China continues to attack Buddhism in Tibet in the name of Environment, 'Ethnic Unity', eradicating Superstition and Tourism

    13-Jul-2020   
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Apart from brute force to quell the Tibetan freedom movement, China has used several methods to force Tibetans to adhere to its policies and even forced them to be part of its anti-Buddhist campaigns which are done in the name of Environment, Patriotism, 'Ethnic Unity' and Tourism.

China Attacks Tibet_1&nbs
China illegal occupation of Tibet is coupled with its relentless attack on Tibetan Buddhism and traditional practices 
 
China has not only occupied Tibet but has been trying to undermine the very soul of Tibet i.e Buddhism. Though the Communist occupier's campaign to rid Tibet of its Buddhist identity has been going on for decades, it has literally gone on the overdrive ever since Xi Jinping took the reins of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Few recent campaigns by the Chinese government in Tibet prove its efforts to subvert Tibetan religious practices and traditions.
 
The Chinese government is so fearful of the Buddhist traditions that in May this year, it banned Tibetan students and officials from Buddha celebrations in order to limit the influence of Buddhism on young people. China's attacks against Tibetan culture in recent times include the abduction of the Panchen Lama, whose whereabouts are still unknown.
 
Apart from brute force to quell the Tibetan freedom movement, China has used several methods to force Tibetans to adhere to its policies and even forced them to be part of its anti-Buddhist campaigns which are done in the name of Environment, Patriotism, 'Ethnic Unity' and Tourism.
 
In the name of Environment 

In the name of Environmen 
Tibetan monastries and villages have been ordered by the Chinese authorities to remove prayer flags as part of 'environmental clean-up drive'  (Image source: Free Tibet)
 
In June, Chinese authorities ordered the removal of Tibetan prayer flags from the mountains, monasteries and villages in the Tibetan Province of Golog in eastern Tibet. The occupying authorities ordered local Tibetan citizens and monks to remove the flags, labeling it part of an environmental clean-up drive, reported Free Tibet portal. The orders have been carried out even in Machen county and other areas of Golog Province. The so-called 'environmental clean up drive' began in March and has continued since, say Free Tibet sources.
 
The Tibetan prayer flags are part of the Tibetan culture for centuries. They are traditionally hung in Tibetan areas on rooftops of homes, monasteries, mountains and holy sites. They represent prayers to ward off evil, spread good fortune and good health. The practice of hanging prayer flags is also part of many Buddhist traditions even in India, especially in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and other areas.
 
Anti-Buddhist campaign in the name of 'Ethnic Unity' 

Anti-Buddhist campaign in 
In order to promote its new 'Ethnic Unity' law, China is using monastries to brainwash people to further its hold on the people of Tibet  (Image source: Free Tibet)
 
Last month, Free Tibet reported that the Chinese Communist Party is attempting to promote its new Ethnic Unity Law across western and central Tibet, the areas renamed as the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) after it illegally occupied Tibet. The Chinese are using the Monastic Management Committees to give impetus to their anti-Buddhist campaign which aims to 'promote patriotism' among the Buddhist monks.
 
The Ethnic Unity Law, which was passed in January this year and came into force in May, makes it mandatory for “ethnic unity” to be promoted between Tibetans and other ethnic groups. Tibetan experts who have analysed the law opine that this is the latest in a series of efforts by the CCP to forcefully merge Tibet into the People’s Republic of China. During the campaign, heads of Monastic Management Committees request all the monks to take the initiative to consciously 'oppose separatism', claiming it was their duty to safeguard a 'united China' and to 'be patriotic'.
 
On 12 June, in order to ensure that the vicious policies of the CCP takes root in Tibetan monasteries, the Monastic Management Committee organised a campaign forcefully in hundreds of Buddhist monasteries and monks were forced to be part of it. At the 'Ethnic Unity' events, Tibetan monks are forced to state that they would safeguard the 'unity of motherland' and 'oppose separatism', and work towards building a shared spiritual home for a 'Chinese nation'.
 
This is not the first time that the CCP is trying to brainwash the Buddhists in Tibet. The CCP has tried to promote its so-called policy of 'ethnic unity' in a number of different ways, including a recent drive to encourage marriage between Tibetans and Han Chinese people.
 
In the name of eradicating Superstition 

In the name of eradicatin 
Chinese authorities distribute pamphlets 'educating' people on “underworld forces” and religious superstition (Image source: Free Tibet)  
 
In May this year, the Chinese government launched a anti-Buddhist campaign in the name of “public information” and “safety” in eastern Tibet where it distributed over 350 public information materials to Tibetans during the campaign. The Chinese authorities instructed them to fight against “underworld forces” and religious superstition. In the name of curbing religious superstition, the Chinese occupationist forces are putting a break on many ancient Tibetan practices. 
 
During this anti-Buddhist campaign, police officers and other authorities cracked down on online communications in at least two townships in the Qinghai Province even as the world was grappling with Wuhan virus outbreak. The online communication in the province was digitally searched in around 16 villages and five monasteries in Mangra County. Authorities shut down many Buddhist chat groups across the two townships.
 
The campaign has resulted in hundreds of arrests across Chinese Occupied Tibet. Anyone found discussing about Dalai Lama, sharing Buddhist Practices not favorable to China, and criticising the government have been arrested.
 
Destroying Buddhist sites in the name of Tourism 

 in the name of TourismIn  
Satellite images Yarchen Gar in Eastern Tibet show how China has destroyed one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist sites in the world to promote tourism  (Image source: Free Tibet)
 
In September 2019, Satellite images acquired by Free Tibet showed large-scale demolitions at Yarchen Gar in Eastern Tibet, one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist sites in the world. The images show that the Chinese had leveled almost half of Yarchen Gar which is located in Palyul Province in eastern Tibet.
 
As per reports, the demolitions were done since August last year and was part of a long-term effort by CCP authorities to decrease the number of residents at the site. Before and after satellite images reveal the demolitions that shows a clear contrast on the west bank of the river running through Yarchen Gar. The images reveal a bare ground where a densely populated area of the community once resided on.
 
In addition to the demolitions, Free Tibet portal reports that thousands of monks and nuns were also forced out of their homes and places of worship in Yarchen Gar. In July 2019, Tibet Watch confirmed that 70 nuns were evicted from Yarchen Gar while local sources claimed there have been at least 3,500 removals that year. All the monks and nuns who were removed from Yarchen Gar were detained and forced to undergo patriotic re-education. Patriotic re-education is a strategy enforced by the CCP where the detainees are compelled to praise the People’s Republic of China and denounce Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
 
The monastic township in Yarchen Gar was established in 1985 by the Tibetan community to help the monk and nuns to live and practice their faith without hindrance. Over the years, the population of the monastic community here grew to an estimated 10,000 people. The community is sometimes known as “The City of Nuns” due to the large proportion of resident being nuns. This was an eyesore for the occupying Chinese regime which saw the growing number of monks and nuns as a threat to its occupation.
 
Using tourism as a tool, the CCP has now destroyed not just a monastic township but also one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist sites in the world. Free Tibet reports that the demolitions have continued despite the repeated appeals of Buddhist monks and nuns at Yarchen Gar.
 
The key reason for the demolitions and removals is to open Yarchen Gar up to tourists, shows the photo evidences. A hotel and several car parks have been constructed to the north of the community and roads have been widened to facilitate access.
 
But this is not the first time that Buddhist sites have been destroyed by China in the name of Tourism. Between June 2016 and May 2017, at least 4,800 people were forcibly evicted and 4,700 buildings, mostly residences, were torn down in Larung Gar province of Tibet. Hotels were constructed in their place and roads widened to help tourists.