with permission from the local authorities.

The statue, along with some 45 giant prayer wheels built nearby, apparently ran afoul of China’s ongoing Sinicization of religion, in particular Tibetan Buddhism, campaign.

“As of now, we have learned that Lhamo Yangkyi, Tsering Samdrup and four other Tibetans have been arrested for communicating outside Tibet,” the report quoted the source as saying, citing contacts in Draggo.

The site of the demolished 99-foot Buddha statue in Drago in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is shown in this Jan. 1, 2022 image. (Photo courtesy: Planet Labs/ RFA)

Besides, a few days before the statue demotion was carried out, the authorities were stated to have taken away Abbot Pelga, his assistant Nyima, and monks Tashi Dorje and Nyima from the monastery in Draggo, saying “they needed to be taught a lesson.”

They were severely beaten and denied food in custody, with one of them suffering a serious eye injury.

Chinese authorities were also stated to have forced some local lay Tibetans to stand naked outside in the freezing cold, accusing them of showing an indifferent attitude to their justifications for the demolitions and related actions.

Local Tibetans are now not being allowed even to hang prayer flags outside their doors while fireplaces used by them to carry out purification rituals have been destroyed, the report added.


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