China targeting Tibet’s monasteries to student-populate their colonial-style boarding schools

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In what is seen as a part of an ongoing campaign to coerce the Tibetan people to be more loyal to the party-state of China than in their devotion to Buddhism under President Xi Jinping’s call to Sinicize the ethnic minority areas, authorities in two counties in a historically Tibetan-inhabited prefecture in Sichuan province have closed down two monastic schools and ordered their students to be enrolled in the much-criticized government-run residential schools to undergo mandarin-Chinese education.
Officials said young monks in training at Kirti Monastery in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) county and Lhamo Kirti Monastery in Dzoege (Ruo’ergai) county in the province’s Ngaba prefecture had not attained the age at which they could receive monastic education, reported the Tibetan service of rfa.org Jul 3, citing local Tibetans speaking anonymously for safety reasons.
Apparently, the move is part of China’s strengthening of the enforcement of its rule that those aged below 18 years cannot be enrolled in monasteries. Tibetan Buddhist monasteries have historically enrolled children as young as 5-6 years of age.
The order was stated to have been issued by provincial authorities in April, requiring the monasteries to send their novice and young monks under the age of 18 to government-run residential schools.
The order was stated to have been enforced this month with the parents being warned not to send back their young children to the monasteries after the summer break. The monasteries are now stated to be patrolled by police to enforce the order. Also, security personnel are stated to be posted at monastery gates to prevent parents from entering them.
The order is said to have affected some 1,000 novice monks at Kirti Monastery and 600 at Lhamo Kirti Monastery, who all must now attend Chinese government-run residential schools whose curricula are said to be designed to assimilate them as Chinese.
These “colonial-style” boarding schools have been widely condemned for separating the children from their families and depriving them of their UN recognized right to a Tibetan cultural educational upbringing.
The report cited experts as saying the measures are part of the Chinese government’s systematic efforts to Sinicize Tibetan Buddhism by making Tibetans more loyal to the Chinese Communist Party and its political agenda than to their own religious doctrine.
The report said Chinese authorities have also forbidden young novice monks from entering Ngaba Nangshug and Gomang monasteries in Sichuan province and Labrang Monastery in Sangchu county in neighbouring Gansu province, indicating a widening and general enforcement of the order.

 

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