Co-Chairs to China: End Demolitions of Tibetan Buddhist Housing and Expulsions of Practitioners
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressmen James P. McGovern and Joseph R. Pitts, Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, today wrote to Ambassador Cui Tiankai of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to express their deep concern over the demolition of buildings belongng to the Tibetan Buddhist Institute at Larung Gar, and troubling reports of the forced eviction of religious adherents there and at Yachen Gar. Both communities are located in Sichuan province in China.
Between July and September of this year, an estimated 2,000 dwellings at the historic Tibetan Buddhist Institute in Larung Gar in Serta county were demolished, in response to a local directive that seeks to reduce the community's population from 10,000 people to no more than 5,000. The religious practitioners - nuns, monks and laypeople -- who inhabited the destroyed residences now face eviction from the community. According to one report, 2,000 nuns have already been required to leave Larung Gar and return to their hometowns in other provinces. The demolitions are planned to continue next year.
Since last April at Yachen Gar, another major monastic community in Pelyul county, as many as 1,000 nuns have been compelled to return to their homes in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR). According to an informed source, the nuns who returned to their family homes in the TAR have been told that they may not join any monastery or nunnery there, or carry out public religious rituals or practices.
In their letter, the Co-Chairs urge the PRC central government to investigate the local and regional authorities responsible for the demolitions and expulsions, put an end to the policies, provide reparations for the damage to date, and allow Chinese and Tibetan Buddhists to practice their faith in peace.
The full text of the letter is available here [PDF].