TCHRD[Tuesday, October 09, 2007 20:01]
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) expresses itsdeepest anguish at the China's recent outrageous interference in thereligious affairs of Tibetan people in Tibet. According to the latestinformation emanating from Tibet, another statue of Guru Padmasambhavaor popularly known as Guru Rinpoche was demolished and construction ofanother Guru statue was reportedly suspended by the local Chineseauthorities in two different regions of Tibet.
According to confirmed information, about two meter high statue of GuruRinpoche built with financial contribution by the faithful localTibetans was demolished in the first week of October by the localChinese authorities from Ngari Darchen, Burang County, Ngari Prefecture,"Tibet Autonomous Region" ('TAR'). The statue built with clay wascompleted a month ago with religious consecration done by the localreligious heads upon its completion.
In a similar incident, on 14 August 2007, a statue of Guru Rinpoche,which was under construction at Rongpatsa Village, Kardze County, Kardze"Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture" ('TAP') was suspended following thelocal authorities' issuance of order prohibiting construction of the statue.
These are not the isolated cases surfacing from Tibet, in mid-May thisyear, the Chinese People's Armed Police (PAP) forcibly demolished anearly completed gold and copper plated colossal statue of Guru Rinpocheof the Samye Monastery in Dragnag County, Lhoka Prefecture, 'TAR'. TCHRDhighlighted the demolition of the statue on 4 June 2007 after which theofficial Chinese statement issued by the Democratic Management Committeeof Samye Monastery on 8 June said that the construction of the statue"disobeyed the Law of the People's Republic of China on Protection ofCultural Relics and the Notice of Illegally Building Open Statue ofBuddha....Samye Monastery then self-moved the open-air statue forwardly[sic]."
Earlier, in the beginning of this year, the Chinese authorities issued56 articled new measures for the "Regulation on Religious Affairs"entered into force. The new regulation, instead of providing theprotection of religious affairs, was deliberately aimed at enforcingcompliance with government regulations and policies on religiousorganizations, religious personnel, and religious citizens. Inparticular, this new regulation empowers the officials with legalbacking to intensify restrictions thus subjecting Tibetans to statecontrol and repression.
The Centre also recorded that a new restrictive measures on religiouspractices were being enforced on general public. Prohibitions continueto be in place for important religious days like Saka Dawa and GadenNgyamchoe, birthday of the Dalai Lama and the 11th Panchen Lama GedhunChoekyi Nyima in Tibet.
Since the beginning of September this year, China's State Administrationof Religious Affairs (SARA) issued 14-article with measures onreincarnation which clearly demonstrates the Chinese Communist Party's
(CPC) adamant attempt to undermine and tarnish the centuries-old Tibetantradition of religious practice. It also attempts to weaken theauthority of the legitimate Tibetan religious leaders most prominentlythat of the Dalai Lama. The new measure bars any Buddhist monk livingoutside China from seeking reincarnation for himself or recognizing a"living Buddha"
thus effectively ending the centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist practice. Itfurther adds that, " All the reincarnations of living Buddha of TibetanBuddhism must get government approval, otherwise they are 'illegal orinvalid'". It is understandable from this new measure that thecenturies-old traditional Tibetan system of recognizing reincarnatelamas is irrelevant from now on and the Chinese CPC decides thelegitimacy of the reincarnate lamas.
In addition, the Chinese authorities have reinvigorated the "Patrioticeducation" campaign across religious institutions and general massessince the beginning of September this year and which will go on forthree months in Lithang and Kardze region. Under this campaign, manyTibetans were arrested and detained for their open defiance andconfrontation with the authorities.
TCHRD believes that this latest incident of demolishing GuruPadmasambhava's statue in Ngari Darchen and the forced suspension ofconstruction work of Guru's statue in Rongpatsa not only highlights thenew measures being forcibly implemented and carried out in Tibet butalso show authorities adamant attempt to undermine the religioussentiments of Tibetan people.
The latest measures and restrictions imposed on religious activitiessignal that a prospect for more religious freedom as gallantlypronounced in the Chinese constitution is bleak, considering China'srecord with respect to the religious freedom. While China's constitutionprovides its citizens with the "freedom of religious belief," it doesnot protect the right to manifest religious beliefs, highlighting theimportance for China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil andPolitical Rights (ICCPR), which contains explicit provisions on theright to freedom of thought, conscience and religions and which shesigned on 5 October 1998.
The PRC should abide by the rights guaranteed in constitution and othermajor international covenants and treaties which she is party to.
Tashi Choephel (English)
Jamphel Monlam (Tibetan and Chinese)
Phone Number: 1892-223363/225874/229225