China destroys 99-foot Buddha statue in Drago county

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With regard to the destruction of the statue, the source said that during the destruction, Drago county chief Wang Dongsheng was present there….reports Asian Lite News

China has destroyed the second Buddhist statue revered by Tibetans late last month in western China’s Sichuan province as a part of the campaign by the Chinese dispensation to destroy religion and traditions of the ethnic minority, said a media report.

Commercial satellite imagery was used to verify the destruction of a three-storey statue of Maitreya Buddha at Gaden Namyal Ling monastery in Drago (in Chinese, Luhuo) county in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA).

“Chinese authorities have again given unbelievable reasons for the destruction,” RFA quoted a source as saying.

Chinese officials said that there was no fire escape in the temple housing the three-story high statue of Maitreya Buddha, but these are not valid reasons, the source said.

He continued to add that Beijing has been exercising such practices to Sinicise Tibet’s religion by not allowing Tibetans the freedom to practise their own religion and faith.

With regard to the destruction of the statue, the source said that during the destruction, Drago county chief Wang Dongsheng was present there.

Wang was witnessing the brutality of the police at the destruction site as the police beat the local Tibetans over objecting to the demolition.

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have arrested 11 monks from Drakgo’s Gaden Namgyal Ling monastery for sending news and photos outside Tibet about the destruction.

The destruction of a 99-foot Buddha statue in Drago in December was also directed by Wang.

The Chinese official had overseen the campaign of destruction of Sichuan’s sprawling Larung Gar Buddhist Academy in a move that saw thousands of monks and nuns expelled and homes destroyed, reported RFA.

International condemnation

The US State Department has voiced “deep concern” at reports of the statue’s destruction. It said in a statement, “(We) continue to urge PRC authorities to respect the human rights of Tibetans and the preservation of Tibet’s environment as well as the unique cultural, linguistic, and religious identity of Tibetan traditions.”

The statement further said, “We will work with our partners and allies to press Beijing to cease on-going abuses against Tibetans and return to direct dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his Tibetan representatives, without preconditions, to resolve differences.”

Sophie Richardson, China director for New York-based Human Rights Watch, added that China’s demolition of the statue and crackdown on Tibetans sharing news of its destruction show that “religious believers cannot rely on legal or constitutional safeguards of their faith”.

China in its current phase of “ultranationalist and statist ideology gives all power to the state, and regards civil society with suspicion and contempt,” Richardson said.

The international condemnation of the destruction of Buddha’s statue has not deterred China from committing brutalities against the peace loving Tibetan monks.

There are reports that new restrictions have now been imposed on Tibetans following the statue’s demolition. Tibetans are not being allowed to hang prayer flags outside their doors. And their fireplaces, which are sometimes used for purification rituals, are also being destroyed in gross violation of their human rights.

Media sites giving source based stories from Tibet are reporting that the Chinese police are now beating Tibetans on unreasonable excuses such as not having ‘a proper expression’ on their face. Some Tibetans are being made to stand outside in the cold weather and are then released without explanation.

The shattering of the Buddha statue in Tibet is the latest in a series of crackdowns which amount to cultural genocide by the Chinese Communist Party.

Photo taken on March 9, 2021 shows an event of the 20th anniversary of the Buddha destruction in Bamyan province, Afghanistan. (Photo by Azimi/Xinhua)

The destruction of Bamiyan Budhas

First, they destroyed it, now the Taliban fighters are using remnants of the Bamiyan Buddhas for target practices. Recently many video clips surfaced on social media where Taliban fighters were shown firing rocket propelled grenades at those caves where giant Buddha statues had stood for more than 1,400 years.

In one video clip, shared by the Gandhara news, at least seven Taliban gunmen are seen firing at the caves. They were seen raising Taliban slogans.

In the video clip, one can see a grenade exploding against the wall of the niche where a giant Buddha had once been. When the Gandhara news asked Ahmadullah Wasiq, the deputy head of the Taliban-led government’s cultural commission, he said investigations are on and “culprits will be handed over and brought to justice.”

According to the news site, the culprits are from the command unit of the Taliban which is deployed there to guard the historic site. The provincial governor in Bamiyan, Mullah Shireen Akhund, who was part of the Taliban negotiating team in Doha, had promised to protect the site.

Last month, the Taliban promised that they had become saviours of Buddhist relics, that would bring tourists to Bamiyan.

As reported by indianarrative.com , the head of Bamiyan’s Information and Culture Directorate, Mawlawi Saif-ul-Rahman Mohammadi had told the media that the Taliban government is committed to preserve these priceless and historical monuments of the province. Local and foreign tourists can visit Bamiyan’s historical sites and Buddhas.

But most historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists who have witnessed destruction of Bamiyan sites and attitudes about the Taliban leaders do not trust the Taliban and all their promises to safeguard Afghanistan’s heritage are just to portray their moderate image.

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