Further evictions and repression at Yarchen Gar

Nuns being evicted from Yarchen Gar in May
Nuns being evicted from Yarchen Gar in May
Nuns being evicted from Yarchen Gar in May
8th July 2019

Among those removed from the religious community are 70 nuns, who have since been detained

A series of evictions has taken place at the religious community of Yarchen Gar in Kardze, eastern Tibet, with large numbers of monks and nuns forced to leave their homes.

Evictions restarted in early May and were primarily aimed at monks and nuns who hail from areas of Tibet governed as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

Free Tibet’s research partner Tibet Watch is working to verify the precise number of monks and nuns who have been evicted, including claims by one anonymous source who told Radio Free Asia last month that 3,500 people had been forced to leave.

Among those forcibly removed were 70 nuns who are originally from the regions of Jomda County in the TAR. Following their removal, the nuns were taken to detention centres, where they have been subjected to patriotic education. Tibet Watch has learned that as part of their patriotic education, the nuns have been disrobed from their religious dress, ordered to praise the People’s Republic of China and told to denounce the Dalai Lama. They have also been made to undergo examinations.  

The nuns will be kept in detention for two to three months. Once they are released, their freedom of movement will be restricted and they will be prohibited from joining any new monasteries. Many of these nuns will have made a vow to not return to a layperson’s life. They have been given little in the way of compensation and no appropriate arrangements have been put in place to allow them to practice their religion and continue their studies.

Yarchen Gar
Yarchen Gar

Inside Yarchen Gar, the levels of surveillance by the Chinese authorities have been greatly increased. Around 600 military personnel have been deployed at the site to monitor the inhabitants.

The evictions are ongoing and Tibet Watch is working to secure further information on other residents who will be affected. At present, monks and nuns from the Chinese provinces of Qinghai and Sichuan have not been evicted, after officials from these provinces provided assurances that these residents would not create conflict.

Information from Yarchen Gar has been particularly difficult to acquire due to security around the site. 

According to the US State Department’s 2018 report on human rights, previous forced removals at Yarchen Gar have caused  its population to drop from 10,000 to an estimated 5,000 people. 

The evictions have been accompanied by the widespread destruction of people's homes. In 2017, local authorities issued orders that 3,500 homes be demolished.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch

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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.