China Demolishes Buildings at Tibetan Buddhist Academy Due to “Overcrowding”


The London-based Free Tibet group published several pictures on Twitter (https://twitter.com/freetibetorg/status/756261263374741504/photo/1)  and video footage (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqlAZOqE9J8) on YouTube, showing wooden buildings razed to the ground.

According to Free Tibet, the activity follows an order last month by the Chinese authorities to cut the number of Larung Gar residents by half to 5,000. Chinese authorities have said that the population must be reduced from 10,000 to no more than 3,500 nuns and 1,500 monks by October.

Moreover, the group also says that demolitions had started on Wednesday, and a number of people living there have been evicted.

The director of Free Tibet, Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren said, “The demolition at Larung Gar is clearly nothing to do with overcrowding – it is just another tactic in China’s attempt to subvert the influence of Buddhism in Tibet.”

One student at Larung Gar said, “If the only way to solve the overpopulation is destroying the houses, then why is the same policy not implemented in the Chinese cities and towns where the population is overcrowded?”

“Where is the equality, rule by law, public welfare, religious freedom and equal rights of all nationalities (as they say) if you crush down the houses of innocent religious practitioners who are living simple lives?”

Moreover, the campaign group also claimed that the demolition team had been accompanied by Chinese policy and members of the armed forces without uniforms.

Associated Press contacted a Sertar County government official who claimed that the demolition was to renovate rather than to remove the buildings. However, there has been no formal comment by Chinese authorities, besides citing overcrowding concerns. The director of Free Tibet claimed that this act was to subvert the influence of Buddhism in Tibet.

The academy and monastery was founded in 1980. It spreads over a mountainside in Sertar county in eastern Tibet. It attracts thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns who wish to study there. The population in Larung Gar has grown considerably in recent years.

Beijing claims a centuries-old sovereignty over the Himalayan region. China has sent in thousands of troops to enforce its claim on the region in 1950. Some areas became the Autonomous Region, whilst others were incorporated into neighboring Chinese provinces.

Beijing claims that Tibet region has developed considerably under its rule. However, rights groups say otherwise. They claim that China has been violating human rights, accusing of political and religious repression. Beijing dismisses all abuse claims.