(TibetanReview.net, Jan19, 2017) – The onset of winter has brought a temporary relief to the monks and nuns still remaining at the Larung Gar Buddhist academy in Serta (Chinese: Seda) County of Sichuan Province from the demolition and expulsion campaign being carried out there by the Chinese authorities since Jul 20, 2016. However, come the end of the winter months and the destruction of monastic dwellings and the expulsion of student monks and nuns is expected to be resumed at a more “aggressive” pace, reported the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (Washington) Jan 17, citing local sources.
The campaign of the expulsion of monks and nuns and the destruction of their residences was suspended “at the beginning of January,” the report cited a local resident as saying.
“However,” he was quoted as saying, “we hear that it will begin again in April, and that this time it will be more aggressive and widespread.”
But, for now, he has said things had calmed down considerably.
The academy had at one time students estimated to number anywhere from more than 10,000 to as much as 40,000. Under the current campaign of destruction and expulsions, China aims to halve the sprawling complex’s size and reduce its student strength to a maximum of 5,000 by Sep 30, 2017.
Before the current campaign, Chinese government work teams had evicted thousands of monks and nuns and destroyed their dwellings at the academy in 2001. But the site continued to swell significantly over the years since then. The academy was founded in 1980 by the late religious teacher Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok. It was probably the world’s largest centre for studying Buddhism before the Chinese government campaign began.