Tibetan county bans exile educated monk-teachers unless they pass Beijing loyalty test

Lithang Monastery. (Photo courtesy: Michael Yamashita)
Lithang Monastery. (Photo courtesy: Michael Yamashita)

(TibetanReview.net, May16, 2018) – Tibetan monks “wrongly educated” in monasteries in India are banned from teaching in Lithang County which is now part of China’s Sichuan Province unless they cleared an indoctrination course and test designed to ensure their absolute loyalty to Beijing, reported China’s official globaltimes.cn May 15.

The county stages patriotic education classes every year for those educated and awarded Geshe Lharampa – the highest academic degree in Tibetan Buddhist studies – in India, the report cited an official from the county’s ethnic and religious affairs bureau as saying.

Those who behaved improperly at the patriotic classes or showed “any signs of separatist intent” are strictly monitored and banned from teaching Buddhism to the public, the official has said, refusing to be named.

The report also cited Zhu Weiqun, former head of Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, as saying those awarded the degree overseas were not acknowledged by China and were therefore not qualified to teach Buddhism in Chinese ruled Tibet.

He has said that as some monks had received education overseas from what he has called the 14th Dalai Lama clique – whom China regards as separatists – it was necessary to tighten supervision so as to avoid “the clique” using local Buddhists to conduct separatist activities. He has called the separatist situation in China “severe”.

The report cited China’s official Xinhua news agency as saying some 105 monks in the Tibet Autonomous Region had been awarded the Chinese Buddhist version of the degree since 2004. Such monks undergo training in both Buddhism and an indoctrination course to ensure absolute loyalty to Beijing.

Lithang is famous for a monastery known popularly by the same name. It currently has about 800 monks but can accommodate more than 4,300, news site china.com was cited as reporting. Under Chinese rule, monasteries in Tibet can admit only a limited number of monks set by the Chinese government, with each admission being required to be approved by different government organs and agencies.


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