South Asia and Beyond

Third Buddhist Statue In Tibet’s Drago County Demolished

If Tibetans have long complained about China’s cultural genocide in Tibet, here’s proof. An eighth-century statue of Indian tantric master Guru Padmasambhava that stood outside Chanang monastery in Nyimo township of Tibet has been demolished by Chinese authorities. The 45-feet-tall bronze statue gilded with gold and silver took place around the same time as a series of demolitions of religious and cultural sites 15 kilometres away in Sengdeng village. Information about the demolition emerged four months after it happened, delayed by a communication clampdown in the region. Paramilitary troops and informers were deployed across Drago county during the demolition of a 99-feet Buddha statue in Sengdeng village to prevent local Tibetans from protesting and sharing information with the outside world. Police remain deployed in the county and have continued to randomly check mobile phones of Tibetans. According to ‘Tibet Watch’, a source in exile said that Chanang monastery had valid documents for the statue and that the statue was not demolished immediately in October 2021 when the order was announced. The next month “Chinese authorities forced monks to destroy the statue of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava)”, the source added. The monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism and is deeply revered. Another three-storey-high statue of Maitreya, the Buddha of the future, inside Drago monastery is said to have been destroyed in December last year.

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