China Arrests Tibetan Buddhist Monks Amid Dam Protests

China Arrests Tibetan Buddhist Monks Amid Dam Protests

Kanako Mita and Chika Yoshida

Modern Tokyo Times

Mass arrests of Tibetan Buddhist monks and ordinary Tibetans have occurred in the Sichuan province of China. The protests concern the building of a major dam that is likely to destroy six Buddhist monasteries and force Tibetans to leave two villages.

Tibetans mainly reside in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and adjacent to the frontline areas of neighboring provinces. This includes northern and western areas of the province of Sichuan – where Tibetan protests over the dam are ongoing.

Radio Free Asia reports, “The detentions reportedly occurred in the Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan, an area with a large population of ethnic Tibetans. Some of the arrested protesters required hospitalization due to rough treatment, sources said.” 

Lee Jay Walker (Modern Tokyo Times analyst) says, “Six Buddhist monasteries are threatened by the Gangtuo Hydropower Dam, which further underlies how power concentration is in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

The state apparatus of China used pepper spray, tasers, and water cannons to intimidate Buddhist monks and protesters.

One of the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries that faces being dismantled was ransacked during the Cultural Revolution. Hence, for the monks connected to Wonto Monastery, it is a continuation of power concentration and ignoring the voices of Tibetans.

The Union of Catholic Asian News says, “Around 300 monks reside in the Wonto and Yena monasteries located close to the site of the planned project which hold significant cultural and religious importance to locals.”

The BBC reports, “In 1950, China sent in thousands of troops to enforce its claim on Tibet. In 1959, after a failed anti-Chinese uprising, the Dalai Lama fled and set up a government in exile in India. Many of Tibet’s monasteries were destroyed during China’s Cultural Revolution.”

In the early period, the Chinese Communist Party killed untold numbers of Tibetans. Accordingly, in the modern period of China that began under Deng Xiaoping – after the terror of the Cultural Revolution – political elites in Beijing controlled Tibet concerning religious strings, economic dominance, grand projects, demographic manipulation, the exploitation of resources, and other forms of communist power concentration.

Lee Jay Walker says, “Hence, the dam project isn’t just a local issue – it encompasses much that is wrong in the China and Tibet relationship based on ‘Beijing and communist power concentration’ over the ‘indigenous Tibetans‘ – that is backed by brute force and fear.”

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group Modern Tokyo Times – International News and Japan News – Sawako Utsumi’s website and Modern Tokyo Times artist Modern Tokyo News – Tokyo News and International News