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China Demolishes 99-foot Buddha statue in Tibet Region in throwback to Cultural Revolution

China Demolishes 99-foot Buddha statue in Tibet Region of Sichuan. (Courtsey: Twitter)

The Chinese authorities demolished a 99-foot, venerated statue of Lord Buddha in a Tibetan region of Sichuan, while forcing Tibetan monks to watch the destruction. The demolition was carried out to "teach Tibetans a lesson."  45 huge prayer wheels erected near Drakgo Monastery were also removed and prayer flags burned down.

According to Radio Free Asia, which verified the destruction of the statue by analysis of commercial satellite imagery, the Chinese authorities demolished the sacred statue because it was built too high.

But the Tibetan organisations said that the statue was constructed in 2015 with full approval of the local Chinese authorities. But after six years, the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture suddenly “invalidated” the approval order and decided to demolish the statue by saying that “the statue’s height was not allowed in the region”.

The report says that the Chinese authorities forced monks from Thoesam Gatsel monastery and Tibetans living in Chuwar and other nearby towns to witness the demolition, which began on December 12 and continued for the next nine days.

“Local Tibetans from other villages were also forced to come to watch the demolition,” one Tibetan living in India told RFA, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect family members still living in Drago.

“It was just like the (1966-76) Cultural Revolution, when the Chinese government destroyed everything that was old in Tibet,” says the report.

According to the administration of the exiled Central Tibet Administration, “Tearing down Buddhist statues and structures is a direct attack on the centuries-long traditions of Tibetans including putting up prayer flags to lift one’s luck, erecting religious structures to ward off misfortunes and spinning prayer wheels to accumulate mantras for the well-being of others. These acts by the Chinese authorities are acute attacks on Tibetan religion, language and culture. The crackdown on Tibetan Buddhism and the situation now in Drakgo is like the Cultural Revolution times.”

This is not the first incident. In November, the Chinese authorities demolished a Tibetan Buddhist school after falsely alleging that the school had “violated” the land use law.

Such an incident illustrates the recent surges in the Chinese government’s drive to sinicize Tibetan culture and language, as Tibetan monasteries and schools continue to be targeted.

The RFA report citing Tibetan sources said that there should be no doubt that the ultimate goal of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is the total destruction of Tibet and Tibetans by destroying the life blood of the Tibetan people that is Tibetan Buddhism.