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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

New measures reveal government plan to purge monasteries and restrict Buddhist practice

August 1, 2008

ICT Report
July 30, 2008

Sweeping new measures introduced in Kardze to purge monasteries of
monks and restrict religious practice in the wake of protests across
the plateau reveal a systematic new attack on Tibetan Buddhism that
is reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution. The new measures, which
will apply to hundreds of monasteries, strike at the heart of Tibetan
religious identity at a time of unprecedented tension on the plateau
and are likely to create further resentment among the Tibetan people.

According to the new measures, specified in an official document from
Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan
province (the Tibetan area of Kham):

* Monks who express dissent or refuse to 'conform' can be expelled
and their residence demolished

* Tulkus (reincarnate lamas) could be 'stripped of the right to hold
the incarnation lineage' if they communicate with foreigners or
engage in protests against the Chinese authorities - a measure that
is consistent with an earlier ruling that all reincarnate lamas must
have the approval of the Chinese government

* Buddhist practice will be suspended in monasteries where a specific
percentage of monks have engaged in protest or dissent

* Senior religious teachers could face public 'rectification' or
imprisonment if they are shown to have even 'tolerated' peaceful
protest activity

The document, dated June 28 and published in Tibetan on an official
website1, has been translated into English by ICT below. Published
under the name of the head of Kardze prefecture, Li Zhangping, the
measures are aimed at "dealing clearly with participants in illegal
activities aimed at inciting the division of nationalities, such as
shouting reactionary slogans, distributing reactionary writings,
flying and popularising the 'snow lion flag' and holding illegal
demonstrations".

The measures have disturbing implications for the lives of monks and
nuns in Tibet, and represent a further attempt by the Chinese
authorities to seriously weaken the institution of Tibetan Buddhism.
They emerge from the authorities' position of equating any expression
of Tibetan identity with 'separatism', which has stifled debate, led
to a climate of fear, and created a serious threat to the survival of
Tibetan culture and religion.

Hundreds of Tibetans, including monks, nuns and laypeople, have been
imprisoned in Kardze in the last few months for peaceful protests
against Chinese rule since demonstrations began across the Tibetan
plateau on March 10, the anniversary of the Lhasa Uprising in 1959.
Tibetans in Kardze are known for their strong sense of Tibetan
identity and nationalism; hardline Chinese campaigns against the
Dalai Lama and economic policies that have led to the loss of their
land and livelihoods as well as the extraction of minerals by Chinese
prospectors have caused deep resentment in the region. Monks and nuns
in Kardze led a second wave of protests in the last few weeks
demonstrating against the severe implementation of 'patriotic
education' in religious institutions, which requires monks and nuns
to denounce the Dalai Lama. Many nuns in Kardze were also detained
for protesting against the brutal treatment of other Tibetans in
custody since March.

Kardze, one of 18 counties in the prefecture, has been the site of
more known political detentions of Tibetans by Chinese authorities
than any other county outside the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) since
the late 1980s, according to an authoritative database maintained by
the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (http://www.cecc.gov).

Entitled 'Measures for dealing strictly with rebellious monasteries
and individual monks and nuns (An order from the Peoples Government
of Kandze TAP no.2),' the new measures issued by the prefectural
government describe how monasteries with "10%-30% of monks or nuns
participating in disturbances" will be systematically "sealed off,
searched, suspect persons detained according to law and any banned
items they have hidden handed over (to the authorities). All
religious activities will be suspended, inmates will be prohibited
from leaving the premises, and they will be cleaned up and rectified
in the proper manner."

In an edict reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, the ruling states
that the rooms of monks and nuns who refuse to be registered or who
do not conform to the demands of political education will be
demolished, and the monks and nuns expelled: "Monks and nuns
returning to the monastery who cannot give a clear reason for having
gone outside, who cannot make a clear stand with respect to the
unification of the Motherland and rejection of the separation of
nationalities will be expelled, and their cells demolished."

The Kardze document also places a strong emphasis on the public
'rectification' of senior lamas and religious figures, and states
that those "who fail to make their attitude clear or take a two-faced
stance will not only be strictly warned, but will have to give a
detailed examination of their behaviour in front of a general
assembly of the monastic community, and a written guarantee, and the
giving of this examination and written guarantee will be shown
repeatedly in newspapers and on television."

The new official measures also state that reincarnate lamas (tulkus)
can be "stripped of the right to hold the incarnation lineage" and
will be "severely punished by the law" if they attempt to communicate
information about what is happening in their monastery outside, or
participate in protests or "tolerate them." This ruling appears to
follow from, and is consistent with, earlier controversial measures
introduced in September 2007, 'Management measures for the
reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism, which give the
Chinese authorities final oversight over the selection process for
reincarnate lamas.' (See: 'New measures on reincarnation reveal
Party's objectives of political control,' ICT, April 15, 2007.) This
new edict in Kardze means that not only can the Chinese state, that
promotes atheism, approve or reject a candidate to be a reincarnate
lama, but the government can also withdraw the title.

Like these earlier measures, the new edict is deliberately targeted
at one of the core belief systems of Tibetan Buddhism, revealing the
Party's agenda to undermine and supplant the Tibetan religious
hierarchy and weaken the authority of legitimate Tibetan religious
leaders including the Dalai Lama.

A translation of the ruling follows below.

**************************
Measures for dealing strictly with rebellious monasteries and
individual monks and nuns
Order from the People's Government of Ganzi TAP, No. 2
These measures were decided by the third work meeting of the standing
committee of the prefecture Peoples Government and are effective from
the day of their promulgation.

Head of prefecture: Li Zhangping, June 28, 2008.

In order to defend social stability, socialist law and the basic
interests of the people, the measures listed below have been
resolutely drafted for dealing clearly with participants in illegal
activities aimed at inciting the division of nationalities, such as
shouting reactionary slogans, distributing reactionary writings,
flying and popularizing the "snow lion flag" and holding illegal
demonstrations are listed below.

One: Dealing strictly with monk and nun troublemakers.

1) In cases where those who have committed minor offences, show a
good attitude in admitting their mistakes and submit a written
statement of guilt, their head of household should be guarantor (that
they commit no further offence), should keep them inside and ensure
that they strictly follow re-education.

2) Those whose offences are greater but who are ready to admit them
should, after undergoing re-education, make a sincere confession of
guilt, give a voluntary account of the main points in their case and
submit a written statement of guilt. Until they have done so, they
will be held in custody doing re-education.

3) Those guilty of serious offences who show a stubborn attitude will
be counselled strictly, given a warning, stripped of their rights as
religious practitioners and expelled from their monasteries, and held
in custody doing re-education.

4) Those involved in instigating splittism and disturbances, hatching
conspiracies, forming organisations and taking a leading role will
not only be strictly punished according to law, but will have their
rights as religious practitioners annulled, be expelled from their
monasteries, and henceforth not be able to serve as religious
practitioners, no monastery will be allowed to take them in, and
should they do so, the heads of that monastery's management
committee2 will be held responsible for supporting and harboring
splittists and dealt with severely.

Two: Dealing strictly with troublemaking monasteries.

5) Those monasteries with 10%-30% of monks or nuns3 participating in
disturbances will be sealed off, searched, suspect persons detained
according to law and any banned items they have hidden shall be
confiscated. All religious activities will be suspended, inmates will
be prohibited from leaving the premises, and they will be cleaned up
and rectified in the proper manner.

6) Monastery management committees with officials participating in
disturbances will be rectified in a timely manner, and in cases where
an overt incident has occurred, or where there are no suitable
personnel available, the local government will depute officials to
assume control of management. During the period of cleansing and
rectification, the monastery's financial control and all other
management functions will be suspended.

7) During the period of rectification, those monks or nuns who do not
assist the work of the committee, who do not agree to be registered
and photographed, who leave the monastery premises as they please and
refuse to correct themselves despite repeated reeducation, will be
completely expelled from the monastery, will have their rights as
religious practitioners annulled, will be sent back to their native
places, and their residential cells will be demolished. Monks and
nuns returning to the monastery who cannot give a clear reason for
having gone outside, who cannot make a clear stand with respect to
the unification of the Motherland and rejection of the separation of
nationalities will be expelled, and their cells demolished.

8) Monks and nuns at monasteries involved in disturbances must
re-register, and their cells in the monastery must be collectively
numbered. The limit on the number of monks or nuns allowed to join
the monastery must be reduced in accordance with the number who
participated in the disturbances and the number expelled. Monks and
nuns who continue to profess splittism, who covertly assist or
participate in disturbances, or refuse to comply with reeducation
will be expelled.

9) The management committees of monasteries that do not improve
following rectification, where monks and nuns go out again and make
trouble, will be investigated, and in due course, according to law,
they will be removed from the list of registered religious
institutions and closed down.

Three: Strict checking that the management committees fulfill their
responsibilities.

10) Monks, Tulkus, Khenpos,4 Geshes5 and so on in the management
committees of monasteries that, although not directly involved in
disturbances, do not take a clear stand on the issue, do not fulfill
their management responsibilities, are lax or implicated in instances
of poor management, or fail to investigate and discipline monks and
nuns who go outside and participate in disturbances must be subjected
to careful scrutiny of their mistakes while undergoing criticism and
re-education.

11) Management committee officials, Tulkus, Khenpos and Geshes who
fail to make their attitude clear or take a two-faced stance will not
only be strictly warned, but will be submitted to a detailed
examination of their behavior in front of a general assembly of the
monastic community, and obliged to give a written guarantee, and the
giving of this examination and written guarantee will be shown
repeatedly in newspapers and on television.

12) Management committee officials, Tulkus, Khenpos and Geshes who
send secret reports or collude with foreign separatists, assist in
disturbances, tolerate them, or incite others will be severely
punished by law. In accordance with legal provisions, their political
right of participation in government bodies, People's Congresses,
People's Political Consultative Conferences and Buddhist Associations
will be annulled, and all salaries paid for the performance of such
various functions terminated. They will not be allowed to participate
in religious activities with the rights of religious practitioners,
and in the case of Tulkus, they will be stripped of the right to hold
the incarnation lineage, and simultaneously the finances and
financial management of monasteries under their control will be
frozen and inspected, all instances of misappropriation of monastery
funds or financial management contravening the regulations will be
examined and dealt with according to law, as well as broadcast in
prefectural newspapers and on television.

*********
Footnotes
1. http://zw.tibet.cn/news/xz_news/ttxw/200807/t20080718_413324.htm
2. This is a reference to Democratic Management Committees that run
monasteries, which are composed of monks and nuns who have ostensibly
been elected by other members of the monastic community, although
their appointment needs to be approved by local government officials.
DMCs are expected to serve the interests of the government and not
those of the monastery or nunnery's population; the system is
intended to supplant the traditional hierarchical layers of authority
in Tibetan religious institutions.
3. The wording of this figure is unclear in the original Tibetan, and
could possibly be referring to 10-30 monks, as opposed to 10-30% of monks
4. The title of a religious teacher
5. Also the title of a religious teacher; a Geshe degree is the most
advanced level of scholarship possible in the Gelugpa school of
Tibetan Buddhism, typically requiring 20 years of intense study

This report can be found online at
http://savetibet.org/news/newsitem.php?id=1341

Press contact:
Kate Saunders
Communications Director, ICT
Tel: +44 7947 138612
email: press@savetibet.org
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