(TibetanReview.net, Mar01’22) – Chinese authorities have demolished yet another major Buddhist statue in Draggo (Chinese: Luhuo) County in the historically Tibetan Prefecture of Kardze (Ganzi) which is now part of China’s Sichuan Province. This is the third such destruction carried out in the county since Dec 2021, with the latest one taking place at Chanang Monastery, reported the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Feb 28.
The imposing statue of Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, stood three storeys high before it was reduced to rubbles in January, the report said, citing Tibetans in exile with knowledge of the destruction as well as satellite images which confirmed it.
Padmasambhava was an 8th century Indian master who played a significant role in the early phase of the spread of Buddhism in Tibet and is particularly revered by the Nyingma, or the old school, of Tibetan Buddhists. The Chanang Monastery statue was stated to have been built only six years ago.
Before this, China demolished a landmark 99-foot-tall Buddha statue in Draggo, along with 45 giant prayer wheels standing nearby, in Mid-Dec 2021, and then again a three-storey-tall statue of the Maitreya (the coming Buddha) at Gaden Namyal Ling Monastery in the same county in early January.
The Chinese authorities were stated to have offered impossible if not laughable reasons for carrying out the previous two demotions, such as that it was too tall in the first case and that it was blocking the pathway within the monastery compound in the second case.
It is not clear what justification was offered for the latest destruction. All had been built under prescribed regulations and with all required permissions.
President Xi Jinping Sinicization drive has led to a surge of new crackdowns on Tibetan religion and culture in recent times.