China forces 30,000 monks and nuns to take exams on Chinese law

Monk taking a Chinese law exam. Ganden Monastery in Lhasa.
Monk taking a Chinese law exam. Ganden Monastery in Lhasa.
Monk taking a Chinese law exam. Ganden Monastery in Lhasa.
23rd May 2019

Authorities in Tibet have forced around 30,000 monks and nuns across the TAR to take exams on Chinese law. The tests asked questions on legislation around religion and espionage

The Chinese government has forced around 30,000 monks and nuns from major monasteries inside the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to learn Chinese law and take exams on it, an official state media organisation in Tibet reported.

The exams which are run by the Justice Department of the TAR, the United Front Work Department and the Religious Bureau, include qustions on the Chinese constitution, religious affairs, national security and other related laws like anti-espionage and anti-terrorism.

Monks and nuns have been ordered to take the exams, with those who refuse facing possible detention, interrogation or other penalties.

Officials from the United Front Work Department usually spend days preparing those about to take tests, giving lessons on how to stand against the Dalai Lama and Tibetan separatism, Tibet Watch said.

Three major monasteries in the TAR, Sera, Gaden and Drepung, were among the sites where exams were held. They also happened in other regions next to the TAR including Chamdo and Nagchu.

Senior Chinese officials, including Xu Xueguang, Deputy Director of the District People's Congress, made inspections of monasteries while exams were underway.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch and official state media organisation, The Tibet Autonomous Region Judicial Administration Network.

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In late April, Wangchen, a 20 year old from eastern Tibet, gathered with friends to commemorate the Panchen Lama’s 30th birthday. The group called for the release of the Panchen Lama, who was detained as a boy in 1995 and has been missing ever since. They also called for the Panchen Lama and the exiled Dalai Lama to one day be reunited in Tibet. For this peaceful act, Wangchen was arrested. When his aunt, Dolkar, shared the news of Wangchen’s arrest, she too was charged.