Monks and nuns expelled from Sichuan’s Larung Gar Buddhist Academy are being subjected to months of political “re-education” after returning to their home towns, with some targeted for periods of detention of up to half a year, Tibetan sources say.
One group of about 100 who came to Larung Gar originally from counties in the Tibet Autonomous Region and were sent back in August have been held for two months in the TAR’s southeastern county of Nyingtri (in Chinese, Linzhi), one area resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“The rehabilitation of those displaced monks and nuns requires the study of Chinese policy and regulations regarding Tibet,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The classes, which are conducted in Tibetan with the help of overhead projectors, also promote “awareness of China’s program of subsidized support for Tibetan nomads and farmers,” the source added.
Most of those initially enrolled in the class have now returned to their family homes, but for some who remain behind, the program still continues, the source said.
Chinese officials in Larung Gar’s Serthar (Seda) county had sought the help of TAR authorities to facilitate the return to Tibet of the expelled monks and nuns, some of whom were told they would be allowed to go back to Larung Gar “after a period of time,” he said.
Meanwhile, about 300 monks and nuns who were sent back in September to Riwoche (Leiwuqi) county in the TAR and to Sershul (Shiqu) county in Sichuan were ordered to report to the police on their return, the source said.
“They were then put into detention to be ‘patriotically re-educated,’” he said.
Speaking separately, another Tibetan source confirmed that political classes were being held for Larung Gar evictees across the region.
“All those who have been forced to leave Serthar have to undergo patriotic re-education for about six months on arrival in their home localities,” he said.
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 Sonam Wangdu and Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.