(TibetanReview.net, Mar25’22) – Expressing concern over the “worrying” situation in Tibet, a Swiss parliament member has asked his government to inquire about recent reports of China’s destruction of prominent Buddha statues and other religious structures in eastern Tibet with a view to condemn the worsening onslaught on Tibetan religion, culture and identity.
Submitting a written interpellation, Nicolas Walder, who is also the co-president of the Swiss-Parliamentary Group for Tibet, has drawn the attention of the Federal Council – which is the executive branch of the federal government of the Swiss Confederation – to the fact that “Beijing no longer hesitates to destroy the remaining religious sites and close schools teaching Tibetan, which raises serious concerns about the future of this thousand-year-old people.”
In particular, he has referred to the deteriorating situation in the Tibetan county of Draggo (Chinese: Luhuo), whose Kardze (Ganzi) Prefecture is now part of China’s Sichuan Province, where the authorities destroyed three imposing Buddha or Buddhist statues and other religious structures between Dec 2021 and Jan 2022.
Walder has also told the Federal Council that from Oct 2021 to Jan 2022, the Chinese authorities had carried out a series of crackdowns on Tibetan religion, culture and identity, including with the demolition of Tibetan Buddhist statues, closure of the Draggo Monastery-run Gedhen Nangten School, and the arbitrary arrests of Draggo Monastery’s abbot and other local residents.
He has also asked the Federal Council to take “concrete steps” to protect Tibetan religious and cultural heritage, and make efforts to safeguard the rights of Tibetan people in deciding their own religious heads.
He has also informed the Federal Council that the Chinese government had set up a “poultry and pig farm” by razing down religious sites and dwellings of Buddhist monks in Draggo. He called these a “humiliation” and a “further sign of non-respect” to the Tibetan cultural and religious rights by the Chinese government.
Walder’s queries require a written response from the Federal Council.