Historically, there were many Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in China, Central Tibet, Amdo, Kham, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, East Turkistan (Xinjiang) and a small part of what was formerly included in Manchuria. In 1945, Russian troops liberated Manchuria from Japanese rule, and following Stalin’s policy in Russia and Mongolia, they destroyed many of the Manchurian monasteries. Many of the monasteries were completely abandoned during the Anti-Rightist Movement in 1958. The majority of monasteries in Amdo and Kham were also destroyed starting from 1958, while in Central Tibet the destruction started in 1959, but especially from 1962 onwards.
Thus well before the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) most of the monasteries in Tibet and Manchuria had already been demolished, whereas most of the monasteries in East Turkistan and Inner Mongolia were not destroyed until the Cultural Revolution itself. Although Chinese monasteries and mosques were also destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, it did not reach the same extent as the destruction of Tibeto-Mongolian Buddhist monasteries.
Now, in 1994, the Buddhists are allowed to rebuild old monasteries, but not to found new ones, whereas the Muslims are allowed to build new mosques as well as repair the old. This difference in policy seems to be the result of pressure from Middle Eastern countries and the importance China places on its huge economic relations with this region. There are more mosques in the People’s Republic of China in 1994 than there were in 1949.