Authorities in southwestern China’s Sichuan province last week expelled a further 500 monks and nuns from the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy, leaving many of those left behind fainting and in tears over the forced separation from their friends.
The group removed on Dec. 24 came originally from the Golog (in Chinese, Guoluo) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in neighboring Qinghai, and were taken away on buses and military trucks at government expense, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“Witnesses to their departure were distressed and brokenhearted over being separated from their friends, and about 10 monks and nuns fainted as they said goodbye,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Though authorities at first ignored the incident, saying that the faintings had been faked, the affected monks and nuns were later taken to a hospital for emergency treatment, the source said.
A temporary camp of two-storey buildings similar to a camp already created in Serthar has now been set up in Golog to receive the monks and nuns native to that area who were expelled last week from Larung Gar, RFA’s source said.
Many thousands of Tibetans and Han Chinese once studied at Serthar (Seda) county’s 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.
Many have already been expelled from the makeshift dwellings that once lined the hillsides around Larung Gar as authorities seek to reduce the center’s population by about half to a maximum level of 5,000 by next year, sources told RFA in earlier reports.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.