China Resumes Expulsion Drive at Yachen Gar Tibetan Buddhist Institute, Thousands Evicted

Published By Tenzin Saldon

Dharamshala: Yachen Gar, a major Tibetan Buddhist center in Tibet’s Karze region is facing eviction once again. Chinese authorities in Palyul County in the so-called Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture have resumed expulsion of Tibetan nuns and monks at Yachen Gar which is said to have housed about 10,000 nuns, monks, and lay practitioners until recent years.

In 2016, Chinese authorities undertook a mass eviction and demolition of Larung Gar, world’s biggest Tibetan Buddhist institute, and Yachen Gar that led to destruction of several thousand monastic dwellings and expulsion of monks and nuns of about similar number. The demolitions of the two major Buddhist institutes were thought to have been completed within a year. However, recent reports indicate that the expulsion at Yachen Gar is anything but over.

The mass expulsion of Tibetan Buddhist practitioners at Yachen Gar this year began in May, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA). According to reliable sources, close to 3,500 nuns and monks have been forced out of Yachen Gar, and unfortunately, the number is likely to increase as the expulsion drive is still ongoing.

In the images obtained via social media, the nuns are seen in line receiving traditional farewell whereas in other images, a number of buses are seen waiting to transport the expelled practitioners. Those staying behind were deterred from accompanying their evicted friends as they were brought to the buses.

No concrete dwellings are known to have been destroyed at this time but authorities are keeping a tight watch over the center with “around 600 Chinese officials now permanently stationed at Yachen Gar,” according to RFA.

The international community raised concerns over the wide-scale removal of houses and residents at Sertha Larung Gar and Yachen Gar in 2016 and 2017: the European parliament passed an urgency resolution on Tibet and condemned the Larung Gar demolition while a group of UN experts sent a joint communication to the Chinese government questioning the demolition of Larung Gar and Yachen Gar.

Chinese authorities claimed that the removals were to prevent fire hazards and overcrowding but satellite images and information received in 2017 revealed that the goals to downsize the institutes were to enable a more manageable number to monitor, and to transform the world-famous Buddhist centers into tourist destinations.

The state-led demolition and forced eviction at Yachen Gar and Larung Gar are targeted towards reducing their growth, influence, and power. Monks and nuns of the centers were forced to undergo “re-education” sessions as reported last year, violating their religious and cultural rights.

-Filed by UN, EU & Human Rights Desk

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