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19september20091Dharamshala: The Tibetan Parliament-in-exile has strongly condemned Chinese authorities’ decision to impose a ban on an annual religious event at Gyalrong Tsodhun Monastery, in Bharkham County of Amdo, Tibet.

The Standing Committee of the exile parliament today issued a press release calling upon human rights activists and Tibet support groups to pressure the Chinese authorities on the this issue, which violates the Tibetan people's fundamental human rights and religious freedom.

Following is the full text:

PRESS RELEASE

The Chinese authorities in Barkham County banned the third annual winter session of a religious congregation, which was to be held at Gyalrong Tsodhun Kirti Monastery. The annual religious event, which was first held at Tagtsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery in the year 2007, was subsequently decided to be organized by the four major Kirti monasteries: Tagtsang Lhamo Kirti Monastery, Ngaba Kirti Monastery, Tsodhun Kirti Monastery and Hortsang Kirti Monastery in yearly rotations.

According to the information Dharamsala has received from the Emergency Coordination Committee of Kirti Monastery, in addition to imposing ban on this congregation, the local Chinese authorities have warned the Tsodhun monastery of closure and the arrest of monks if they fail to comply with the orders.

The Tsodhun Monastery has spent close to five months seeking permission from the local authorities, as well as from the county office, to organize the annual event, but it has now been turned down, with the authorities terming it as “political and unlawful”. Severe restrictions have been imposed and the entire monastery has been put under strict surveillance.

An annual congregation of this magnitude, where monks from over fifty monasteries in Kham and Amdo participate, is an enormous opportunity for monks to demonstrate their knowledge on a particular and important aspect of Buddhist tenets called 'Tsema', or valid cognition (Pramanna in Sanskrit), and the banning of such a religious event is a despicable display of the lack of religious freedom in Tibet.

The Tibetan Parliament-in-exile strongly condemns this act, which openly violates the fundamental human right of religious freedom, and calls upon the government of China to allow the congregation to take place. We also call upon human rights and Tibet support groups to take the issue up with the Chinese authorities.

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