We are writing to you to urge you to contact the Chinese government and demand an immediate halt to its escalating religious repression in Tibet.
For centuries, Tibetan Buddhism has been integral to Tibetans’ culture, history, sense of identity and way of life. However, under the premiership of Xi Jinping, there has been a marked increase in religious repression. Today Tibetan Buddhism is more at risk than ever.
The most recent example of this religious repression can be seen in Drago County in eastern Tibet. Since October 2021, Chinese authorities have destroyed a series of religious sites including a Buddhist school; prayer wheels; monks’ residences; and three statues of the Buddha, one of them 99 feet tall and funded by the local Tibetan community. Furthermore, several residents have been arrested and tortured after expressing sadness or opposition to the demolitions.
This assault on Tibetan religious sites must be met with urgent action. We urge you to contact the Chinese government and push for your foreign mission to be granted access to Drago County to assess the damage to religious sites.
We also ask that you demand that the Chinese government:
- Collaborate with the Tibetan community to restore the demolished sites and statues with respect and in accordance with their spiritual leaders and traditional practices.
- Release all Tibetans who have been arbitrarily detained in Drago County for sharing information about, opposing or expressing sadness about these demolitions.
- Respect the Tibetan people’s rights to freedom of religion and culture and immediately cease practices that violate these rights.
This is a matter of utmost urgency and we are looking forward to you taking action.