Tibetan monks in Qinghai to be educated on separatism

By Kou Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2015-11-26 0:48:40

Officials will be deployed in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries to guard against continued overseas influence of separatism on monks in Northwest China's Qinghai Province, according to local officials.

The county government of Nangqian has been recruiting new officers to be stationed at Tibetan monasteries.

An announcement released by the county government of Nangqian on Tuesday says it will choose 13 people from local governments and other public institutions to be stationed in the monasteries. Ninety-seven percent of the county's population is ethnic Tibetan.

This is part of the province's program to assist monks' welfare and educate them on the negative influence of separatist ideas, officials told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Education can ensure that monks and nuns do not participate in activities to split the country and disrupt social order," Dorje, director of the Publicity Department of the Nangqian County Party Committee, told the Global Times.

Dorje said the officials will provide monks ideological, moral and legal education, and prepare  study trips or visits for them.

Lian Xiangmin, an expert at the China Tibetology Research Center, said that most of the monks are law-abiding, but some of them may be used by hostile foreign forces and religious extremists such as the Dalai Lama and could cause damage to both the monasteries and society.

 "The monks are Chinese citizens first, so there is nothing wrong with educating them about the country's laws to avoid separatism spreading among them," Lian told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Rendering services to monks

Officials in Qinghai Province have been assisting the local monasteries' democratic administration committees since 2013, with 78 officials selected in Nangqian in the same year, Jiang Shuwei, vice-director of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Nangqian County Committee, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"The 13 candidates will fill the vacancies of previously-selected officials who were too busy to handle the job or had retired this year," Jiang said.

The announcement says candidates must be clearly against separatism and should have a good understanding of China's ethical and religious policies. Candidates are likewise required to know the Tibetan language and have at least two years of grass-roots work experience.

"It's not an easy job to deal with religious affairs. Therefore, all of our candidates are from the government and public institutions," Dorje said.

"Rendering services to the monks is the priority of the officials' work, and they should also help manage the monasteries," Jiang said.

There are 103 Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and religious facilities in Nangqian, most of which are located in remote areas. Aside from the unfavorable locations, monks in these monasteries can barely speak Chinese, which has caused inconveniences in their daily lives.

"Before we stationed officials in the monasteries, monks had to travel enormous distances to the local government to express their needs and demands, while the government had to arrange working teams every year to visit all of them annually. The lack of an intermediary has caused inconveniences for both sides," Jiang added.

Officials stationed in monasteries can provide services, such as making sure they have running water, electricity and roads, and assist them in applying for social security and healthcare, Dorje said, adding that the officials can also provide timely information to the monks on new government policies.

Dorje added that officials can also offer to help manage the monasteries.

The monasteries' internal affairs are independently handled by the "democratic administration committees."

Generally, the monks would vote for members to the monastery's democratic administration committee, who are in charge of the monastery's general administrative affairs, cultural relics and the lamas' welfare.

According to Dorje, the monks run the monastery by themselves, while government officials only offer them assistance, such as settling disputes among monks.

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