As authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province move ahead with their destruction of the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy in Serthar county, Tibetans living in a neighboring town are being forced from their homes to make way for commercial development, Tibetan sources say.
A large area of land in Nubsur township, located about 20 miles from the Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) county seat in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, has now been seized from Tibetan residents in exchange for the payment of “token compensation,” a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“The Tibetans were not willing to sell their land, but were forced to part with it and were then evicted from the area,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“The authorities are planning to develop the area as a tourist complex,” the source said.
“It has also been rumored that all the hotels and restaurants to be built at Nubsur will be given to the Han Chinese business community, and not to the Tibetans,” he said.
Residents forced from their land in Nubsur have included both prosperous families and those who are less well-off, RFA’s source said, adding, “The poorer families insisted on staying on their land in tents, but they have now been forced to leave and their tents have been removed.”
“Some of the evicted families have opened small tea shops in the town with the small payment they got for their land,” he said.
Ceremonies banned at Larung Gar
The land taken from Tibetans at Nubsur lies just a half-mile from the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, where Chinese work crews have torn down large sections of the sprawling Tibetan Buddhist studies center, forcing thousands of resident monks and nuns from their homes.
Annual rituals conducted at Larung Gar have now been banned for fear of drawing large crowds and have been moved to an affiliated monastery, a Tibetan living in India told RFA, citing contacts in the region.
“These ceremonies meant to dispel obstacles used to be performed for ten days at Larung Gar, but have been banned there this year due to the ongoing demolitions and related tensions in the area,” the source said.
Instead, the ceremonies were conducted for just one day on Aug. 15 at nearby Shoru monastery, he said.
“Those monks and nuns who went to witness the rituals were ordered to return to Larung Gar as soon as the ceremonies ended,” he said.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin and Sangye Dorjee for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.