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Tibet-China-Buddhism-2014Dharamshala: - Emerging reports from Tibet state that the Chinese government has started introducing new repressive measures ever since late 2011 in order to directly control and manage Buddhist institutions in Tibet.

According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, these reforms have been introduced in Yulshul County (Chinese: Yushu county, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture) in the traditional province of Kham, eastern Tibet.

'Chinese officials have been visiting Kyegudo and giving orders to Tibetan monasteries, particularly those located in Trindu (Ch: Chenduo) County, to replace all the monastic staff and management committee members with government and party appointees by 7 June 2014,' the Tibetan rights group said, citing with chinese official sources.

At Nyatso Zilkar Monastery located in Dzatoe (Ch: Zaduo) Township in Trindu County, a government appointed Monastery Management Committee (MMC) has already replaced the previous Democratic Management Committee (DMC) even though the DMC's five year term had not expired, the group said, adding: 'The authorities accused the previous management committee of failing to maintain stability since numerous protests, including self-immolation, had occurred at the monastery in recent years; notably in 2012 when Nyatso Zilkar monks were arbitrarily detained, beaten up, and sentenced, including Tsultrim Kalsang, 25, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison.'

Citing new regulations, initially the authorities had stated that the government would appoint a Chinese official to head the MMC while the village heads of Zatoe Township would elect the rest of the members. However, the village heads had little or no say when it came to electing these members, with most of them being chosen by the township. The Chinese appointed MMC head now wields the administrative power and authority hitherto held by the abbot of the monastery.

Under the new rules and regulations, officials appointed from the Chinese government supervise the operations ad administration of the Tibetan monestaries. The aim of the MMCs is to create politically stable 'harmonious monasteries' and 'advanced, law-abiding monks and nuns'. In the earlier system of DMKs, party officials nominated representatives who were ulti mately elected by the monks. Under the new system, monks have no role in the appointment of MMC officials.

Since November 2011, Chinese authorities have established MMCs in 1787 monasteries in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) under the mission of establishing harmonious monasteries. In late 2012, the Buddhist Association of China (BAC) passed a regulation that gives the government and Party organs at multiple levels the authority and power to appoint religious instructors in Tibetan Buddhist institutions. Subsequently, in March 2013, TAR authorities reported that the new religious measures have proved effective in stemming unrest at religious institutions in TAR.

Official Chinese state controlled media reports had quoted the TAR religious bureau and United Front Work Department officials as saying that the goal of the new policy was to 'instill love and patriotism towards the Motherland in the minds of monks and nuns and destroy the forces of separatism.' Political education classes have since been intensified and monks and nuns are subjected to frequent political study sessions.

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