Local Chinese authorities have expelled 106 Tibetan Buddhist nuns from a convent and demolished several of their residential quarters in the latest crackdown on religious orders in Tibet, sources from inside the region and in exile said.
The authorities went to the Jada Ganden Khachoeling convent in Pekar township, Driru (in Chinese, Biru) county, in the Nagchu (Naqu) prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region on Sept. 30-Oct. 3, sources said.
They claimed that they would build new residential quarters and schools for those who were legally registered to live there within the official limit set by authorities, a Tibetan source from Tibet said.
Government authorities also said they would build homes for elderly nuns and send young ones to the schools, he said.
“These were just excuses and false claims,” he told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
Instead, the nuns were forced to leave the convent between Sept. 30 and Oct. 5 and handed over to their village leaders in Pekar township and Driru and Sog (Suo) counties, who in turn delivered them to their families, he said.
They were expelled on the pretexts of not possessing the proper documents and exceeding the number of nuns that authorities permitted to live in the nunnery, said Ngawang Tharpa, a Tibetan living in India.
“They were also accused of not complying with the official program of condemning [Tibetan spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama as part of the official patriotic re-education campaign, so they were forced to go home,” he said.
Before they left the 527-year-old convent, the authorities confiscated religious items, statues, and books and completely destroyed residential quarters below the main shrine as well as some above it, the Tibetan source from Tibet said.
Some of their living quarters situated beyond a nearby river were also reported to be demolished, he said.
Workers from the local forestry department hauled away the wood from the structures, he said.
The 46 nuns without housing who were left at the convent went to nearby villages in search of shelter, but some families were afraid to take them in without permission from local authorities, the source said.
At the same time, authorities summoned the nuns to attend frequent meetings during which they conducted political re-education campaigns against their wishes, he said.
Authorities had expelled 26 nuns from the same nunnery at the end of last year, he said.
Driru, a county considered “politically unstable” by Beijing, is one of three neighboring counties in Tibet’s eastern Nagchu prefecture from which Chinese authorities fear political unrest may spread unchecked to other parts of the region.
Following widespread protests across Tibetan regions of China in 2008, authorities intensified restrictions on monasteries and convents there, forcing them to register resident monks and nuns and not allowing them to build new living quarters, a young nun from Changlo convent in Dingri county in the Shigatse (Rikaze) prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region told RFA a year ago after authorities had expelled more than 100 of her colleagues who were living there without official permission.
Reported by Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.