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Thursday, January 28, 2021

China cites Covid-19 to close two monasteries in Tibet

Samye Monastery.

(TibetanReview.net, Apr18’20) – China has on Apr 14 and 15 ordered two monasteries in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to close as a measure against the Covid-19 pandemic even though the region has been without any novel coronavirus case since Feb 12. What is more, it had even allowed the reopening of 214 religious places in the rural part of Tibet’s capital Lhasa on Mar 31, saying the Covid-19 outbreak had basically been brought under control in the region as the reason.

The region had only one coronavirus case, an import through a traveller from China. He was discharged after undergoing treatment for 18 days. The region was free of the pandemic ever since and last month the regional government used charter flights to bring back thousands of workers from the Chinese heartland to resume major construction projects.

In similar notifications dated Apr 14 and 15, Samye and Yasang monasteries respectively said they were closed as “per circular from higher authorities, and in accordance with the need of work relating to the prevention of the infectious coronavirus,” said Washington-based International Campaign (ICT) for Tibet Apr 17.

The two monasteries are located in Lhokha (Chinese: Shannan) City in southern Tibet. Samye is a historic site, considered the oldest Tibetan Buddhist monastery.

It is not clear why these two monasteries have been closed for the stated ostensible reason.

ICT quoted the brief notice issued by the Samye Monastery Management Committee, as translated by it, as saying: “As per circular from higher authorities, and in accordance with the need of work relating to the prevention of the infectious coronavirus, Samye Monastery will close its gates from Apr 14, 2020. The general believing public and tourists may note this and provide support.”

And the notice issued by Yasang Monastery Management Committee, as translated by ICT, was quoted as saying likewise: “As per circular from higher authorities, and in accordance with the need of work relating to the prevention of the infectious coronavirus, Yasang Monastery will close its gates from Apr 15, 2020. The general believing public may note that there will be no visitation and purification ritual and provide support.”

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