Beijing: China has ordered all Buddhist monasteries in Tibet to display China’s national flag as part of its efforts to maintain social stability in the restive Himalayan province, which experienced self-immolation protests against the Communist party rule. The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of Tibet, Chen Quanguo said that China’s national flag should be flown on all monasteries.
Chen, in an editorial in state-run Global Times, said that all monasteries will have the national flag, communication services, television broadcasts, newspapers and book stores. Chen also said that the regional government will launch a legal education campaign at the monasteries, along with activities to select model temples, nuns and monks who display advanced patriotism and obedience to law.
“Let the broad masses of monks and nuns be even more conscious of patriotism, obedience to law, and the promotion of religious harmony….Guide them in the adaption of Tibetan Buddhism to socialist society,” Chen wrote in another editorial in a state-run daily. Bujum, director of the monastery management committee in Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa, said that almost all the monasteries in Tibet have been flying the national flag, and the national leaders’ portraits are visible in the clergies’ mrooms.
As per the local guideline in 2011, temples should be equipped with nine items, including four national leaders’ portraits, national flags, newspapers and televisions to promote the “sense of responsibility to national unity and social stability” among monks and nuns. According to analysts it is part of the nation’s efforts to maintain social stability by flying national flags and improving clergies’ livelihood, as the sense of sovereignty, represented by national flags, can be strengthened to combat separatism.
Demands to display Chinese flags have frequently sparked protests by Tibetans who complain of heavy-handed Chinese rule. Tibetan monks and nuns are among the most active opponents of Chinese rule in the region and face restrictions on their activities. Over 120 people, including several Buddhist monks committed self immolations in the last few years protesting the Chinese rule in Tibet and calling for return of the exiled Tibetan Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.