(TibetanReview.net, Aug17, 2017) – Despite strong protests and criticisms from Tibetans as well as international human rights organizations and governments, besides at the UN, China has resumed its massive demolition work at the Yachen Gar Buddhist Centre in Palyul (Chinese: Baiyu) County of Karze (Ganzi) Prefecture, Sichuan Province. The demolition work was begun in July last year but temporarily halted with the onset of winter.
“The demolition began on Aug 8 and the work is said to be ongoing at Yachen Gar, while the same number of monks and nuns [2,000] are also to be expelled from the Buddhist centre this year alone,” the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (Washington) Aug 15 quoted a source as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity.
After the demolition work began, a senior lama of Yachen Gar was stated to have issued an appeal to the monks and nuns, urging them to “exercise patience and tolerance.” And he was reported to have explained: “About 2,000 houses will be demolished this year and around same number of monks and nuns will be asked to leave the complex—this is an order from the powerful authorities and cannot be resisted, just as falling boulders from a mountain cannot be stopped.”
And he was reported to have added, “The monks and nuns should exercise patience and tolerance under the stress of the demolitions and expulsion orders—this is crucial.”
The centre was already under severe restriction both for the residents and visitors, including for pilgrims and foreigners.
In April, Chinese authorities demolished at least 200 tents set up by Tibetan pilgrims who had come to receive teachings and engage in prayers, claiming the encampments made orderly management of the complex difficult. This was followed by tightening of surveillance and other security measures at the centre whose residents dared not speak to the outside world about what was going on there.
Yachen Gar was founded in 1985 and until recently it had some 10,000 resident monks, nuns, and lay practitioners devoted to scriptural study and meditation.
There is no information yet on what is going on at the better-known Larung Gar Buddhist Centre in Sichuan’s Serta (Seda) County which also originally had at least 10,000 resident religious students and was under demolition by the Chinese authorities.
At the end of Jun 2017, a senior abbot at Larung Gar said that Chinese authorities had destroyed 4,725 monastic dwellings over the course of a year, bringing the total to more than 7,000 since 2001. The abbot also said more than 4,828 monks and nuns had been expelled since 2016.
Larung Gar was founded in 1980 by the late religious teacher Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok.