As Chinese authorities continue to work to reduce the size of Sichuan’s Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, evicted monks and nuns are being forced before they leave to sign documents vowing never to come back, sources in the region say.
The signed pledges, entered on two separate documents, also contain promises to “uphold the unity of the nation” and not to engage in behavior opposing government policy in the area, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“Those signing also have to acknowledge that they will be held responsible if they break these promises,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Many thousands of Tibetans and Han Chinese study at the sprawling Larung Gar complex, which was founded in 1980 by the late religious teacher Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok and is one of the world’s largest and most important centers for the study of Tibetan Buddhism.
The order now to reduce the number of Larung Gar’s residents by about half to a maximum level of 5,000 next year “comes from higher authorities,” with China’s president Xi Jinping taking a personal interest in the matter, sources told RFA in earlier reports.
Thousands have already left, sources say.
The destruction of hundreds of monastic dwellings at Larung Gar meanwhile continues, RFA’s source said.
“The demolition at Larung Gar is still going on,” the source said, adding that hundreds of monks and nuns from areas outside Larung Gar’s Serthar (in Chinese, Seda) county were taken away by bus this week.
“On Oct. 30, over 400 monks and nuns from Golog [Guoluo] and 300 from Yulshul [Yushu], along with many others belonging to different places like Chungchu [Hongyuan], Gonjo [Gongjue], Ngaba [Aba], and Dzamthang [Rangtang], were forced to leave,” he said.
“Police and officials from those counties arrived at Larung Gar and escorted them back to their hometowns,” he said.
Reported by Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.