In a move to tighten the noose around Tibetan monasteries and nunneries, the Chinese government has implemented a new regulation that gives the government and the party organs at multiple levels the authority and power to approve the appointment of Buddhist religious instructors, a Tibetan rights
group has alleged.
In its latest report, Dharamsala-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has said the Chinese government has implemented a regulation called “Measures to determine qualification and employment of religious instructors in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries”.
The regulation was reportedly published on December 3, 2012, after its approval during the second session of the eighth council of the Buddhist Association of China held on November 25 same year.
“The new regulation, which controls that who may be a religious instructor at Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, is a continuation of the Chinese policy of curtailing freedom of religion in Tibet,” said director, TCHRD, Tsering Tsomo.
Elaborating about the provisions made under the regulation, Tsomo said according to the regulation, all religious instructors at Tibetan Buddhist monasteries must be legally registered to continue teaching Buddhist scriptures and must meet mandatory credentials, including support for the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system, patriotism, discipline, safeguard national unity and uphold religious and social harmony.
“Another article of the regulation requires candidates to be nominated and recommended by Monastery Management Committees, following which they will then be assessed and reviewed first at the county-level Buddhist Association of China and another assessment and screening of the credentials of the candidates will be done at the prefecture level,” said Tsomo.
She said the qualified religious instructors should promote national policies and regulations to guide the masses of believers, consciously safeguard national unification, ethnic unity and social stability and oppose separation.
“Anybody found violating the norms defined in the regulation can face verbal exhortation suspension of employment, dismissal and withdrawal of all rights and privileges of a religious instructor,” Tsomo added.
The Buddhist instructors will also face suspension in case they fail to follow the orders of the monastery management committee; acting on the instigation of overseas outfits and private individuals; spreading separatist ideas and inciting monks and nuns, as well as lay believers promoting illegal criminal behaviour; engaging in activities to destroy ethnic unity and social stability; and for splitting the Chinese motherland.
Maintaining that religious freedom in Tibet over the years has changed for the worse, Tsomo said the new regulations were a dramatic escalation because they were designed to undermine the ability of monasteries to pass on to younger generations thousands of years of Tibetan Buddhist teachings.
“Through attrition, this policy will ultimately decrease the number of truly qualified Buddhist teachers and diminishes the transmission of Tibetan Buddhist culture, and language throughout Tibet,” she said. In absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has already banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission to tighten grip over the religious activities of Tibetans.
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