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Counter-espionage in the monastery

BEIJING (UCAN): China has started training Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns in counter-espionage in its latest effort to manage  religious personnel deemed to be a threat to Communist Party power.

Twenty-two monks and nuns were instructed on a vague anti-spying law passed a year ago during a three-hour session led by security officials at Lamaling Temple in Nyingchi.

“Nyingchi is of special importance to anti-espionage efforts because there are many military sites,” Penpa Lhamo, deputy head of the contemporary studies institute at the Tibet Academy of Sciences, told the nationalistic tabloid, Global Times.

The  Central Intelligence Agency started a secret programme in Tibet in the 1950s that included training guerillas to fight the Communists, but funding for the exiled Tibetan government under the Dalai Lama reportedly ended in 1974.

Beijing considers monks and nuns to be the main agitators for an independent Tibet.

In recent months it has stepped up its control and persecution of religious personnel in monasteries and nunneries.

Free Tibet reported that more than 100 nuns were expelled from their living quarters in Driru county during October, which were later demolished.

“Other nuns that were handed over to their families by officials in nearby townships have been forbidden from carrying out religious practices, including praying and wearing their robes,” the report continues.

All Buddhist monasteries in Tibet now contain a police post and, over the past year, televisions have been provided by the authorities, but they can only pick up state-approved channels.

Satellite systems that showed news and views from outside, including on the Dalai Lama, are reported to have been destroyed as a part of a campaign across the Himalayan region.

Images of the Tibetan spiritual leader have again been banned in recent years and instead the authorities are insisting that each monastery display pictures of party leaders and the national flag of China.


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