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China accused of misusing law to demolish a Tibetan culture school

(TibetanReview.net, Nov07’21) – Local authorities have ordered a monastery in the Tibetan prefecture of Karze (Chinese: Ganzi), which is now part of China’s Sichuan Province, to demolish a school being run by it, claiming it was in violation of a local land use law, reported the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Nov 6. A local resident has pointed out that the law in question applied only to residential properties, suggesting it was being misused to target Tibetan language and culture.

The report said the Gaden Rabten Namgyaling, a school administered by Draggo Monastery in the prefecture’s Draggo (Luhuo) County, was picked for criticism by local Chinese authorities in late October. And they ordered monastery officials to demolish the school building in three days. Should they fail to do so, they were warned, a government team would not only destroy the building but also confiscate the school’s properties, including the building materials.

Fearing the worst, school officials and volunteers gathered to hastily take down the school building, the report cited a source named Kalsang Norbu as saying, showing a video of the demolition work being carried out.

The school educated local Tibetan students in their traditional culture and religion, Kalsang Norbu, who had received videos and photos of the demolition from Draggo, has said.

The source, who lives in India, has said he could not find out what had happened to the students of the demolished school – which had been refurbished between 2014 and 2018 – due to tight local restrictions on sharing information.

Under another drive, the monastery had, like others, seen some 20 of its under-18-year-old monks being expelled by the authorities from 2014 to 2018, the report said.

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