After arresting hundreds of Christians for attempting to worship in unapproved services, the Chinese have turned to Buddhists for a crackdown that has reportedly taken the lives of two Tibetans. Chinese forces raided the Kirti Monastery (shown left) after accusing monks of disrupting social order and . . . wait for it . . . defaming their religion. That’s right, the government that occupied Tibet, killed Tibetan monks, sent the Dalai Lama in hiding, and destroyed countless temples has accused these monks of defaming their own religion.
In our continued tracking of blasphemy prosecutions, this is a new twist — arresting monks for defaming their own religion by not doing what the state demands.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei explained (with a straight face) that “[i]nrecent days, a small number of monks in Kirti Monastery in Aba county, Sichuan have disrupted social order and disobeyed Tibetan Buddhist rules” including acts that “defamed the image of Tibetan Buddhism and harmed the feelings of Buddhist followers.” Well, if you can’t accept the Chinese government’s view of what is needed to protect the image of Tibetan Buddhism, I can hardly imagine whose view you would accept.
In this case, the Chinese government was faced with monks defaming Buddhism and had no choice but to arrest 300 monks and send them to “re-education.” Police also stopped to issue some re-education to laypeople gathered at the temple by beating them. One monk’s account stated that “[p]eople had their arms and legs broken, one old woman had her leg broken in three places, and cloth was stuffed in their mouths to stifle their screams.” All traditional Buddhist forms of observance, I hear.
Clearly these monks did not read this helpful sign in Tibet and other places reading “Police Attention: No distributing any unhealthy thoughts or objects.”