China trying to disconnect Tibetan students from their culture and religion

Chinese authorities are sending Tibetan students back to their homes from monasteries. These Chinese actions are said to affect their connection with their religion and culture.

The move, announced in a Religious Affairs Regulation on Oct. 1, has already seen monks aged 11 to 15 years expelled from Dhitsa monastery in Qinghai, historically a part of northeastern Tibet’s Amdo region, a source in the area told Radio Free Asia in a written message.

“Also, young monks in Jakhyung monastery and other monasteries in Qinghai have been forced to give up their robes and are being sent back home,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Government officials are now inspecting these monasteries to make sure the regulation is being obeyed.”

Enforcement of the new rule was launched on Oct. 20, “and higher-up officials have been very strict in implementing it,” the source said, adding that the number of young monks expelled so far under the regulation is still unclear.

“But they are being told they can’t return to the monasteries or wear monks’ robes anymore, and whether they will now be sent to government schools or not is also unclear,” he said. “None of them were forced to become monks, and they enrolled in the monasteries with their parents’ consent.”

Authorities in Tibetan-populated regions of neighboring Sichuan had already begun three years ago to remove young monks from their monasteries so they could return to government-run schools and learn to “serve society,” Tibetan sources told RFA in earlier reports.

By Staff Writer

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