In Chamdo Prefecture, one the most restricted areas on the Tibetan plateau, authorities are trying to dismantle one of the most historically important Tibetan monasteries:
In a revival of Cultural Revolution tactics, monks at the Karma Monastery in Chamdo, Tibet are being forced to disrobe by Chinese officials.
The monastery itself has been placed under a heightened security clampdown with a large presence of Chinese officials and security personnel carrying out patriotic re-education campaign.
“Monks are being ordered to disrobe while the whole Karma monastery has been sealed by the Chinese security officers,” Sonam Tsering, an exile Tibetan with contacts in the region told reporters.
Following the self-immolation of Tenzin Phuntsog, a former monk at the monastery and the reported bombing of an empty municipal office in the region, last year, monks at the monastery are continuing to face severe restrictions.
Although no casualties were reported in the October blast, local Chinese authorities directed their suspicions towards Karma monastery. The monastery was locked down and strict restrictions were placed on its monks, resulting in the arrest of 70 monks while over 40 monks reportedly escaped into the hills.
Speaking to Phayul, the director of TCHRD, Tsering Tsomo had earlier said that most of the monks of the Karma monastery have either been arrested or have fled the monastery in order to avoid growing Chinese repression and surveillance.
“The monastery initially had over 300 monks but now not many are left,” Tsomo said.
“For instance, the dialectic department in the monastery had to be shut down as all of its 120 students left the monastery. Many monks fled to escape the repeated visits and questionings by security officials.”