No place for Tibetan Buddhism in ‘China’s Tibet’?

Religious ceremony held at 99-foot-tall Buddha statue in Kham Drakgo before its demolition. (Photo courtesy: CTA)

(, Dec30’21) – Chinese authorities in the historically Tibetan county of Draggo (Chinese: Luhuo) – but which is now part of China’s Sichuan Province – are reported to have destroyed a 40 million Yuan (6.3 million USD) Buddha statue at a monastery by the same name this month despite the fact that it was built with all the prescribed government permissions in 2015. The development is only the latest in China’s move to Sinicize Tibetan Buddhism. Other religious destructions were also reported to have been carried out.

The imposing 99-foot-tall bronze statue, situated in Kardze (Ganzi) Prefecture, was inaugurated on Oct 5, 2015 as a protection against natural and other disasters after the area was hit by a devastating earthquake back in 1973. The earthquake had caused massive damages and killed thousands of local residents, said a website report Dec 28 of the Central Tibetan Administration.

Following President Xi Jinping’s renewed and emphatic call for Sinicization of Tibet, and Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism in particular, county authorities visited the site and began criticizing the statue for its size around two-three years ago, the report said.

And on Dec12, they ordered the statue’s demolition after they annulled the documents permitting its construction, saying it was too tall.

The same reason was cited to destroy 45 huge prayer wheels built near the monastery. Each had been built at a cost of around 1.8 million Yuan (282,500 USD). Prayer flags fluttering in their vicinity were burnt down, the report said.

Only last month, the authorities destroyed a school – named as the Gaden Namgyal Monastic school – run by Draggo Monastery, on the specious ground that it was built illegally and in violation of the land use law. The school offered residential classes to Tibetan children in a range of subjects that included Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan language, as well as Mandarin Chinese and English.

The school’s demolition led to its 130 resident students being sent back to their villages instead of being provided with any alternative school enrolment.


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