China demolishes buildings at Tibetan Buddhist academy Larung Gar

SICHUAN, Tibet, July 23 (UPI) — China has reportedly begun demolishing buildings at Larung Gar, one of the largest Buddhist academies in Tibet.

Free Tibet shared photos and video showing wood and stone scattered about from parts of the Larung Gar monastery which were demolished as part of an effort to reduce population in the area.

According to a post on their website, Free Tibet said a Chinese work team arrived at the monastery alongside officials, police and members of the armed forces dressed in plain clothes at around 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

“They brought bulldozers and other demolition equipment. Upon arriving, they began to pull down residences belonging to the monastery,” the post stated.

Chinese authorities have placed an order stating that Larung Gar’s population must be reduced from 10,000 to no more than 3,500 nuns and 1,500 monks by October.

The BBC reports that authorities have not made a formal comment on the demolition, Free Tibet Director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren argued that overcrowding is not the real issue.

“The demolition at Larung Gar is clearly nothing to do with overcrowding – it is just another tactic in China’s attempt to subvert the influence of Buddhism in Tibet,” she said.

A student at Larung Gar also questioned the practice in an online post.

“If its only option to solve the over population is destroying the houses then why is the same policy not implemented in the Chinese cities and towns where population is overcrowded?” he wrote. “Where is the equality, rule by law, public welfare, religious freedom and equal rights of all nationalities (they used to say) if you crush down the houses of innocent religious practitioners who are living simple lives.”

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