“Patriotic education” campaigns intensified at Tsendhen monastery in Sog county and around 40 lay Tibetans arrested
DHARAMSALA, May 27: Reports emerging out of Tibet say patriotic re-education campaigns, already in place at Tsendhen monastery in Sog county in traditional Kham province’s Nagchu prefecture (now incorporated into Tibet Autonomous Region) are being intensified and around 40 residents of the county have been reportedly arrested for travelling outside TAR.
Around 50 provincial level officials arrived at Tsendhen monastery on May 19 and held an emergency meeting in which the officials emphasized the need for intensification of ‘political education’ in the monastery saying that the monks of the monastery have not been sufficiently educated. Officials were referring to the alleged ‘political activities’ carried out in recent months by monks of the monastery who have been subsequently arrested.
“Intensified ‘political education’ classes in the monastery usually last for around three hours. If a monk of the monastery fails to attend the classes twice, the said monk shall be evicted according to the new rules laid down by the officials,” said a Tibetan source on condition of anonymity.
“They have also constructed a new quarter for the permanently stationed work teams in the monastery,” the source further said.
The authorities have also put in place a ban on travelling outside TAR. According to the new rules put forth by the authorities, residents of the county who travel to neighbouring provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan for study purposes or otherwise will be denied the right to collect caterpillar fungus (Tib: Yartsa gunbu), a prized plant known for its medicinal qualities and a major source of livelihood for Tibetans in the county.
The authorities have further ordered Tibetan residents of Rogta township and several other townships to enroll only in government-run schools and if anyone violates the rule and enrolls in privately-run schools such as the Larung Gar Institute in Serta county and the famous Ragya monastery in Golog prefecture, both of which are located outside TAR, the violator and his family will be deprived of the right to cultivate caterpillar fungus.
The source further said that around 40 lay Tibetans have been recently arrested for travelling outside the TAR but failed to provide further details due to heavy restrictions placed on communication channels in the area.