China to step-up control in Tibetan monasteries

China will step-up its control in the wake of recurring self-immolations by monks, which it alleges are instigated by Dalai Lama.

Beijing: China will step-up its control on the management of the numerous Buddhist monasteries in Tibet and its prefectures in the wake of recurring self-immolations by monks, which it alleges are instigated by the Dalai Lama.

Senior officials of Tibet Autonomous Region have pledged stepped-up efforts to strengthen the management of monasteries in the fight against the Dalai Lama group, official new agency Xinhua reported.

"It is a top priority to maintain stability, enhance unity, and promote harmony in Tibet because it concerns the stability of the nation", Basang Toinzhub, Deputy head of the Chinese People`s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Tibet committee, said at a meeting.

Toinzhub said the committee will focus this year`s work on helping the government strengthen the management of monasteries to push forward the patriotic and legal education among monks and nuns.

His speech came only a day after Chen Quanguo, Tibet`s top official, made a similar pledge, the news report said. In his visit to Lhasa`s Sera Monastery on Saturday, Chen told the monastery`s monks that stability is not only good for the nation and people but also good for the Tibetan Buddhism and its monasteries.

Chen`s remarks followed self-immolation attempts by 11 monks and two nuns mostly from Kirit monastery in Aba country of the Sichuan province demanding the return of the Dalai Lama from his exile as protesting curbs on laity.

Chen urged monks to cherish the current unity and stability and unswervingly fight against the separatist activities of the Dalai Lama group.

According to recent official figures, Tibet has more than 1,700 religious sites, accommodating 46,000 monks and nuns. Nearly 90 percent of the region`s 2.8 million people, mostly ethnic Tibetans, are devout Buddhists.

Thousands of local officials were sent to Tibet`s monasteries and take turns to stay there as "station cadres" to strengthen monastery management after the deadly riots of March 14, 2008, the report said.

They worked for promoting the legal awareness of monks and nuns and dissuade them from being duped by separatist forces and ensure the normal practice of Buddhism, it said.

The Dalai Lama, who went into exile in India in 1959, was blamed by the Chinese government to have pulled the strings behind many of the disturbances in the Tibetan region including the 2008 riots in Lhasa, which led to the death of at least 18 civilians and one policeman, it said.