Buddha Statues And Prayer Wheels Knocked Down In Tibet’s Kham Region

Buddha Statues And Prayer Wheels Knocked Down In Tibet’s Kham Region
Drone footage of the concerned demolition area in Drago county. Credit: Tibet Watch.


Alexandros Anthis

Tibet and Human Rights Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence.

According to local sources, Chinese authorities brought down two giant Buddha statues in Drago County in the Kham region of Tibet. The second incident that took place in early January followed the demolition of another 99-foot Buddha statue and of 45 prayer wheels in the same region a few weeks before. The justification for these actions was that the statues’ height contravened building regulations despite the local Tibetans’ claim of possessing legal documents allowing such constructions.

The sources further indicate that the demolitions caused a heated response from monks, as well as civilians who were detained due to their objection to the authorities’ plans. As maintained by the reports, the detainees underwent severe and inhumane punishment at detention centres. Moreover, they were deprived of their right to keep up with their religious practices during custody. Indicatively, they were not allowed to attach prayer flags to their doors or perform their purification rituals.

On both occasions, arrests were made to restrain reactions. However, the first demolition incident demonstrated that the main reason behind the arrests of protesting monks and citizens was the suspicion of leaking information to external outlets. Anonymous sources confirm that eleven monks from Drago’s Gaden Namgyal Ling monastery were arrested on suspicion of circulating news and photos of the first demolition into exile.

These incidents brought experts to warn against a developing campaign to do away with the national culture and religion of Tibet.

Sources and further reading:

L. Choekyi (2022, January 10). Another giant Buddha statue demolished in Tibet’s Kham region https://www.phayul.com/2022/01/10/46638/

Tibetan Review (2022, January 9). After destroying Buddha statue, China arrests, beats Tibetan monks for speaking about it https://www.tibetanreview.net/after-destroying-buddha-statue-china-arrests-beats-tibetan-monks-for-speaking-about-it/ 

S. Kunchok, T. Wangchuk (2022, January 7). Tibetan monks beaten, arrested for sharing Buddha statue destruction news https://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/news-01072022144013.html

Y. Dolma (2021, December 27). China destroys a giant Buddha statue in Draggo County, eastern Tibet https://www.thetibetpost.com/en/news/132-tibet/7189-chinese-authorities-destroyed-giant-buddha-statue-in-drago,-tibet