Rounding out the Tibet-related updates for today we have a new post from the International Campaign for Tibet, which has the latest on the Ngaba situation. It sounds like Kirti Monastery has been identified by Beijing as a consistent source of trouble, which means it’s going to have to be ‘corrected,’ one way or another:
According to new information received by ICT, monks have been leaving Kirti monastery in recent months due to the presence of troops blockading the monastery, the risks of disappearance, torture and detention due to the security crackdown combined with a patriotic education campaign that is making religious practice difficult or impossible. According to some reports, as many as several hundred monks may have left Kirti, and at least 300 have been taken away by the authorities for what the Chinese government is characterizing as “legal education.” A number of monks have also been expelled from the monastery, with their rooms closed down, according to exile sources in contact with people in the area.
A Tibetan from the eastern Tibetan area of Amdo in contact with monks from the area said: “Kirti monastery has long been one of the largest and most influential monasteries in the region, and Tibetans there have a strong sense of their national identity. Tibetans fear that Chinese authorities are now seeking to weaken Kirti significantly through this systematic campaign against it and against the monks.”
Exiled Kirti monks who are in contact with local people in Ngaba said: “These days there are two big army tents pitched outside the north wall of the monastery, two each on either side of the east and west entrances to the complex, three more at the great stupa west of the monastery, and four at the main (south) entrance of the complex. The monastery’s new 25 room meeting hall inside the complex is occupied by soldiers and police, and all vacant dormitory buildings in the rest of the compound are also being occupied by soldiers, police and officials.”
In a significant indication that the Chinese government feels unrestrained by relevant articles of international law which protect the right of liberty and security of a person, it rebuffed a strongly worded appeal by the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances issued in Geneva on June 8 “to disclose the fate and whereabouts of all those who have been subject to enforced disappearances in China, including a group of Tibetan monks whose fate or whereabouts still remain unknown.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei responding to a foreign journalist’s question in Beijing on June 9 said there had been no “enforced disappearances” at Kirti monastery. He said local authorities had taken some monks for “legal education.”
Imagine a world in which Hong Lei wasn’t lying: apparently the government just randomly drops in on remote monasteries and starts teaching the monks about the law? It’s pretty much the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition sketch, but apparently with boring legal lectures instead of comfortable chairs.
On a more serious note, though, this is a bald-faced attempt to destroy a source of Tibetan culture and pride. Which makes it… just about par for the course from Beijing these days.