Yarchen Gar appeals have lead to physical abuse

Chinese authorities have taken increasingly drastic steps to remove Tibetan Buddhists from the Yarchen Gar in the Sichuan region of China. As of mid-July, 2019, the Chinese authorities have demolished the former residencies of hundreds of nuns that lived in the temple area. This follows a massive eviction effort on the part of the Chinese government that saw thousands of people displaced.

Residents of the Yarchen Gar area were forcefully removed in May 2019. Over 7,000 people were removed from the sprawling site. Within two months, heavy machinery began to appear at the site and began knocking down the former homes of the nuns, with the destruction of the monks’ living quarters pending. The wreckage of the former homes are quickly whisked away to disposal sites are burned.

Although the homes were fit for religious individuals that didn’t value material possessions a great deal, the swiftness of the destruction is surprising. Tons of materials have been removed from the Yarchen Gar area and destroyed. Chinese officials are also placed permanently at the site to oversee the demolition.

On the surface, the reason for the destruction is to create fire lanes in the crowded site. While there is something to be said about the overall safety of the Yarchen Gar housing, true reasoning is more biased.

The events at Yarchen Gar are not the first of their kind, either. In 2017 and 2018, large numbers of Tibetan monks and Han Chinese monks were displaced from another major temple known as Larung Gar. Thus, the subtext is that the Chinese government is uncomfortable with the ethics and spiritual elements being explored in these areas and wants to shut them down.

Yarchen Gar administrators’ appeals to the government have been rejected and they have suffered physical abuse by officials for doing so.


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