Police in southwestern China’s Sichuan province closely monitored the opening of a lavish new residence for the abbot of restive Kirti monastery on Saturday, watching the gathered monks and forbidding any mention on printed invitations of the monastery’s exiled leader, sources said.
The four-day event beginning Oct. 15 marks completion of the residence of Kirti Rinpoche, who lives in Dharamsala, India, seat of Tibet’s government in exile, and drew hundreds of participants, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“However, Chinese police in uniform and plain clothes arrived at the monastery to watch the activities,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Moreover, Chinese authorities ordered the monastery not to send out invitation cards mentioning Kirti Rinpoche’s residence,” the source said.
“Instead, they had to say they were inaugurating a library built next door,” he said.
Kirti monastery in Sichuan’s Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) prefecture has been the scene of repeated self-immolations and other protests by monks, former monks, and nuns opposed to Chinese rule in Tibetan areas.
Authorities raided the institution in 2011, taking away hundreds of monks and sending them for “political re-education,” while local Tibetans who sought to protect the monks were beaten and detained, sources said in earlier reports.
Despite Chinese efforts to reduce attendance at the event, representatives from other area monasteries and from Ngaba’s Muslim community arrived at Kirti on Saturday to take part in the festivities, a second local source said, also speaking on condition he not be named.
“And many who could not participate sent greetings in writing,” he said.
No cultural events or songs and dances were performed at the opening, though, RFA’s source said.
“It is a tradition at Kirti monastery not to organize cultural performances during such celebrations,” he said.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin and Lhuboom for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.