U.N. condemns China over expulsions of Tibetans
China has been unanimously condemned by the United Nations experts for its expulsion of nuns and monks from Larung Gar and Yachen Gar along with other important religious enclaves located in the Tibetan region. They issued a sharp official rebuke to the Chinese Government, expressing alarm that religious freedom is severely restricted in these areas. The six experts from the United Nations, officially called special rapporteurs, come from a number of countries. Each of them are specialists in one particular aspect of human rights. These include cultural rights, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to a sustainable environment. Collaboration between these experts is uncommon and makes this case particularly unusual.

Khenpo Jigme Phuntstok, a respected leader of Tibetan Buddhism, founded Larung Gar. The settlement is well known all over the world for its teachings. It occupies a prime cultural spot in the mater of Tibetan language, culture and religion. Experts believe such a tradition-and by extrapolation the place- must be taken care of.

The statement clearly said that the undersigned have grave concerns over repression of the religious and cultural practices of Buddhist Tibetans in Yachen Gar and Larung Gar. Chinese officials have begun to deport Larung Gar nuns and monks who have not registered themselves as Garze residents. A number of clergy members were forced to displace, and small homes demolished if they are near valley walls.

Most of the expulsions were perpetrated at Larung Gar. This place is home to the largest Buddhist institute in the world. It is also a well-known name in the world of Tibetan learning. Chinese officials have demolished a few of the homes presently populated by 20,000 nuns and monks. These people live near the instutute. Larung Gar is located on a high valley in the Chinese province of Sichuan. The statement also mentioned evictions being taking place at Yachen Gar. The latter is an enclave populated by nuns. It is also located in Sichuan. The population of Yachen Gar is in the region of 10,000 people.

According to Chinese officials, the demolition is a component of a project aimed at improving the safety quotient of the area. The government is concerned that people live in close proximity in the affected areas. This was borne by certain facts based on data collected over the last few years: such as a fire which burned through over 100 homes in 2014 leaving several dead and many more homeless. Residents allege the government plans to bring the area's population to below 5,000 from the present 20,000 residents. This eviction process is not new, having been similarly conducted in 2011. The people came back at that time and it is unclear whether the latest eviction efforts will be any more successful than the previous attempt.

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