(TibetanReview.net, Nov05’21) – Launching a strict implementation of its law banning those yet to attain 18 years of age from enrolling for monastic education, authorities in Qinghai and Sichuan provinces have been expelling young monks from monasteries, with the latter requiring them to register in government-run schools where subjects are now required to be taught only in Mandarin Chinese under the ongoing Sinicization drive.
The latest move, announced in a Religious Affairs Regulation on Oct 1, has already seen monks aged 11 to 15 years being expelled from Dhitsa monastery in Qinghai, reported the Tibetan service of rfa.org Nov 4, citing a written message from a local source.
“Also, young monks in Jakhyung monastery and other monasteries in Qinghai have been forced to give up their robes and are being sent back home,” the report quoted the source as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Government officials are now inspecting these monasteries to make sure the regulation is being obeyed.”
The report said the strict enforcement of the new regulation was launched on Oct 20 in Qinghai, which constitutes the bulk of the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo (or Domey). “Higher-up officials have been very strict in implementing it,” the source has said.
The number of young monks expelled so far under the regulation could not be ascertained.
Apart from being banned from returning to monastic life, including from wearing their religious robes, there was no certainly about the educational fate of the expelled young monks, the report said.
The new regulation says that monasteries in Qinghai may no longer admit underage boys as monks or allow them to take part in religious activities, but doesn’t specify the age limit required, the report cited the source as saying.
In the Tibetan regions of neighbouring Sichuan Province, the expulsion of young monk from monasteries, and to require them to register in government-run schools to learn to “serve society”, had begun three years ago, the report cited local sources as saying previously.
Many of the expelled young monks were stated to have been top students in their Buddhist philosophy and logic classes in their monasteries.