Thousands of Monks, Nuns ‘Politically Re-Educated’ After Eviction From Sichuan’s Yachen Gar

via aleksey godin

Thousands of monks and nuns forced out of the Yachen Gar Tibetan Buddhist Center in western China’s Sichuan province and back to their hometowns have been “rounded up” by authorities and sent for “political re-education,” according to Tibetan sources.

In a campaign beginning in May, the removals targeted mainly residents who had come from areas outside Sichuan to join the remote and sprawling temple complex in Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) prefecture’s Palyul (Baiyu) county, which until recent years had housed an estimated 10,000 monks, nuns, and lay practitioners devoted to scriptural study and meditation.

Speaking to RFA’s Tibetan Service, a Tibetan living in the area said most of the monks and nuns were from Jomda (Jiangda) and Palbar (Bianba) counties, in the Tibet Autonomous Region’s (TAR) Chamdo (Changdu) prefecture, and had been sent there for political re-education.

“The Chinese authorities have ordered that the number of monks and nuns staying at Yachen Gar not exceed more than 4,700, and because of that many monks and nuns have been evicted from the institute,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Those monks and nuns who were forcefully returned to their birthplaces have now been rounded up by local Chinese police and made to attend political re-education classes [at detention centers] in their hometowns.”

The source said that due to “overflowing numbers” at a detention center in Jomda, “many have been sent to Chamdo city for political re-education.”

“As soon as they are brought to the detention centers, their cellphones are confiscated, rendering them incommunicado with the outside,” the source added.

A second source based in southern India told RFA that some “70 monks and nuns are being held in Jomda and are undergoing thorough political re-education” after being summoned by police upon their return to their hometowns.

“The monks and nuns are forced to wear the clothes of laypersons at the detention center and the Chinese authorities make them denounce [Tibetan spiritual leader] the Dalai Lama on a daily basis, as well as memorize political propaganda, which they are later tested on,” said the source, who also declined to be named.

“These monks and nuns could be held for political re-education for another several months before they are released to their families. After that, they will be restricted from re-enrolling with any other monasteries or relocating elsewhere.”

Last month, sources told RFA that since the removals began in May, around 3,500 monks and nuns had been forced to leave Yachen Gar, while around 600 Chinese officials had been permanently stationed at the center to “maintain a tight watch” over those who remain and check on all outside visitors.

To avoid emotional scenes between residents being expelled and their friends who stay behind, no one may accompany those being evicted as they are brought to buses to be taken away, they said.

An unfolding strategy

Restrictions on Yachen Gar and the better-known Larung Gar complex in Sichuan’s Serthar (Seda) county are part of “an unfolding political strategy” aimed at controlling the influence and growth of these important centers for Tibetan Buddhist study and practice, a Tibetan advocacy group said in a March 2017 report.

“[Both centers] have drawn thousands of Chinese practitioners to study Buddhist ethics and receive spiritual teaching since their establishment, and have bridged Tibetan and Chinese communities,” the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said.

During 2017 and 2018, at least 4,820 Tibetan and Han Chinese monks and nuns were removed from Larung Gar, with over 7,000 dwellings and other structures torn down beginning in 2001, according to sources in the region.

Last month, Tenzin Dorjee, chair of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, called China’s restrictions on Yachen Gar an “egregious violation of the freedom of religion,” telling RFA at the time that restrictions in Tibet were “going from bad to worse.”

Reported by Kunsang Tenzin and Pema Ngodup for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Hunt says Merkel is willing to look at a new Brexit deal package – live updates

Two liars vying to be Tory PM…

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Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including the latest from the Tory leadership contest

9.38pm BST

After Jeremy Hunt said that German chancellor Angela Merkel had indicated the EU would look at a sensible new proposal put forward by the new prime minister (20:02), the foreign secretary asked in a tweet who Conservative members trusted to renegotiate a better Brexit deal.

The question is who do you trust to renegotiate a better Brexit deal that can get through Parliament? #HastobeHunt #BattleforNumber10 pic.twitter.com/DdQ1exDWvZ

Hunt on proroguing parliament. Clearly rules it out, says public wouldn’t accept it. Dividing line with Johnson, who has kept it on the table, though says he hopes MPs will do responsible thing (problems is mass majority of MPs think responsible thing to do is block No Deal)

I was dreading you asking something like that. Well I think in this campaign, the best jokes I’ve probably seen have been on the internet. For the time time in my life actually, the internet has been quite kind to me .. because they think I’m the underdog. They actually ran a campaign to tell Jeremy what his slogan should be for this leadership campaign. So we had #takeapuntonhunt, #jezzasthebezza, and then the one you’re really not going to try and say is #huntymchuntface.

Thanks Ben. If I become PM I want you back in the House of Commons where you belong! https://t.co/9X8760HkSn

9.13pm BST

Here is the full story on Boris Johnson’s phone-in from Amy Walker.

Related: Boris Johnson pledges to increase stop and search powers

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Ocasio-Cortez calls conditions at border facility ‘horrifying’

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Congresswoman said people were ‘drinking out of toilets’ and denounced alleged sexual threats by CBP officers towards her

Following a visit to a migrant detention center in Texas on Monday, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called conditions “horrifying” and denounced sexualized threats against her – allegedly made by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers – in the lead-up to the visit.

Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic colleagues were en route to a facility in Clint, Texas, when ProPublica revealed the existence of a secret Facebook group, branded as a forum for CBP officers, with 9,500 members, some of whom ProPublica linked to public Facebook pages for verified officers.

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NBC’s Chuck Todd shows how not to ask candidates about gun safety legislation

NBC’s Chuck Todd shows how not to ask candidates about gun safety legislation:

justinspoliticalcorner:

Cydney Hargis at MMFA:

NBC host Chuck Todd served as an example of how not to ask presidential candidates about their gun safety platforms during the first Democratic primary debate with sensationalized questions that raised the prospect of gun confiscation. Todd’s framing recalled false right-wing talking points that strengthening gun laws would necessitate the government taking people’s privately owned firearms.

Todd served as a moderator, along with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, for the second half of the two-hour debate, which featured 10 of the 20 Democrats running for president who qualified based on small-donation fundraising and polling numbers.

[…]

Todd’s line of questioning was ripped straight from the National Rifle Association’s playbook. For years, the pro-gun rights organization has been fearmongering that any type of gun safety legislation – from universal background checks to assault weapons bans and CDC research on gun violence – is a “slippery slope” that could lead to a national gun registry and ultimately an all-out confiscation of every firearm.