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Religion under fire: a report and policy paper on religious freedom in Tibet.

"You know, religion is very harmful to the development of a nation. First of all, it acts as a hindrance to material progress and secondly, it weakens the race. Your mind is somewhat like a scientist's, so you can understand what I mean. Religion is poison."--Chairman Mao to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama (2)


The Communist Party of China carries a notable legacy of animosity towards religious communities and practices. As such, the modern Chinese state has a notorious history of religious repression and of violating the basic right to religious freedom that is enshrined in international law and accord. Designated as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the Chinese government continues to severely violate its international obligations to protect these rights, and religious groups, organizations, and individuals continue to face serious discrimination and persecution. (3) While religious communities throughout China face persecution--including the Uigherys in Xinjiang, Protestant and Catholic Christians, the Falun Gong movement, and practicing individuals who do not belong to state-approved religious organizations--the destruction of the spiritual civilization and religious history of Tibet has been particularly stark.

The Chinese government has focused on controlling and undermining the Tibetan Buddhist tradition that is practiced by a majority of Tibetans. (4) Chinese authorities have engaged in efforts to replace the history and culture of Tibet with narratives and apparatuses that conform to the state-approved ideological, political, and economic objectives of the Chinese Communist Party. (5) As such, there has been a forced assimilation of Tibetans into the economic and social vision of the Communist Party of China. Since religion, particularly Tibetan Buddhism influenced by the indigenous Bon tradition, has been an integral aspect of Tibetan history and culture for centuries, it has been under particular threat since the Chinese occupation of Tibet, which began with the Seventeen Point Agreement of 1951. This report seeks to investigate the history of religious repression and current violations of religious freedom in Tibet. An initial analysis of the definition and parameters of religious freedom, as defined in contemporary international accord, as well as considering significant historical moments of religious repression in Tibet since the Chinese occupation, will shed light on the current situation in Tibet. Recommendations for addressing these violations will be offered in the closing section.

Definitions and Parameters of Religious Freedom

How exactly can religious freedom be defined? The complexity of the issue cannot be ignored. The freedom of religion usually encompasses three sub-rights: (1) the freedom to adopt, change, or renounce a religion or belief; (2) freedom from coercion; and (3) the right to manifest one's religion or belief. The legal authority and support of freedom of religion is found in international agreements, case law, United Nations resolutions and comments, and scholarly research. (6) The contours of religious freedom can be understood through the following frameworks and documents adopted by the international community:
   The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

   In 1948, the UDHR was ratified by the United Nations. (7) Article
   18 states, "[E]veryone has the right to freedom of though,
   conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his
   religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with
   others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief
   in teaching, practice, worship and observance." (8) The UDHR
   confirmed the right to freedom of though, conscience, and religion
   as a norm of the global community, irregardless of cultural or
   political dispositions.

   International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

   Ratified in 1966, the ICCPR echoes the commitments and declarations
   of the UDHR. Under Article 18 of the ICCPR, all states are to
   provide a minimum standard of religious freedom for all persons.
   The ICCPR further clarifies and expands the rights of freedom of
   religion, including the freedom to have or adopt any religion and
   the right to practice one's religion of choice through worship,
   observance, practice, and teaching. (9) The ICCPR also declares
   that freedom of religion is not absolute, and it can be limited by
   states if necessary to protect public safety, health, order,
   morals, or the rights of others. (10) Clarification of this
   limitation was offered in the General Comments on "The Right to
   Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion" of the UN Human Rights
   Committee, offering several criteria for the limitation of the
   freedom of religion, in which not even the justification of
   national security is not enough. Thus, a state cannot create a
   system of legal limitations that undermine the freedom of religion
   protected under international law. (11) China signed the ICCPR in
   1998, but has not ratified it. (12)

   The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of
   Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief

   Adopted in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly, the
   Declaration elaborates further on the rights subsumed under the
   freedom of religion, including the right to congregate and
   establish places of worship or assembly, write and disseminate
   religious publications or documents, establish humanitarian centers
   and initiatives, train and appoint religious leaders, and observe
   holidays or days of worship. (13) The Declaration declares that no
   state, institution, or individual can discriminate or harm on the
   basis of religion or belief. (14)

Other Documents

other international documents and UN declarations also offer provision for--and highlight the necessity of--the freedom of religion, including:

* UN Charter (1945)

* Genocide Convention (1948)

* Refugee Convention (1951)

* Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1963)

* International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1966)

* Apartheid Convention (1973)

* Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

* Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to Minorities (1992)

As can be seen, the basic right of freedom of religion is a nonnegotiable aspect of international accord. The concern is how this basic right is translated into and protected by the policies and activities of various state agents, including the People's Republic of China.

According to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, which was adopted on December 4, 1982, all Chinese citizens enjoy the same rights and protections prescribed by the Constitution. The Constitution confirms the state's commitment to human rights. (15) The Constitution also declares some measure of religious freedom, specifically in Article 36:
   No state organ, public organization or individual may compel
   citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may
   they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not
   believe in, any religion. The state protects normal religious
   activities. No one may make use of religion to engage in activities
   that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or
   interfere with the education system of the state. Religious bodies
   and religious affairs are not subject to any foreign domination. (16)

While religious freedom is guaranteed in theory by the Constitution in Article 36, such a guarantee is limited in reality. The vagueness of the boundaries of "normal religious activity" gives great discretion to government agencies to define and change the contours of religious freedom in China. Similarly, the guarantee is not to freedom of religion, but to freedom of religious belief, which is a fundamental right and duty of Chinese citizens alongside and equal to the duty of citizens to uphold the socialist values of the state. (17) Thus, religious freedom can easily be undermined in sacrifice for more compelling state interests.

Ultimately, such freedom is subservient to state loyalty, as offered in Article 55:
   The exercise by citizens of the People's Republic of China of their
   freedoms and rights may not infringe upon the interests of the
   state, of society and of the collective, or upon the lawful
   freedoms and rights of other citizens. (18)

Religious freedom may be protected, but only to the extent that it does not conflict with the interests of the state government. While religious belief is not an obligation of citizens, the Constitution does oblige citizens to follow the policies of the state--particularly in upholding the Four Cardinal Principles (19) --this promoting the submission of the individual and the citizen's faith to the policies of the state. (20) There is no constitutional and legal protection for individuals to manifest their religious beliefs without state interference. (21) This situation has created a climate of religious repression in China, particularly in Tibet, that is in violation of the norms and basic rights enshrined in international accord.

History of Religious Repression in Tibet

Over the past several thousand years, Tibet had developed its own unique culture and identity. The Tibetan people built a culture characterized by a unique written and spoken language and self-sustaining fields of knowledge, including astrology and dating systems, medicine, agriculture, literature, art and architecture, and spirituality. (22) In conversation with other Himalayan civilizations and others, including Mongolia and India, Tibet became distinguished as a significant cultural force in Asia. Tibetan civilization came to be defined by a unique confluence of Buddhism, adopted in the seventh century, and indigenous traditions. The role of Tibetan Buddhism and its rising influence over the centuries shaped Tibet's historical development. The importance of religion and religious communities, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, cannot be ignored. As a result of the Chinese rule over several decades, the Tibetan civilization--particularly its religious heritage --has suffered greatly.

Religious repression has been a key aspect of China's ideological expansion in Tibet. Chinese authorities knew that religion was central to the daily lives of Tibetans, and that its policies would never succeed without destroying the spiritual core of Tibetan culture. (23) Tibetan Buddhism has often been interpreted by Chinese authorities as a source of Tibetan nationalism, an expression of "splittism" that must be contained and destroyed at all costs. As a result, the Chinese government has sought to control religion, including Tibetan Buddhism, by defining its content, concepts, and limitations by protecting the "normal religious activity" interpreted by authorities through the wording of the Constitution. Religious repression in Tibet has been acknowledged internationally, and national governments have noted the need for action to address the severe situation in Tibet, including the United States Congress (24), the Australian Parliament (25), and the French Senate (26). The systematic destruction of Tibet's religious heritage can be highlighted through several key events and phases of Chinese policy since the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959.

The Cultural Revolution: 1960s-1970s

During the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, Tibetan culture suffered massive destruction. The People's Liberation Army razed many of Tibet's monasteries and nunneries, severely crippling Tibet's educational and social systems. The indiscriminate killing and imprisonment of clergy reduced Tibet's monastic population by 93 percent. (27) Over 6,000 monasteries were destroyed more than 90 percent of the monasteries in Tibet. (28) By 1978, only eight monasteries were left standing, and 970 monks and nuns remained in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR). By 1979, only 13 monasteries remained in Tibet. (29) The systematic destruction of Tibet's religious culture was severe.

The destruction was fueled by the new ideological campaign in China, which focused on eliminating the "Four Olds"--old ideas, old customs, old culture and old habits--from the new socialist nation. Tibetan Buddhism was interpreted as a superstitious detriment to the development of a new, unified and socialist China, and thus an intricate campaign was launched by Chinese authorities. Religious festivals were banned, places of worship were looted and vandalized if not destroyed, devotional spaces once dedicated to religious deities and spiritual teachers were replaced with pictures of Mao, and many influential monastic and secular leaders had been killed, exiled, or imprisoned. (30) The Cultural Revolution marked a troublesome phase of religious repression and cultural destruction in Tibet.

Liberalization: 1980s

Beginning in 1978 under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping and progressing for several years, Beijing initiated a political liberalization and economic reform program across the country, including Tibet. Deng advocated for a gradualist approach to bringing Tibet into China, and to this end even engaged in talks with Gyalo Thondup and allowed a Central Tibetan Administration fact-finding mission into Tibet in 1979. (31) Some Chinese authorities, particularly Hu Yaobang on a tour of Tibet in 1980, discovered the dismal conditions of the regions, and called for increased Tibetan autonomy, which even included considerations of inviting the Dalai Lama to return from exile. (32) During this time, there was a partial revival of spiritual and cultural traditions. Monasteries and nunneries were rebuilt, and there was a period of religious expansion. (33) However, progress would not last for long. According to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables during the period, while progress was made, religious liberalization remained a slow and cautious process due to Chinese concerns about destabilization in Tibet. The new Chinese policies in Tibet and the efforts to engage the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) did not produce long-lasting improvements in the lives of Tibetans. The reforms did not succeed in healing the social, economic, and cultural splits in Tibet. (34) The economic reforms in Tibet only fueled Chinese immigration into Tibet, reinforcing the increasing isolation and poverty of Tibetans within Tibet, a process that continues today.

In 1987, a series of demonstrations calling for human rights resulted in security crackdowns in Lhasa and across Tibet. Beijing abandoned its policies of liberalization and reverted once more to more repressive policies in Tibet. (35) In 1994, Chinese authorities shifted their religious policy from one of moderation to active suppression, restricting religious practice to limits acceptable to the Communist Party of China (CPC). (36) From the end of period of liberalization through the end of the twentieth century, Tibet faced increasing cultural and religious repression.

The Missing 11th Panchen Lama

The death of the 10th Panchen Lama in 1989 set the stage for a great conflict between Chinese authorities, wishing to secure their ideological hold over Tibet, and Tibetan religious authorities wishing to preserve and maintain the religious history and lineages of Tibet. In 1995, the Dalai Lama recognized a five-year old Tibetan boy, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. Since the seventeenth century, the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama have shared a close institutional relationship, providing selection, teaching, and mentorship to each other's successive reincarnation. The Chinese government declared the decision invalid, citing that the reincarnation process has been historically led and approved by Chinese authority. Only a few days after the Dalai Lama's announcement, Chinese authorities took the 11th Panchen Lama and his family to an undisclosed and yet unknown location. Despite attempts and petitions from the international community to confirm the 11th Panchen Lama's wellbeing, his whereabouts remain unconfirmed. This situation remains one of the highest-profile cases of enforced disappearance in the world. (37)

Chinese authorities instead installed the young boy Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama in 1995. Raised and educated in Beijing, Gyaltesen Norbu, also popularly known as the "Gya Panchen (English: Chinese Panchen), often speaks of the benefits of socialism and the leadership of the CPC. (38) His visits to Tibet are often heavily-policed and coordinated. This move by Chinese authorities was critical, as the Panchen Lama traditionally recognizes the succeeding reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. Through controlling the seat of the Panchen Lama, Chinese authorities have attempted to place themselves in the position to decide future reincarnations of the Dalai Lama, thus extending greater control over Tibetan Buddhist religious authority and development.

This case reveals China's regular denial of the right of Tibetan Buddhists to select and maintain their own religious authorities. This issue still exists today, embodied in the monastic regulations and restrictions that govern the lives of most monastic communities in Tibet. This case further reveals the regular denial of the right to religious education for Tibetan Buddhists, for the 11th Panchen Lama, as a revered leader in Tibetan Buddhism, is supposed to maintain religious education from an early age. While the Chinese government claims that Gendun Cheokyi Nyima is alive and well, they continue to deny frequent international requests for access to the disappeared boy, now a young man. (39) The case of the missing 11th Panchen Lama remains a cause of great grief and concern for most Tibetans in Tibet and in exile.

The "Strike Hard" Campaigns

The decades after the brief period of liberalization in Tibet brought waves of further religious restriction in Tibet, beginning with the "Strike Hard" campaigns. First launched in 1983, these campaigns were originally framed as temporary responses to rising crime rates and social conflict, targeting violent crime, gun and gang crime, human trafficking, gambling, and a host of other problems across China. (40) In 1994, growing hostility to religious activity in Tibet was expressed at the Third National Forum on Work in Tibet. Here, new restrictions on religious activities and monastic life were introduced, focusing on curtailing the Dalai Lama's religious and political influence and introducing the "patriotic education campaigns" in Tibet. (41) In 1996, patriotic education programming became a stark reality for many religious communities as the "Strike Hard" campaigns, allegedly aimed at cracking down on resistance in the TAR, were introduced in full force in Tibet. A major target of the campaigns was religion, and while all many Tibetans suffered from these campaigns, monks and nuns bore the brunt of the new policies and restrictions. (42)

Launched as a five-year program but expanding until the present day, the education campaigns were commonly referred to as 'Love your Country, Love your Religion," and were designed to fulfill to objectives of the Chinese government--inculcate love for communism and the Motherland above religion, and promote the denouncement of the Dalai Lama and the "Dalai Clique," the name used for the CTA and the exile Tibetan community. Originally reserved for monastic institutions, these programs spread to lay communities deemed to promote or protect "separatist" ideas. (43) "Patriotic education" was and still is carried out by regularly visiting "work teams" comprised of Chinese and trust Tibetan officials. Visit length, frequency, and the size of the teams vary, depending on the monastic community. During these visits, "legal education" sessions replace regular schedules, and freedom of movement and worship is severely restricted during this time. These sessions have a traumatizing effect on the monastic community, instilling paranoia, distrust for peers and mentors, and fear of arrest or expulsion. Patriotic education is designed to break the spiritual practitioner, and there are many accounts of the psychological, emotional, and spiritual abuse that takes place during these sessions. (44) The patriotic education program sought to further destroy and weaken the connection between the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people, and often forced monks and nuns to condemn and denounce the spiritual leader, a grave tool of religious oppression.

In addition to the long-term trauma of the patriotic education program, the Strike hard campaign saw further direct attacks against religious communities in Tibet. In 1996, 492 monks and nuns were arrested and 9,997 were expelled from religious institutions. (45) The Anti-Dalai Lama campaign was expanded and intensified, and new restrictions and regulations on religious life in Tibet hindered the continuity and growth of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet. The Strike Hard campaign was formally renewed a third time in 2001 and a fourth time in 2010, with the continuation of systematic abuse of religious freedom growing ramifications for religious life in Tibet.

Uprising and Crackdown: 2000 and 2008

In 2000, further crackdowns on religious practices occurred in Lhasa. Thangkas, pictures of religious leaders, and private alters were banned in private homes, and schoolchildren were not allowed to visit monasteries or wear popular Buddhist protection cords to school. Far from being a new or radical encroachment into the religious lives of Tibetans, these crackdowns solidified the reality of China's deep paranoia about the role of Tibetan Buddhism in the formulation of Tibetan identity and struggles for autonomy or independence. (46) The 2000 crackdowns came at a time when China was praised for supposedly developing its internal legal structure and promoting the "rule of law," (47) thus revealing the particularly unique situation of repression in Tibet. Increasing resistance to Chinese oppression in Tibet, embodied in the 2006 mass burnings of animal skins, connected to a 2006 Kalachakra teaching of the Dalai Lama and in defiance of Chinese authority, and mass burning of incense in 2007 to celebrate the long life of the Dalai Lama in direct opposition to Chinese wishes and commands, set the stage for further direct conflict. In 2008, with the Olympic Games set to be held in Beijing, a massive uprising and brutal crackdown occurred, defining the Tibetan crisis in the first decade of the new millennium.

On March 10, 2008, the 49th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising, nearly 300 monks from Drepung Monastery initiated a protest march to the center of Lhasa. They were blocked by security forces and, after a standoff, dozens of monks were arrested and the others were forced to return to the monastery. (48) On the same day, monks from Sera monastery along with lay people staged a demonstration outside of Lhasa's Jokhang Temple. Protestors were beaten and arrested, and hundreds of Sera monks attempted a marched to demand their release the following day, but were blocked by Chinese security forces. (49) In the following days, the Chinese authorities cracked down and sought to snuff out resistance. They blocked off the Sera, Drepung, and Ganden monasteries, conducted highly invasive home searches and checkpoints. Confrontations between monks and nuns, local Tibetan and Chinese populations, and security forces continued to erupt over the next few days, spilling outside of the TAR into historical Kham and Amdo. Monasteries and nunneries across the region participated in protests and suffered blockades and response in force. At the Tongkor Monastery in Kardze Prefecture, a nonviolent protest was fired upon by Chinese forces, killing 14 and injuring 83 others. 4000 soldiers and 100 armed vehicles surrounded Tongkor Monastery in coming days. (50) Protesting nuns from the nearby Ngang-khong nunnery suffered arrest and wounds from launched tear gas canisters. (51) By several eyewitness accounts, security forces opened fire on unarmed demonstrators across the region, killing dozens. (52) The uprising ended after several days, when a massive security and military presence controlled Lhasa and other areas.

The suppression of peaceful Tibetan Buddhist religious activity played a significant role in instigating the March 2008 demonstrations in the TAR and elsewhere. (53) In addition to demands to address social and economic inequality in Tibet, The call for religious freedom was a significant aspect of the protests. While these demonstrations were recognized by the international community as largely, though not exclusively, nonviolent (54), Chinese authorities responded with brutal and fatal force. Despite the call for religious freedom, the opposition of religious communities was crushed, and dozens of monks, nuns, and lay people were arrested. (55) Many of the monks and nuns that were arrested during the uprising remain imprisoned today. The imprisonment of monks and nuns continued after the uprisings, and at least 240 Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns are currently imprisoned in China. (56) Of the 824 Tibetans that that make up the political prisoners in China, it is recorded that, as of September 2010, approximately 58% are Tibetan Buddhist religious professionals. (57)

The results of the uprising included increased control on religious life in Tibet. The Anti-Dalai Lama campaign was reinvigorated, and there was an increased effort of monastic control and political education programs. (58) Since the 2008 protests, there has been an increased imperative to control Tibetan Buddhism, as these communities contributed greatly to the momentum of the 2008 uprising. The Chinese response to the 2008 uprising set the stage for the current situation of religious repression in Tibet.

The Current Situation: Violations of Religious Freedom in Tibet

Religious repression and denial of religious freedom in Tibet remains severe, which is worse now than at any other time over the past decade, as confirmed by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). (59) The USCIRF has confirmed increasing government control of religion and widespread resentment of this control:
   Since 2008 protests in Tibetan areas, the government's control of
   the doctrines, worship sites, and selection of religious leaders of
   Tibetan Buddhism, and its arrests and detentions of individuals who
   oppose government policy or support the Dalai Lama, have nurtured
   deep resentments among Tibetans. (60)

The infrastructure and depth of government control of religion is broad and deep, supported by China's legal and ideological structures. Through the engagement of various agents and departments, the enforcement of highly repressive legal dictates, and increasing security and surveillance measures against religious communities in Tibet, the governmental control of religion and religious activity in Tibet has led to severe violations of religious freedom, with many Tibetans resisting and suffering in a variety of ways to this day. In this section, the various agents and departments, alongside current Chinese legal mandates and structures, will be analyzed to foreground and thus highlight contemporary violations of religious freedom in Tibet.

Government Control of Religion in Tibet: Departments and Agencies

The legal limitations and unclear guarantees of the Chinese constitution establishes an open and clear path for governmental control of religion. The vagueness of the restriction of religious practice to "normal religious activity" confers a great deal of discretion upon the various agencies that have been created by the government. Several government departments and agencies have been developed during Chinese rule in Tibet, and these actors have exerted a great deal of influence in shaping the trajectory of religious regulation and repression in Tibet:
   The United Work Front Department (UWFD): Under the direct command
   of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the UFWD
   maintains relationships with non-Communist Party groups, ensuring
   ideological harmony. The UFWD is the most direct link between
   minority communities and Communist Party Leadership. The UFWD,
   along with many of the other departments regulating religious
   activity, is segmented into increasingly local levels of
   activity--prefectural, municipal, county, and village departments.

   State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA)/Religious Affairs
   Bureau (RAB): Created in 1998, SARA's task is to ensure "normal
   religious behavior" by religious citizens in all of China. (62)
   SARA is known as the RAB at local levels of operation. SARA makes
   most religious management policies at the national level. SARA
   exerts control over religious appointments and the selection of
   religious leaders and the interpretation of religious tenets. SARA
   is also tasked with ensuring that religious communities in China
   support and carry out the ideology and policy priorities of the
   Communist Party.

   Buddhist Association of China (BAC): The five officially recognized
   and sanctioned religious communities in China (63) are controlled
   by official associations. The BAC, alongside the others, has been
   set up across the country to ensure "normal religious activity."
   Under the direct leadership of the CPC, the BAC is a patriotic
   religious organization which serves as a link between the
   government and approved Buddhist communities and practitioners in
   China. The BAC works closely with SARA in developing religious

   Democratic Management Committees (DMCs): The DMCs are arguably the
   most influential on-the-ground agents for implementing the
   infrastructure of governmental religious control in Tibet. DMCs
   consist of elected religious representative and citizens of local
   village committees. The members are required to comply with State
   ideological and political goals. The DMCs are charged with a
   variety of tasks, including administering and educating monastery
   and temple staff, organizing State ideological education,
   maintaining finances, and maintenance. (64) At the local level,
   branches of the UWFD, RAB, and the BAC coordinate the
   implementation of policies with the DMC. These policies are
   instituted throughout the nunneries and monasteries across Tibet.
   The DMCs are also responsible for patriotic education programs and
   work closely with local work teams installed at religious
   institutions. (65)

While these organizations exert primary control over religious affairs in China and Tibet, a total of twenty-four government organs--including the offices of public security, foreign affairs, and justice--influence the local control of religious practice in some way. (66) The situation on-the-ground of this network of intertwined organizations and agencies reveals a strong central control of religious practice as well as a heavy bureaucratic web that makes advocacy nearly impossible. Various layers of management, surveillance, and control limit the flourishing and freedom of religious communities across China and Tibet. These organizations, in tandem with the policies created, have created a dire situation of religious repression in Tibet.

Official Regulations Limiting Religious Freedom

In Tibet, each province, municipality, and monastery has a unique set of rules of religious and communal regulation. Thus, there are measures of official legal control of religious communities on all levels of management, from national to monastic community. In August 2011, more than two years after the 2008 demonstrations, new measures to subordinate internal Tibetan Buddhist affairs to central government regulation, particularly over monasteries that had resisted, spread across Tibetan regions. (67) Several legal mandates and orders have been influential in consolidating religious repression in Tibet over the past several decades:
   The Basic Viewpoint and Policy on the Religious Question (Document
   No. 19): issued by Beijing in 1982, this document authoritatively
   and comprehensively stated the permissible scope of religious
   freedom in China. The document declared religious tolerance to be a
   step in the path of ultimate eradication of religion. (68)

   Work Plans of the Regional Party and the Regional People's
   Government for Resolutely Striking Splittists and Other Serious
   Criminals Through Screening and Investigation (Document No. 13):
   Issued in 1989, this document includes sections that focus on the
   need to "reorganize and strengthen the management of monasteries"
   and to increase propaganda education in monasteries. (69)

   A Golden Bridge Leading to a New Era: published in 1994, this
   document ordered a halt to further expansions of Buddhist
   institutions in Tibet and strengthened opposition to the "Dalai
   Clique." (70)

   The National Regulations on Religious Affairs (NRRA): The NRRA were
   issued in 2005 and expanded in 2007 as the Religious Affairs
   Regulations. Enacted to establish greater control over religious
   practice and to protect "normal religious activity" through
   extensive administrative regulations, the NRRA governs China's
   religion policy. The NRRA established the government-approved
   religious associations and allowed government control for all
   aspects of religious activity. (71) The NRRA also contain national
   security provisions that can be used to justify crackdowns on a
   range of activity, including religious observance, perceived as
   threatening to State stability.

   The Management Measures for the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in
   Tibetan Buddhism (OrderNo. 5): Issued by SARA in 2007, this order
   implemented a legal structure designed to ensure future Tibetan
   Buddhist leadership falls in line with Party policy by controlling
   the reincarnation approval process. The order requires all Tibetan
   lamas wishing to reincarnate to obtain prior government approval
   through the submission of a formal application. (72) All
   reincarnations that are not government-approved are deemed invalid
   and illegitimate. The order regulates whether an individual who
   dies is allowed to reincarnate, whether a monastery is allowed to
   have such an individual in residence, and the recognition of the
   reincarnation. The government also has control over formal search
   processes and installation ceremonies. Such control is a clear
   violation of the rights of Tibetan Buddhists to choose their own
   religious leaders and clergy.

   Religious Affairs Regulations (RAF): Passed by SARA in 2006 and
   implemented in the TAR in 2007, the RAF were enacted to enhance the
   breadth and depth of the NRAA regulations. The RAF effectively
   placed an obligation on governmental officials to lead religious
   followers and organizations in ideological and patriotic formation.
   (73) The RAF further instituted legal and governmental control over
   religious practice across China and Tibet.

   Management Measures for Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries (Order No. 8):
   Implemented by SARA in 2010, the stated purpose of the order is to
   ensure the normal functioning of Tibetan Buddhist temple
   management. (74) The order requires the approval of large-scale
   religious activities to be granted and managed by government
   agencies, ultimately designed to ensure that monks and nuns do not
   breed social disorder. (75) The order also directly establishes the
   elected DMCs at monasteries. order No. 8 was adjusted to enforce a
   stricter policy of monastery management. Known as the "Complete
   Long-Term Management Mechanism for Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries,"
   the policy puts monasteries under direct control of Communist Party
   cadres and officials. Known as Monastery Management Committees
   (MMC), these unelected groups of Chinese authorities directly
   replaced the elected DMCs. As of November 2011, more than 21,000
   MMC cadres were spread out over 5,451 villages in the TAR. (76)
   This order further enforced the networks of surveillance and
   ideological control that have been developed in Tibetan Buddhist
   communities over the past few decades.

These regulations create legal and governmental networks of regulation and surveillance that directly curtail religious freedom to Tibet and lead to a culture of severe religious repression.

Tibet Today: Religious Freedom Under Attack

While the history of religious repression in Tibet is start, the violations of religious freedom continue today. Since the 2008 demonstrations, Chinese authorities have continued a campaign of controlling religion in the service of wanton ideological, economic, and political expansion. The governmental control and regulation of religious practice is in direct and severe violation of the international standard of law. These violations manifest themselves in a variety of ways, as outlined below.

Religious Leadership in Jeopardy

Chinese authorities continue to prevent religious communities in Tibet from selecting, educating, and following spiritual leaders without interference. As indicated by governmental interference in the installation of the Panchen Lama and the strict imposition of Order No. 5, the control of Tibetan Buddhist religious authority continues to be a priority for the Communist Party of China. Many important religious leaders, such as the Karmapa, the Dalai Lama, and Arjil Rinpoche, have been forced into exile, creating a vacuum of religious leadership in Tibet that China seeks to fill. Religious leaders are barred from taking leadership roles if they do not comply with and endorse official State policy and ideology. With the spiritual leaders of the five major schools in exile (77) and with increased restriction on the movement of lamas and spiritual authorities across Tibet following the 2008 demonstrations, qualified spiritual teachers are unavailable to large swathes of the Tibetan population. This is creating a poverty of proper religious education and guidance across Tibet.

The campaign against the Dalai Lama, the CTA and the Tibetan exile community continues to be waged by Chinese authorities. The influence of the Dalai Lama as a religious leader in Tibet is still strong, despite decades of propaganda and torture of Tibetans who refuse to denounce him. There is an increased effort to undermine the Dalai Lama's spiritual authority in Tibet, and Chinese authorities have even co-opted Tibetan Buddhist lamas to campaign against the Dalai Lama. (78) Patriotic education programs still require the denouncement and slander of the Dalai Lama, creating severe emotional and psychological tension for those who hold him as a spiritual leader. Thus, the lack of proper channels of religious authority and guidance in Tibet, along with the continued attacks against Tibetan Buddhist leaders in exile, signals the crisis of proper religious leadership in Tibet.

Strict Control of Monastic Institutions

Monastic institutions continue to suffer from strict control and state surveillance. Historically, monasteries served as the center of cultural, political, and social life for Tibetans for centuries, and these institutions played a central role in developing, unifying, and disseminating Tibetan civilization. (79) Key documents and orders from the Third Work Forum reveal CPC concerns over the link between monastic communities and political activism, or "separatism." (80) Increased control over monastic constitutions Key restrictions on monastic affairs began in the 90s. Dozens of regulations were imposed, including: required entrance examinations for prospective monks and nuns, imposed limits on monastic admittance, required state permits for entry and stay at monasteries and nunneries, educational age restrictions, severe travel restrictions for monks and nuns, and limits on reconstruction and renovation projects. (81) There is also continued police presence at or near monastic compounds, surveillance measures, and continued patriotic education programs and MMC presence. The overwhelming regulation of monastic institutions severely limits the freedom to worship without interference.

Additionally, there is a continued threat to Tibetan culture through the theft and plundering of Tibetan religious and cultural antiquities. (82) The artifacts are often found being auctioned off to appease a growing global demand for Tibetan antiquities. Such disappearances directly threaten the survival of Tibetan civilization.

Religious Education Limited, Denied, and Controlled

The freedom of religious education in Tibet faces constant violation in Tibet today. Whereas monasteries once served as traditional seats of spiritual and secular education, severe restrictions have virtually destroyed this once-thriving educational system. The restrictions placed on monastic educational institutions and religious formation have created a severe situation for Tibetans seeking proper spiritual formation. The educational options for Tibetan children have been severely damaged due to the forcible closure of monastic schools and new age restrictions on monastery entrance. While monastic education usually began at a very early age, current regulations restrict legal monastic education until the age of 18. (83) The Tibetan secular education system actually works to directly denounce Tibetan Buddhist teachings, practice, and leadership. Chinese campaigns in Tibetan schools aim at undermining loyalty to the Dalai Lama through the promotion of atheism and by inculcating loyalty to State ideology. (84) Thus, religious education is denied to children in monastic settings and denounced in secular institutions.

Similarly, the Geshe degree, signifying a high degree of academic and philosophical aptitude and authority in the Gelugpa school and maintained by monastic communities for centuries, has been under the strict control of Chinese authorities. Beijing has taken strong measures to block this qualification among Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders, which is critical for the continuation of Tibetan Buddhist religious scholarship. (85) The exams, and thus degree conferral, were outlawed for twenty years in Tibet and were revived in a heavily politicized form in 2006. (86) While reinstituted, the poor quality of instruction and transmission in Tibet means that the degrees are extremely difficult to obtain or lack legitimacy. The control of the exam is no longer in the hands of respected and knowledgeable lamas, but in the hands of the employees of the BAC. Additionally, Geshes are often selected based on political merit rather than religious aptitude, signifying the deep corruption of this process. (87)

While a wide array of religious teachings are offered and distributed across China and Tibet without restriction or punishment, the free creation and distribution of religious literature is curtailed in China. The Chinese government continues to restrict the free dissemination of religious ideas on the Internet, and many websites of religious groups are blocked. Authorities confiscate unapproved religious texts and interpretations and punish their distribution. (88) The culture of censorship contributes to the program of religious repression in Tibet and limits proper religious development.

Despite the severe limitations, monks, nuns, and those seeking religious formation attempt to pursue these options. Monks and nuns need to travel to distant monasteries to further their education, and this has become increasingly difficult with current travel restrictions and regulations. The lack of access to formal monastic formation has forced individuals to seek out chogars, monastic encampments in eastern Tibet. Chogars first appeared in the 14th century in Tibet, but have been at the forefront of maintaining Buddhist scholarship in recent years. These institutions provide the space and resources for study and practice that is difficult to pursue in controlled monastic institutions. While these encampments often avoid the attention of authorities, they have been demolished in the past, and chogars today face constant threat of demolition and restriction.

Patriotic Education Programs and Imprisonment

Patriotic education campaigns and the regular imprisonment and torture of Tibetan religious communities continue across Tibet. Patriotic education campaigns, expanded since 1996, continue to force monastic communities to denounce the Dalai Lama and undergo severe ideological training. (89) Recently deemed "legal education" under the energy of the "Love your Country, Love your Religion" campaign and strengthened after the Third Battle Campaign in 2011, these efforts seek to control the ideology of Tibetan Buddhist religious communities. Active work teams are still a common presence at monastic communities across Tibet. These ideological education campaigns are emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually degrading. Those who do not comply with the education are often forced to leave their monastic communities. Despite these disturbing effects, the campaigns continue. 30,000 of Tibet's 46,000 monks and nuns have received patriotic or legal education in some form, and of the 1787 monastic communities, 1780 of them have been covered by work teams. (90)

Since 2008, the Chinese prisoner population has been comprised of a sizeable number of Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns. The Congressional Executive Commission on China's Political Prisoner Database contains records of 824 Tibetan political or religious prisoners believed to be currently detained or imprisoned. Four-hundred seventy-nine of these 824 are Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns. (91) While torture and intimidation are frequent occurrences in Chinese prisons, the lack of religious support for all prisoners also poses a challenge to monks and nuns in prison. There is no right to religious freedom or accommodation in Chinese prisons, a severe problem for the large population of monks and nuns in Chinese prisons. (92)

Suppression of Religious Festivals and Ceremonies

The celebration of religious festivals and ceremonies are often restricted and barred in Tibet. Tibetans are often restricted from important religious sites and celebrating days of religious significance. (93) Key festivals such as SakaDawa, the month commemorating the Dalai Lama's birthday, GandenNgamchoe, commemorating the death of the Tibetan Buddhist master Je Tsongkhapa, and the birthday of the 11th Panchen Lama are banned. People are often forced to remain in their homes or risk police attention, arrest, and the threat of fatal force. (94) Tibetans have protested against these measures, and 2011 major protests erupted in the Kardze prefecture. Protestors were met with heavy security presence and intimidation. (95) Such holidays are construed by Chinese authorities as support for separatist activities, and such receive high condemnation.

other religiously significant festivals face high surveillance and control. Permits are required for all large-scale religious activities in Tibet. Recently, there has been increased suppression during Losar activities and Monlam celebrations. During the Losar and Monlam celebrations of 2012 and 2013, there was heightened security presence during the gatherings. Such systematic and aggressive responses are often seen as a response to the series of self-immolations across Tibet. (96) Similarly, permission to attend international religious events and to partake in pilgrimages inside and outside of Tibet is severely restricted. Pilgrimages to India and parts of Tibet, such as Bodh Gaya in India and Mt. Kailash in Tibet, are severely inhibited. (97) Such restrictions on religious celebration and pilgrimage are a direct violation of international accord and continue in Tibet today.


The self-immolations of Tibetans inside Tibet reveal the dire situation of human rights and religious freedom violations in Tibet. While the first official Tibetan self-immolation was recorded in 1998 in India, the recent string of Tibetan self-immolations occurred after the crackdown of the 2008 demonstrations. Since 2009, there have been a total of 117 self-immolations in Tibet, (98) with monks, nuns, and lay Tibetans participating in self-immolation as protest. (99) Despite Chinese efforts to prevent news and updates of these immolations from reaching outside its borders, the self-immolations have drawn international media and governmental attention and highlight China's repressive policies in Tibet. (100) The self-immolations signify China's massive policy failure inside Tibet, revealing that the constant demonization of the Dalai Lama, the systemization of social and religious control, and the psychological trauma and fear has taken its toll on many Tibetans. (101) Many self-immolators have called for the return of the Dalai Lama, the freedom of Tibet, and religious freedom in Tibet, drawing a direct relationship between religious repression and self-immolation in Tibet. (102)

The heightened security presence across Tibet and at important events is indicative of China's systematic and aggressive response to Tibetan self-immolations. Chinese authorities respond harshly to the self-immolations the criminalization of self-immolation has taken effect, and retributive actions are often committed against the families or monastic communities of self-immolators. (103) Chinese authorities also bar and criminalize religious rituals held for the self-immolators. (104) Such responses ignore the root causes of self-immolations and the authentic aspirations of the Tibetan people. Self-immolations continue, highlighting the dire situation for Tibetans and the severe violations of Tibetan human and religious rights.


The history and trend of religious repression in Tibet has not disappeared and is a continuing reality in Tibet today. Tibetans across Tibet are continually denied their basic right of freedom of religion, a direct violation of international accord and standard law. The continual violation of international accord by Chinese authorities demands a serious policy review in China, including a renewed commitment to dialogue on Tibet's relationship with China and Tibetan human rights. The Central Tibetan Administration recognizes the dire situation of Tibetans and calls for Chinese recognition of the basic rights of Tibetans, including the right to freedom of religion and worship without interference. Below is a list of recommendations that seek to address the violations of religious freedom in Tibet.


To the Tibetan exile community

* Continue to advocate for CTA policy that sincerely addresses current issues in Tibet.

* Stand in solidarity with other religious groups facing religious repression in China, including Uigher Muslims, Protestant and Catholic Christians, the Falun Gong movement, and unrecognized religious communities across the country.

* Continue promoting the religious culture of Tibet through traditional and alternative mediums, such as education programs, dialogue efforts, and social media activity.

To the Government of the People's Republic of China

* Engage in direct dialogue with the CTA regarding the status of Tibet and the human rights--including the right of religious freedom--of Tibetans.

* Enforce stricter Constitutional standards for the protection of religious freedom in Tibet.

* Conduct an independent assessment of existing policies and regulations that negatively affect Tibetan society and culture, in addition to economic and environmental policy, and repeal laws, regulations, and provisions that violate the right to freedom of religion.

* Enforce international standards of religious freedom in Tibet.

* Ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and ensure that its protections, including the right to profess and practice religion freely, are extended to all Tibetans.

* Release Tibetan prisoners imprisoned based on their religious beliefs and offer religious accommodation to Chinese prisoners seeking religious and spiritual guidance.

* Withdraw police and security forces from all monasteries and nunneries, suspend legal education campaigns, and engage in direct dialogue with religious leaders in Tibet.

* Suspend the propaganda campaign against the Dalai Lama, the CTA, and the Tibetan exile community.

* Release information regarding the whereabouts and status of Gedun Choekyi Nyima.

* End the official policy of State control of the reincarnation process.

To the United Nations

* Encourage the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to reflect the situation of religious freedom in Tibet in reports on China to the UN Human Rights Council.

* Encourage the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief to work with other mandates of the UN Human Rights Council to gain access to the Panchen Lama.

* Conduct an in-country visit of China, focusing on the Tibetan areas of the country, and publish a report on the findings.

To the International Community

* Demonstrate support those peacefully seeking religious freedom and the rule of law in China.

* Encourage the government of the People's Republic of China to recognize the right of religious freedom for all citizens.

* Governmental, business, educational, and cultural partners of China should advocate for greater freedom in Tibet and encourage renewed and sincere dialogue efforts between China and the CTA.

* Continue to provide asylum for Tibetan victims of human rights violations.

Appendix 1

Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations

BAC Buddhist Association of China

CPC Communist Party of China

CTA Central Tibetan Administration

Declaration The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All

Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief

Document No. 13 Work Plans of the Regional Party and the Regional People s Government for Resolutely Striking splittists and Other Serious Criminals Through Screening and Investigation

Document No. 19 The Basic Viewpoint and Policy on the Religious Question

DMCs Democratic Management Committees

ICCPR International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

MMC Monastery Management Committees

NRRA The National Regulations on Religious Affairs

Order No. 5 The Management Measures for the Reincarnation of

Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism

Order No. 8 Management Measures for Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries

RAB Religious Affairs Bureau

RAF Religious Affairs Regulations

SARA State Administration for Religious Affairs

TAR Tibet Autonomous Region

UDHR United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

USCIRF United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

UWFD United Work Front Department


(1.) This report was initially written in April 2013 as a policy paper for the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration.

(2.) Tibet Watch, "No Faith in the State: Tibetans speak about religious restrictions," (Tibet Watch: London, 2007), 9.

(3.) United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, USCIRF Annual Report 2012,

(4.) International Campaign for Tibet, "60 Years of Chinese Misrule: Arguing Cultural Genocide in Tibet," (ICT: Washington), 4.

(5.) Ibid., 129.

(6.) Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, "Religious Repression in Tibet: Special Report 2012," (TCHRD: Dharamsala, 2012), 72.

(7.) Ibid., 9.

(8.) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, G.A. Res. 217A (III), U.N. Doc. A/ 810 para. 18 (1948).

(9.) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 18, (1966).

(10.) ICCPR, Article 18.

(11.) Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, "Human Rights Situation in Tibet: Annual Report 2011," (TCHRD: Dharamsala, 2012), 49.

(12.) No Faith in the State, 13.

(13.) United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Descrimination Based on Religion or Belief G.A. res. 36/55, 36 U.N. GAOR Supp (No. 51) at 171, U.N. Doc A/36/684 (1981).

(14.) Ibid, art. 2(2).

(15.) Religious Repression, 13.

(16.) Constitution of the People's Republic of China, art. 36, ZhonghuaRenminGongheguoXianfa, 1982.

(17.) No Faith in the State, 14.

(18.) Xianfa, art. 55, 1982.

(19.) The Four Cardinal Principles: uphold the socialist path, the dictatorship of the proletariat, leadership of the CPC and Mao Zedong Thought.

(20.) No Faith in the State, 15.

(21.) USCIRF 2012, 137.

(22.) Chinese Misrule, 23.

(23.) Human Rights Law Network, "Imposing Modernity with Chinese Characteristics: The Fate of Tibetan Civilisation," (TCHRD: Dharamsala, 2011), 269.

(24.) Congressional Research Service, "CRS Report for Congress-Tibet: Problems, Prospects, and U.S. Policy," (CRS: Washington, 2008), 2.

(25.) Central Tibetan Administration, Tibet Motion Passed in Australian Senate, March 21, 2013, available at

(26.) Central Tibetan Administration, Sikyong Honoured at French Senate, April 18, 2013, available at

(27.) Imposing Modernity, 270.

(28.) Ibid., 270-271.

(29.) Students for a Free Tibet, "Current Crisis-Cultural and Religious Repression," accessed on May 6, 2013 available at https://

(30.) Imposing Modernity, 257.

(31.) The National Security Archive, "U.S. officials Hoped Chinese Liberalization Program for Tibet in Early 1980s Would Bring Significant Improvements," accessed on May 6, 2013 available at NSAEBB/NSAEBB414/.

(32.) Ibid.

(33.) Imposing Modernity, 286.

(34.) National Security Archive, available at NSAEBB/NSAEBB414/.

(35.) Ibid.

(36.) Religious Repression, 7.

(37.) Annual Report 2011, 59.

(38.) Ibid., 59.

(39.) USCIRF 2012, 146.

(40.) Jin Zhu, "Strike Hard" Campaign Targets Violent Crimes, China Daily, June 15, 2010, available at

(41.) Human Rights Watch, "'I Saw It with My Own Eyes'--Abuses by Chinese Security Forces in Tibet, 2008-2010," (Human Rights Watch: New York, 2010), 8.

(42.) Students for a Free Tibet, available at https://

(43.) Religious Repression, 31.

(44.) Imposing Modernity, 278.

(45.) Central Tibetan Administration, China Planning Strike Hard Crackdown in Tibet and Nepal, May 16, 2012, available at 16/china-planning-strike-hard-crackdown-in-tibet-and-nepal.

(46.) Chinese Misrule, 83.

(47.) Ibid., 83.

(48.) Chinese Misrule, 88.

(49.) Ibid., 88

(50.) Religious Repression, 65

(51.) Human Rights Watch, 36.

(52.) Chinese Misrule, 89.

(53.) USCIRF 2012, 146.

(54.) Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, "Human Rights Situation in Tibet: Annual Report 2012," (TCHRD: Dharamsala, 2013), 7.

(55.) Human Rights Watch, 18-19.

(56.) USCIRF 2012, 146.

(57.) United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, USCIRF Annual Report 2010,

(58.) Congressional-Executive Commission on China, "Special Report: Tibetan Monastic Self-Immolations Appear to Correlate With Increasing Repression of Freedom of Religion," (CECC: Washington, 2011),

(59.) USCIRF 2012, 145.

(60.) United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, USCIRF Annual Report 2013,

(61.) Religious Repression, 36.

(62.) Religious Repression, 36.

(63.) The Buddhist Association of China, the Chinese Taoist Association, the Islamic Association of China, Three-Self Patriotic Movement, and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.

(64.) Religious Repression, 37.

(65.) The International Campaign for Tibet, "The Communist Party as Living Buddha: The Crisis Facing Tibetan Religion Under Chinese Control," (ICT: Washington, 2007), 37.

(66.) Religious Repression, 36.

(67.) USCIRF 2012, 145.

(68.) Tibet Policy Institute, "Why Tibet is Burning..." (TPI: Dharamsala, 2013), 9.

(69.) Ibid., 9.

(70.) Ibid., 9.

(71.) USCIRF 2012, 144.

(72.) CRS Report, 9.

(73.) Annual Report 2011, 53.

(74.) Religious Repression, 36.

(75.) Ibid., 41.

(76.) Ibid., 42.

(77.) Ibid., 14.

(78.) Living Buddha, 23.

(79.) Chinese Misrule, 28.

(80.) Religious Repression, 25.

(81.) No Faith in the State, 19-20.

(82.) CRS Report, 11.

(83.) Imposing Modernity, 275.

(84.) Imposing Modernity, 263.

(85.) Living Buddha, 25.

(86.) Religious Repression, 43.

(87.) Living Buddha, 26.

(88.) USCIRF 2012, 145.

(89.) CRS Report, 10.

(90.) Annual Report 2011, 54.

(91.) Congressional-Executive Commission on China Political Prisoner Database, "China: List of Political Prisoners Detained or Imprisoned as of october 10, 2012," accessed on May 8, 2013 available at http://

(92.) Religious Repression, 121-122.

(93.) CRS Report, 9.

(94.) Religious Repression, 61.

(95.) Annual Report 2011, 60.

(96.) International Campaign for Tibet, Thousands of Tibetan pilgrims face troops at religious ceremonies in eastern Tibet, March 8, 2013, available at eastern-tibet.

(97.) No Faith in the State, 23-24.

(98.) Current as of May 8, 2013.

(99.) Voice of America, Two Tibetan Monks Set Themselves on Fire, May 9, 2013, available at 1648129.html.

(100.) Annual Report 2012, 10.

(101.) TPI Report, 4-5.

(102.) CECC Report, 1.

(103.) Thousands of Tibetans..., available at content/article/1648129.html.

(104.) International Campaign for Tibet, Authorities bar customary religious rituals to enforce quick cremation of Tibetan who self-immolated in Amchok, January 15, 2013, available at religious-rituals-enforce-quick-cremation-tibetan-who-self-immol.

Peter Dziedzic is a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, USA with a B.A. in religious studies. Peter lived in Dharamsala, India in 2013, where he studied Tibetan language at the LTWA, conducted field research, and volunteered with the Central Tibetan Administration. Peter is currently pursuing graduate studies in Rome, Italy as a Russell Berrie Fellow in Interreligious Studies.
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Author:Dziedzic, Peter
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Date:Sep 22, 2013
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