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Chinese authorities forcibly remove Tibetan Buddhist nuns

Homes of nuns targeted because they are presumed less likely to put up active resistance

September 14, 2016

Thousands of religious adherents have been forcibly removed from two major Tibetan Buddhist institutions by Chinese authorities, said Human Rights Watch, Sept. 14.

The evictions follow demolitions in late July at the Tibetan Buddhist institute Larung Gar in Sichuan province.

So far the demolitions at Larung Gar have focused on the homes of nuns, apparently because they are presumed less likely to put up active resistance, said Human Rights Watch. One report claimed that up to 2,000 nuns had been required to leave Larung Gar and return to their hometowns in other provinces.

Since about April, up to 1,000 nuns at Yachen Gar, another major monastic encampment in Sichuan province, have been compelled to leave the institution and return to their homes in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Yachen Gar, about 300 kilometers southwest of Larung Gar, has an estimated 10,000 residents, mostly nuns.

An informed source told the rights organization that nuns who have returned from Yachen Gar to their homes in the Tibetan Autonomous Region have been told that they are not allowed to join any monastery or nunnery there, or carry out public religious rituals or practices.

"The authorities' strategy of demolitions, expulsions, threats, and restrictions on religious practice is clear-cut evidence of an attack on religious freedom, not the actions of a genuinely concerned government trying to address a housing problem," said Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch's China director in a media release.

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