Chinese authorities working to reduce the size of Sichuan’s Larung Gar Buddhist Academy are now targeting the center’s older monks and nuns for removal, meanwhile sparing the houses of Han Chinese lay members from destruction, sources say.
Demolition crews have not yet finished their work of tearing down monastic dwellings, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“But after large numbers of monks and nuns were expelled from the center, the complex has become calmer and more settled,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Most of the monks and nuns still there are meditating in secluded retreat in their own homes,” the source said.
Authorities continue to harass residents by pasting information on political reeducation programs and other official notices on their doors, though, the source said.
Many of Larung Gar’s older monks and nuns have now also been expelled, the source said.
“Many who came to Larung Gar at an early age have now reached their 70s, and many have been forced to leave,” he said.
The destruction of dwellings at Larung Gar has focused so far mainly on the houses of monks and nuns, he said.
“The houses of lay member who are primarily Han Chinese have been marked with yellow paint and spared from demolition.”
Many thousands of Tibetans and Han Chinese study at the 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.
Around 3,000 monks and nuns have already been expelled from Larung Gar, and around 1,000 dwellings destroyed, as authorities seek to reduce the population of the sprawling complex by about half to a maximum level of 5,000 next year, sources say.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.