Legal text not forced on Aba Tibetan monks

By Chen Heying Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/24 0:18:39 Last Updated: 2016/8/24 0:23:40

Separatist crimes book targets all locals: ex-official

Officials in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Southwest China's Sichuan Province denied forcing monks to learn legal texts, in response to foreign media accusations that the local government distributed a book on separatism-related crimes, such as agitating in favor of splitting the State.

Zeli Danzhu, head of the justice bureau in the prefecture's Aba county, and Tashi, the deputy head of the county's publicity department, told the Global Times on Tuesday that they are not aware of any such distribution of legal texts.

"The judicial authorities were working on compiling Yi'an shuofa [case-based law learning] in July. But it is unclear if the books have been issued to locals," Qiu Ning, the former head of Aba county's united front work department, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

According to a report by US-based Chinese-language news website, authorities in the prefecture handed out Tibetan and Chinese books outlining law-violating cases at Kirti Gompa, or Gerdeng Monastery, beginning in late July.

Kirti Gompa is the site of the most self-immolation incidents on record, incidents that have been proven to have close links with the Dalai Lama's faction, according to State Council Information Office (SCIO) white paper Tibet's Path of Development is Driven by an Irresistible Historical Tide, which was released in April 2015.

Chinese public security organs' investigations into the self-immolation incidents clearly revealed that they are being manipulated and instigated by the highest level of the Dalai group, the white paper said.

"Self-immolation is likely to be included in the book [compiled by Aba judicial authorities] since it endangers public security and violates the law," Qiu said. "Case studies will better enable local residents, monks and nuns to understand the law than simply listing articles of the law."

"Cases involving illegally sending separatism-themed pictures and videos to foreign hostile forces via mobile messaging app WeChat are also a possible topic for the book," Qiu said.

Qiu denied that the book's target readers are only monks and nuns, though reported  the book was also distributed to some 40 other monasteries in the county.

"The book will be given to all locals, since such violations cannot be committed only by monks," he said.

Both Qiu and Tashi also dismissed's claim that authorities "forced monks to study the book."

Along with the establishment of libraries in monasteries, such legal education programs aim to foster monks and nuns' awareness of the law, Tashi said, stressing that monks and nuns may simply read the books in their spare time.

According to the SCIO white paper, the Dalai group instigates self-immolations in part through a so-called press liaison group based in Sichuan's Kirti Gompa and the Kirti Monastery in India and by using the Internet and "Tibetan independence" media to hype up self-immolation.

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