Tibetan Monks Undergo 'Patriotic Tests'

June 13, 2008

Author: Lucy Hornby

Source: The Gazette

Wire Service: Reuters


Three months after demonstrations flared up in Tibetan towns and monasteries across China, monks say they now have to pass a patriotic test, possibly in September, to be allowed to remain as monks.

Tension runs high in Gannan, a heavily Tibetan area in southern Gansu province, which was convulsed by marches and attacks against government buildings and some non-Tibetan shops, after demonstrations turned violent in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on March 14.

Monks now struggle to pay fines and master texts on "patriotic education", while armed paramilitary units guard access to main monasteries.

Work teams have moved into monasteries to supervise study sessions that are supposed to break monks' allegiance to the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader who China believes is responsible for the unrest.

Monks say the teams are likely to stay until after the Olympic Games are held in Beijing in August.