(TibetanReview.net, Oct06, 2016) – Having been issued an ultimatum by the government of China to carry out the dirty work, officials of the Larung Gar Buddhist Institute, the famed Tibetan Buddhist learning centre in Serta (Chinese: Seda) County of Sichuan Province, have asked 2,000 student nuns to volunteer to leave the place, reported the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (Washington) Oct 4. The officials have on Sep 23 told the nuns, who faced eviction and expulsion, that those registering to leave by the deadline of Sep 28 would be transferred to monastic institutions elsewhere in Serta or in Sichuan’s Nyagrong (Xinlong), Dege, or Draggo (Luhuo) counties, with senior teachers from the institute visiting to look after them.
Of the nuns slated for expulsion by the Chinese government, 400 belonged originally to Golog (Guoluo) prefecture in neighboring Qinghai province, 300 to Qinghai’s Yushu (Yulshul) prefecture, and the rest to other areas near Sichuan.
Those not volunteering to leave faced forced removal by Chinese authorities, with no guarantee of being permitted to resume their religious studies anywhere else.
Due to China’s tight control on information and communication channels in the area, it remains unclear how many had opted to leave on their own and how many had been forcibly expelled.
Other expulsions of monks and nuns who had come from other parts of Tibet had also been carried out before. Most recently, the report cited sources as saying, on Sep 29 at least 100 Larung Gar monks and nuns were loaded onto buses for their return home journey to Tibet’s capital Lhasa and other parts of Tibet Autonomous Region.
The expulsions of monks and nuns have continued in tandem with the demolition of their residences begun on Jul 20 at the sprawling complex which may be otherwise the world’s largest Buddhist learning centre. The report cited a source at Larung Gar as saying that a total of 550 houses had been torn down between Jul 20 and Sep 23.
The aim of the demolition and expulsions ordered by the Central Chinese leadership, with President Xi Jinping taking a special interest in it, is said to be to about halve the number of student monks and nuns at the institute to a maximum of 5,000.