106 nuns expelled from nunnery

Rubble from demolitions at the nunnery
Rubble from demolitions at the nunnery
9th November 2015

Authorities then demolished the nuns’ living quarters

Free Tibet has learned that 106 nuns from a nunnery in Driru County in Central Tibet were expelled by local authorities in late September.  Living quarters in the nunnery were then demolished.

The expulsions and demolitions have left many of the nuns homeless and seeking shelter. Attempts by nuns to find a place to live are made more difficult by Tibet’s tight travel restrictions.

Other nuns that were handed over to family members by officials in nearby townships have been forbidden from carrying out religious practices, including praying and wearing their robes. The nuns that were allowed to stay in the nunnery were reported to have been forced by local authorities to undergo a so-called “patriotic re-education” programme.

“Just deceptive words”

According a local source:

“government officials had initially said that reconstruction would be carried out on the site of those demolished houses for the nuns who were permitted to stay in the nunnery as ‘government aid’. They even promised that a home would be built for retired nuns. They also said that a school would be built for those nuns who were expelled from the nunnery. All these claims are false, they are just deceptive words”.

In the days after the expulsions, local authorities were also reported to have confiscated items from the nunnery such as statues and prayer instruments, which were made of gold, silver and other precious materials.

A hub of Tibetan resistance

In recent years Driru County has developed into one of the main hubs of Tibetan resistance against Chinese occupation, and has faced harsh repression as a result. In May 2013, Tibetans in Driru County staged a large protest against a new mining operation, halting the project. Several months later, Chinese officials forced Tibetans to fly the Chinese flag on their houses as part of a “political re-education campaign”, causing villagers to throw the flags in the river.

Resulting police actions and protests culminated in the shooting of preaceful protesters and the area remains among the most intensively repressed in Tibet.

The nunnery, Jhada Gon Palden Khachoe Nunnery, until recently housed 200 nuns. Only around 60 remain. In September 2014 Free Tibet reported on the expulsion of 26 nuns from this same nunnery after they refused to criticise the Dalai Lama.

Take action

Nuns and monks are often at the forefront of resistance to Chinese occupation of Tibet. They face repression from Chinese authorities. Join in with our Robed Resisters campaign to send messages in support of Tibet's religious prisoners.