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Inside Tibet religious freedomDharamshala — Sources in Tibet have reported that Chinese authorities have further imposed restrictions to religious freedoms by denying students, teachers and faculty a holiday during Sakadawa, the holy month of the Buddha and prohibiting observance even at home.

In new reports that echo tones of the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Bureau of Education has prohibited teachers, students and parents from celebrating Sakadawa, and further forbidden any religion within the schools and homes. If anyone is found in violation of this, strict punishments were ordered.

One school received these orders via letter, stamped with the school's own seal, which read, "For all students, teachers and guardians, it has been ordered that days off for religious observance during Sakadawa are strictly prohibited. All families are asked to continue with school and work as usual. Students belief in superstitions and practice of religion is strictly prohibited."

Another local source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, "Here, parents and school employees were informed before Sakadawa began that there would be no time off during the holiday, and that even personal observance was not allowed."

"Generally, students have not been allowed to practice religion, that is not new news. Some parents would still take their children to monasteries and religious observances during the holiday. This year, not only are parents not even allowed to observe the holiday at home, but strict punishments are being ordered, which is new news."

These orders call into question China's adherence to even its own constitution, as freedom of religion and minority rights are guaranteed in article 36 of the constitution, as it states "No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion."

Tibet was invaded by the Communist regime in China starting in 1949. Since that time, over 1.2 million out of 6 million total Tibetans have died as a direct result of China's invasion and continued occupation of Tibet. Including the destruction of over 6000 monasteries, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide which include murder, massacres, torture, rape, starvation, extreme deprivation, forced marches, enslavement, brutal violence, and systematic extermination. The communist regime continues to call this a 'peaceful liberation', that the "Tibetans are living in a Maoist socialist paradise."