China: New Political Requirements for Tibetan Monastics

November 3, 2018 By Human Rights Watch, hrw

Chinese authorities are requiring key Tibetan monks and nuns to act as propagandists for the government and Communist Party, Human Rights Watch said today. Under new policies for “Sinicizing” religion, the government has been compelling selected monastics in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) to undergo political training designed to create a new corps of Buddhist teachers proficient in state ideology.

Under the “Four Standards” policy introduced in TAR in 2018, monks and nuns must demonstrate – apart from competence in Buddhist studies – “political reliability,” “moral integrity capable of impressing the public,” and willingness to “play an active role at critical moments.” The implication is that they must agree to forestall or stop any attempts to protest state policy.

“Chinese authorities have always placed heavy constraints on religious freedom, especially in Tibetan and other minority regions,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “Compelling Tibetan monks and nuns to be propagandists for the Communist Party takes government intrusion in religion to abhorrent new levels.”[Source]

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