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Religious freedom protected in Tibetan area

(China Tibet Online)

13:24, April 23, 2013

Freedom of religious belief of all ethnic groups in Gansu Province, especially in Ganan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP) in south of northwest China's Gansu Province is respected and protected, said Zhang Yaoyu, deputy director of Gansu provincial religious affairs bureau.

Admission rules of different monasteries respected

First, the government does not force or forbid people to become a monk, and people above 18 years old are free to apply for registration as monks or nuns as religious practitioners.

"Every monastery has its own rules to admit monks or nuns. Many monasteries in Gannan Tibet-inhabited areas have our own systems. Take the Labrang Monastery for example. Due to its large volume of applicants, the monastery has a very strict examination for candidates who want to become monks in it. The monastery then chooses from the excellent examinees according to their test results." Zhang said.

People enjoy freedom to carry out religious activities

Second, the government does not intervene in religious practices as long as they do not disturb the social stability nor aim at political separation.

Tibetan Buddhism is popular in Gannan with different monasteries located in various places. Almost in every village there is a monastery. People go to the monasteries to worship Buddha as a daily routine, or invite lamas to chant sutras and conduct religious rituals in their homes. The government respect and protect such peaceful religious activities.

Gannan has 11,000 monks and nuns in 122 monasteries with 124 Rinpoche. The Labrang Monastery is the biggest one with over 500 monks. Most of these monasteries belong to the Gelug sect Tibetan Buddhism, where the highly-esteemed Rinpoche Jamyang is resided.

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