China gives subsistence allowance to Tibetan monks

China is doling out subsistence allowances to the Buddhist clergy in the restive Tibetan province.

Beijing: China is doling out subsistence
allowances to the Buddhist clergy in the restive Tibetan
province, as part of efforts to woo them against the backdrop
of a number of self immolations by monks and nuns.

Over 200 monks and nuns at a monastery on the outskirts
of the Tibetan capital Lhasa received subsistence allowances
yesterday, a move made to improve their living conditions,
state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.

The allowances were granted to ensure that each member of
the clergy at Tsurpu Monastery can have a minimum monthly
income of 360 yuan (USD 57.2) equivalent to the per capita
subsistence allowance for Lhasa`s citizens, said Chungkyi,
chief of civil affairs in Todlung Dechen county, located 70-km
from Lhasa`s city centre.

"A total of 223 monks and nuns at Tsurpu Monastery
received their allowances for the first quarter on Friday,"
Chungkyi said.

Tsurpu is a major monastery for the Karma Kagyupa, or
`White Hat Sect`, of Tibetan Buddhism. It has more than 300
registered clergy people.

The allowances were announced ahead of the New Tibetan
Year to be celebrated on February 22.

About 17 Buddhist monks attempted self immolations in the
recent months demanding the return of the Dalai Lama from his
self exile. Four people were killed in incidents of protests
and subsequent crackdown in south west Sichuan province,
neighbouring Tibet Autonomous Region.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of instigating the monks

Clergy at Tsurpu Monastery were among the first to
receive the subsistence allowances, which will also be granted
to other needy monks and nuns at monasteries across the
plateau region, Chungkyi said.

Tibet has more than 1,700 religious sites, with more than
40,000 monks and nuns in total.

The allowances are part of a set of new policies
introduced by the regional government this year to improve
living conditions and social security for religious

The new policies also includes pensions and medical
insurance for all monks and nuns.

According to the regional finance department, Tibet has
allotted about 800 million yuan (USD 126 million) this year
for the purpose of improving its citizens` livelihoods,
according to the report.