In a new campaign aimed at fostering Tibetan loyalty to Beijing, Chinese authorities in Qinghai began this week to hand out awards to Tibetan monks and monasteries deemed to have cooperated with Communist Party rule, a source in the region says.
On March 6, a meeting convened in Malho (in Chinese, Huangnan) prefecture’s Rebgong (Tongren) county brought together representatives from about 40 area monasteries belonging to different schools of Tibetan Buddhism, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“Officials from the United Front Works Department and the Religious Affairs Bureau distributed awards of about 10,000 yuan [U.S. $1,450 approx.] each to individual delegates, and also gave out awards worth several thousand yuan to the delegates’ monasteries,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“At the same time, they warned that monks who had recently traveled to India and Nepal would be [identified and] punished,” the source said.
During the meeting, authorities recognized those receiving awards as monks and nuns loyal to China and the ruling Chinese Communist Party, the source said, adding that certificates of “unity and friendship” along with cash awards of from 10,000 to 20,000 yuan were handed out to the monasteries represented.
“Many feel that this is a Chinese ploy to pre-empt Tibetan protests on March 10,” the anniversary of a failed 1959 national uprising against China’s rule in Tibet, the source said.
Chinese authorities in Rebgong have often held meetings with local Tibetans, urging them to support government policies and to “appreciate the wide and comprehensive benefits of development and government assistance,” sources told RFA in earlier reports.
In March 2016, authorities imposed sweeping new restrictions on Rebgong monasteries, directing them to strictly follow the leadership of state-imposed management committees and strengthening a ban on the display of photos of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, sources in the region and in exile said.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.