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China orders monks to sign Dalai Lama denunciation in renewed Tibet crackdown

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(, Jun27’23) – Ahead of the visit of its replacement 11th Panchen Lama Gyaltsen Norbu, Chinese authorities in at least one part of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) have ordered monks to pledge allegiance to Beijing by denouncing the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader. The Panchen Lama is Tibet’s second most influential religious figure. But Gyaltsen Norbu, appointed by China in 1995 after kidnapping and disappearing the Dalai Lama-recognized and proclaimed 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, lacks popular acceptance.

The authorities in TAR are carrying out random search of monasteries and forcing monks to sign documents renouncing all ties to the “separatist” Dalai Lama, reported the Tibetan Service of Jun 26, citing exile Tibetans with knowledge of the situation.

The report said that beginning from this month, Chinese authorities conducted searches at monasteries in Shentsa (Chinese: Shenza) and Sok (Suo) counties in northern TAR’s Nagchu City for the stated purpose of maintaining security.

“The authorities searched all the residences of the monks and the main shrines in the monasteries,” the exile source has said. “The monks of Shartsa Monastery are also forced into renouncing ties with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and be a part of anti-Dalai Lama groups.”

The report carries a photo containing a long Tibetan text chart on which two monks were signing their names. A line on top of the box at the chart’s bottom for signing names was quoted as saying: “We will rigorously take part in opposing the Dalai Lama clique and will remain loyal and devoted to the country [China].”

During the search of the monks’ residences, the authorities scrutinized prayer manuscripts and books, and removed prayer flags from shrines, the report cited another exile Tibetan as saying, also declining to be named.

The entire operation was reported to have taken place without any prior notice. “The monks in these monasteries were summoned for a meeting where they were forced to sign documents renouncing the Dalai Lama and separatism,” the second source has said,

Meanwhile Gyaltsen Norbu began his tour of other parts of TAR on Jun 25 after spending 13 days in Chamdo (Tibetan: Qamdo) in its eastern part, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency Jun 25.

Before Chamdo, he was reported previously to have toured Gyalthang (Shangri-La, Chinese: Xianggelila, previously Zhongdian) County in Yunnan Province; Lithang (Litang), Bathang (Batang), and Dhapa (Daba) counties in Sichuan Province; and Markham (Mangkang) County in TAR. Chamdo and all these areas were parts of the traditional Tibetan province of Kham or Dotoe.

It is not clear whether he will visit Nagchu City, his birthplace.

Gyaltsen Norbu is expected to be deployed in China’s move to appoint its own reincarnation of the current Dalai Lama, although this would be patently illegitimate.

The Dalai Lama has for decades been seeking autonomy for his homeland, but China denounces him as a separatist as it does not want to negotiate with him on Tibet’s future status.


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