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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

A Statue of Guru Rinpoche demolished and construction of another suspended in Tibet

October 12, 2007

TCHRD[Tuesday, October 09, 2007 20:01]

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) expresses its
deepest anguish at the China's recent outrageous interference in the
religious affairs of Tibetan people in Tibet. According to the latest
information emanating from Tibet, another statue of Guru Padmasambhava
or popularly known as Guru Rinpoche was demolished and construction of
another Guru statue was reportedly suspended by the local Chinese
authorities in two different regions of Tibet.

According to confirmed information, about two meter high statue of Guru
Rinpoche built with financial contribution by the faithful local
Tibetans was demolished in the first week of October by the local
Chinese authorities from Ngari Darchen, Burang County, Ngari Prefecture,
"Tibet Autonomous Region" ('TAR'). The statue built with clay was
completed a month ago with religious consecration done by the local
religious heads upon its completion.

In a similar incident, on 14 August 2007, a statue of Guru Rinpoche,
which was under construction at Rongpatsa Village, Kardze County, Kardze
"Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture" ('TAP') was suspended following the
local authorities' issuance of order prohibiting construction of the statue.

These are not the isolated cases surfacing from Tibet, in mid-May this
year, the Chinese People's Armed Police (PAP) forcibly demolished a
nearly completed gold and copper plated colossal statue of Guru Rinpoche
of the Samye Monastery in Dragnag County, Lhoka Prefecture, 'TAR'. TCHRD
highlighted the demolition of the statue on 4 June 2007 after which the
official Chinese statement issued by the Democratic Management Committee
of Samye Monastery on 8 June said that the construction of the statue
"disobeyed the Law of the People's Republic of China on Protection of
Cultural Relics and the Notice of Illegally Building Open Statue of
Buddha....Samye Monastery then self-moved the open-air statue forwardly
[sic]."

Earlier, in the beginning of this year, the Chinese authorities issued
56 articled new measures for the "Regulation on Religious Affairs"
entered into force. The new regulation, instead of providing the
protection of religious affairs, was deliberately aimed at enforcing
compliance with government regulations and policies on religious
organizations, religious personnel, and religious citizens. In
particular, this new regulation empowers the officials with legal
backing to intensify restrictions thus subjecting Tibetans to state
control and repression.

The Centre also recorded that a new restrictive measures on religious
practices were being enforced on general public. Prohibitions continue
to be in place for important religious days like Saka Dawa and Gaden
Ngyamchoe, birthday of the Dalai Lama and the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun
Choekyi Nyima in Tibet.

Since the beginning of September this year, China's State Administration
of Religious Affairs (SARA) issued 14-article with measures on
reincarnation which clearly demonstrates the Chinese Communist Party's
(CPC) adamant attempt to undermine and tarnish the centuries-old Tibetan
tradition of religious practice. It also attempts to weaken the
authority of the legitimate Tibetan religious leaders most prominently
that of the Dalai Lama. The new measure bars any Buddhist monk living
outside China from seeking reincarnation for himself or recognizing a
"living Buddha"
thus effectively ending the centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist practice. It
further adds that, " All the reincarnations of living Buddha of Tibetan
Buddhism must get government approval, otherwise they are 'illegal or
invalid'". It is understandable from this new measure that the
centuries-old traditional Tibetan system of recognizing reincarnate
lamas is irrelevant from now on and the Chinese CPC decides the
legitimacy of the reincarnate lamas.

In addition, the Chinese authorities have reinvigorated the "Patriotic
education" campaign across religious institutions and general masses
since the beginning of September this year and which will go on for
three months in Lithang and Kardze region. Under this campaign, many
Tibetans were arrested and detained for their open defiance and
confrontation with the authorities.

TCHRD believes that this latest incident of demolishing Guru
Padmasambhava's statue in Ngari Darchen and the forced suspension of
construction work of Guru's statue in Rongpatsa not only highlights the
new measures being forcibly implemented and carried out in Tibet but
also show authorities adamant attempt to undermine the religious
sentiments of Tibetan people.

The latest measures and restrictions imposed on religious activities
signal that a prospect for more religious freedom as gallantly
pronounced in the Chinese constitution is bleak, considering China's
record with respect to the religious freedom. While China's constitution
provides its citizens with the "freedom of religious belief," it does
not protect the right to manifest religious beliefs, highlighting the
importance for China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR), which contains explicit provisions on the
right to freedom of thought, conscience and religions and which she
signed on 5 October 1998.
The PRC should abide by the rights guaranteed in constitution and other
major international covenants and treaties which she is party to.

 

Contact person:
Tashi Choephel (English)
Jamphel Monlam (Tibetan and Chinese)
Phone Number: 1892-223363/225874/229225

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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