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China’s destruction at major Tibet Buddhist centre greater than previously reported

Larung Gar Buddhist Academy in Serta. Destroyed structures are shown at Larung Gar as demolition work begins, July 20, 2016. (Photo courtesy: RFA)
Larung Gar Buddhist Academy in Serta. Destroyed structures are shown at Larung Gar as demolition work begins, July 20, 2016. (Photo courtesy: RFA)

(TibetanReview.net, Jun24, 2017) – At 4,725, the number of dwellings of monks and nuns destroyed by Chinese authorities at the famed Larung Gar Buddhist Academy in Serta (Chinese: Seda) County of Sichuan Province last year was more than previously reported, said the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (Washington) Jun 22. The report cited a senior abbot at the academy as saying the total number of such dwellings destroyed since 2001 was more than 7,000.

The report also cited the abbot as having told the remaining residents at the academy in a Jun 20 address that more than 4,828 monks and nuns had been expelled since 2016, with many forced back to their hometowns and deprived of opportunities to pursue religious studies.

Referring to China’s initial campaign of destruction and expulsions launched in 2001 and the second one begun in July last year, the abbot has said, “these two stages of hardships faced by Larung Gar were unprecedented in the 40 years [since the centre’s founding].”

The report cited sources as having said in March that in response to appeals by the Larung Gar management committee, authorities had pledged to destroy “only” 3,225 dwellings at the complex, for a projected total of 4,320 houses finally targeted for demolition.

Many thousands of Tibetans, Chinese, and people from other countries once studied at Larung Gar, which was founded in 1980 by the late religious teacher Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok and became the world’s largest and one of the most important centres for the study of ecumenical Tibetan Buddhism.

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