Nuns flee from repression

A broadcast from VOA on 17 January 1997 reported a steady flow of Tibetans across the Nepal border into India in January as a result of repressive events in Tibetan religious institutions. Sangye Chodon and three other nuns from Lhoka Chenpue Vodde Monastery were amongst them.

The four nuns fled Tibet as a result of the “Political Re-education Campaign” launched by the Chinese “Work Team” in their monastery. The “re-education”, part of the Chinese national “Strike Hard” campaign launched in May 1996, requires the denunciation of the Buddhist concept of “refuge taking” in the triple gem (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha). This was so repugnant to the nuns that they left the monastery.

The four nuns also reported that the “Work Team” has launched the Political Re-education Campaign in all of the monasteries in Lhoka county, 191 km south of Lhasa. The campaign has also been launched in the retreat places located in the remote hill areas and in the Lhoka Chenpue Vodde Temple which belongs to Nyingmapa, the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism.

In Chenpue Vodde Monastery there are 50 nuns in all and this represents the first incidence of nuns being compelled to flee.

Sangye Chodon also reported that, in September 1996, Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials of Lhoka county, Samye township authorities and the Samye local PSB officials collected 24 yuan from every monk and nun in the monastery, temple and every retreat in Samye county. The imposition of heavy levies on those monks and nuns who do not originate from the region of their monastery has also been reported.

The four nuns carried with them a copy of the receipt given to them by the local town authorities when they paid this tax. This receipt was merely a hand-written white paper rather than an official receipt of the Chinese government and as such the money appears to have been collected arbitrarily.

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