Authorities in western China’s Sichuan province have moved ahead with removals from the Yachen Gar Tibetan Buddhist study and meditation center, evicting a further 3,600 monks and nuns in recent days, according to a local source.
Those now being expelled had come to live at Yachen Gar from areas in Qinghai and Sichuan outside the center’s Palyul (in Chinese, Baiyu) county, a Tibetan living in the area told RFA, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“China is now implementing a policy that spares none of the nonresidents at Yachen Gar. Except for locals from Palyul county, all others will now be removed from Yachen Gar,” RFA’s source said.
The expulsions follow the removal beginning in May of another 3,500 monks and nuns from the remote and sprawling complex, which once housed around 10,000 monks and nuns devoted to scriptural study and meditation.
An unknown number of those expelled earlier are being held in detention and subjected to political re-education and beatings, sources told RFA in earlier reports.
Chinese officials have now been stationed at the center to “maintain a tight watch” over those who remain and to check on all outside visitors, while travel to and from the center is strictly monitored and restricted, sources say.
“The leading figures and heads of Yachen Gar are appealing to the Chinese authorities to halt the continuing evictions of monks and nuns, but there seems little hope that the authorities will heed their requests,” RFA’s source said.
An unfolding strategy
Restrictions on Yachen Gar and the better-known Larung Gar complex in Sichuan’s Serthar (Seda) county are part of “an unfolding political strategy” aimed at controlling the influence and growth of these important centers for Tibetan Buddhist study and practice, a Tibetan advocacy group said in a March 2017 report.
“[Both centers] have drawn thousands of Chinese practitioners to study Buddhist ethics and receive spiritual teaching since their establishment, and have bridged Tibetan and Chinese communities,” the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said.
During 2017 and 2018, at least 4,820 Tibetan and Han Chinese monks and nuns were removed from Larung Gar, with over 7,000 dwellings and other structures torn down beginning in 2001, according to sources in the region.
Reported by RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.