Chinese authorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) are intensifying their campaign against His Holiness the Dalai Lama and forcing some Tibetans to remove images of His Holiness from their homes, according to a report published by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT).
According to information ICT received from a former political prisoner, Tibetans who receive government poverty alleviation subsidies in Serthar county in Sichaun have been ordered to destroy their altars and remove images of His Holiness from their homes. Some families have had to replace the images with photos of China’s president Xi Jinping, and must make offerings and prostrate to them.
ICT writes that another source revealed that the new housing provided for Tibetans who have been relocated to settlements in Kham come with small altars that include images of Chinese Party leaders. Some families display these images in fear that if they don’t, their subsidies will be cut.
This news comes shortly after the TAR government announced that they would “take a clear-cut stance in the fight against the Dalai clique,” Reuters reports.
“We must improve the monastery management and service mechanisms to defend the bottom line of Tibetan Buddhism not being manipulated by foreign forces,” the regional government’s chairman, Qizhala, said, adding that the management must prevent an “upsurge” of religion.
ICT also reports that Chinese officials recently commissioned a portrait of the former chairman of the Communist Party of China, Mao Zedong, in the style of a thangka, a traditional Tibetan religious painting. The painting is reported to have cost more than 4 million yuan, or $580,000 USD. It is being created to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, while this year also marks the 60th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.