China Rewards 'Peaceful' Tibetan Monasteries With Large Payments

Authorities in western China’s Sichuan province are awarding large sums of money to Tibetan monasteries that have steered clear of protests challenging Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas, at the same time imposing “patriotic re-education” classes on monasteries that have become involved, sources said.

Beginning in May, officials conducted visits to several monasteries in the Dzachuka region of Sershul (in Chinese, Shiqu) county in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“This appears to be a new Chinese plan to reward monasteries with no record of protests or other incidents opposing the government ,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Monasteries that have not been involved in any kind of protest were given payments of 30,000 yuan [U.S. $4,841] to 50,000 yuan [U.S. $8,069] because of their clean records,” the source said, adding that monasteries that had taken part in protests were forced to attend “patriotic re-education” sessions lasting from three to four days.

Of the more than 30 monasteries in the Dzachuka area, many—including Wonpo, Mangge, Tekar, and Chaktsa—were involved in local protests, “and many of their monks are still in jail,” the source said.

“I don’t want to name the monasteries that have received money from the government, because there have been strong objections from the Tibetan community to their accepting the funds,” he said.

Tibetans in Kardze prefecture are known for their strong sense of Tibetan identity and nationalism and frequently stage protests alone or in groups opposing rule by Beijing.

On  Nov. 26, 2014, Sonam Yarphel, a 22-year-old monk belonging to Mangge monastery, staged a solitary protest in the Sershul county center, shouting slogans calling for Tibetan freedom and the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, sources said in earlier reports.

“After protesting for several minutes, he was overpowered by police and taken into custody,” one source said.

Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 141 Tibetans to date setting themselves ablaze to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the Dalai Lama’s return.

Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.