China accuses restive Tibetan monks of lewd actions

 Published: 4/22/2011 9:59:03 AM GMT
Original Cached

BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese authorities have accused monks at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of using prostitutes, getting drunk and gambling, state media said Friday, amid a security crackdown sparked by unrest there.

Demonstrations at Kirti Monastery in the southwestern province of Sichuan erupted after a monk self-immolated in an apparent anti-China protest last month and died. Security forces have since sealed off the monastery.

The government of Aba county said Friday it had decided to give monks "legal education" due to the "problems" there and "illegal activities" committed by some monks, the state Xinhua news agency said.

According to a circular released by the local government, "some monks in the monastery had visited prostitutes, got drunk and kicked up rows and engaged in gambling. And some disseminated pornographic videos."

But activist group International Campaign for Tibet, which gets information from sources in the area, dismissed the accusations, saying these had in the past been used by Chinese authorities against monks in restive areas.

Kate Saunders, spokeswoman for ICT, said the allegations were an attempt by officials to "distort and influence perceptions... of the deepening crackdown at Kirti."

"The Kirti monks... are on the frontline of a dangerous struggle to keep Tibet?s culture and religion alive, and no amount of attempted smears about sex and gambling will change that reality."

The local government also accused a small group of monks of "disrupting social order" for a long time, with some inciting mobs to riot in March 2008 amid widespread unrest across Tibetan areas of China, Xinhua said.

Many Tibetans resent Chinese rule, accusing the government of trying to dilute their culture and citing concern about what they view as increasing domination by China's majority Han ethnic group.

That tension erupted in violent demonstrations in March 2008 in Tibet's capital Lhasa, which then spread into neighbouring Tibetan areas of China, including Kirti.

Authorities have in the past taken monks away from restive areas for "re-education", which activist groups say means they have gone to military camps or prison to undergo political education classes.

ICT confirmed that a re-education campaign was taking place at Kirti, and added that security forces had arrested and taken away more than 300 monks from the monastery on Thursday evening.

More Stories On
NEWS MAP Tibet on the map

TAG CLOUD Tags Cloud

Get Adobe Flash player

Previous Next
News in Pictures

Phelps finishes sixth in 200 free at Charlotte

Mayor Defends Overseas Trips, 'Paradigm' Of Job Numbers

Treasured purses stolen from Forbidden City

2 Men Accused Of Importing Fake Disney Collectible Pins

Jailed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's sculptures on show