China demolishes 99-foot Buddha statue in Drago County

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMHALA, December 28: Chinese authorities in Drago County in Tibet’s Kham region reportedly demolished a 99-foot Buddha statue and destroyed 45 huge prayer wheels erected near Drago Monastery, sources cited by Dharamshala-based Tibet Watch said . The report released on Friday said county head Wang Dongsheng was responsible for the demolition, a senior official who was also implicated in the widespread destruction of Larung Gar Buddhist Academy.

The massive statue was first built with a financial contribution of 4,000,000 yuan ($ 6.3 million), while 1,800,000 yuan (approximately $ 282,500) was spent on prayer wheels by local Tibetans. settled in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Kardze, in the so-called Sichuan Province. . The demolition process took place from December 12 with “military troops massively deployed at the crossroads of its neighborhood to prevent any form of protest”, according to the source.

The rights organization said the statue was officially built with the full approval of local authorities, based on Buddhists’ beliefs that it would prevent famine, war and potential disasters from fire, water, earth and air. Local Chinese authorities, at the time of the demolition, invalidated the construction documents and said that the height of the statue was not allowed nearby.

The bronze Buddha statue was officially completed on October 5, 2015, after consulting with religious figures overseeing plans for the location, time, cardinal direction and arrangement of these activities. “This tragic wave of demolition follows the forced demolition of the nearby Gaden Namgyal Monastic School at the end of October this year. As a result, more than a hundred of its young students were expelled and ordered an immediate return to their homes, ”the report said. The Chinese government had ordered Tibetans to demolish a Tibetan Buddhist school after alleging that the school had “violated” the land use law, and the administration had only three days to vacate the premises.

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