China installs new restrictions on religious activity in Tibet

Sign outside Shalu Temple in Shigatse, administered under the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The banner reads: “No entry for Communist Party members and children under 18.”
Sign outside Shalu Temple in Shigatse, administered under the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The banner reads: “No entry for Communist Party members and children under 18.”
Sign outside Shalu Temple in Shigatse, administered under the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The banner reads: “No entry for Communist Party members and children under 18.”
26th September 2019

China increases restrictions on religion in Tibet.

The Chinese government has banned former government employees in the Tibet Autonomous Region from performing a form of traditional Tibetan worship, documents obtained and translated by Human Rights Watch show. 

The notice, which HRW believes to be from early August 2019,  orders lists to be made of former government employees who perform the “kora”, a form of worship in which Buddhists walk around sacred sites while chanting prayers and mantras. 

Former employees found to participate in the practice and who are named on the list have been threatened with punishment. 

The notice banning the ritual among former government employees violates China’s stated commitments to religious freedom, Human Rights Watch said. 

The order was produced by a department that oversees retired government employees and works under the Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee.

Following the news, Free Tibet’s research partner Tibet Watch has obtained pictures that show other infringements of freedom of religion in Tibet around the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

One of the images shows that at the Shalu Temple in Shigatse, administered under the Tibetan Autonomous Region, a banner has been hung reading: “No entry for Communist Party members and children under 18.”

Another picture shows a banner hanging outside the entrance of the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa,  which says, “may the great Communist Party last tens of thousands of years.” 

Tibet Watch said Chinese authorities see the influence of Tibetan Buddhism in the country as threatening to the narrative of Chinese nationalism and the authority of the CCP.

Adding, the CCP have tried to reduce the influence of religion in Tibet and replace it with an ideological love for the Party and motherland.

 

TAKE ACTION

In Tibet the Chinese Communist Party oversees what some have called the world's largest open air prison. The authorities have the power to switch the light on and off, peering into Tibetans' emails one moment and making political prisoners vanish from their families and friends, apparently into darkness, the next. Help us push for Tibet's hidden political prisoners to be found and released.