Timeline of Destruction of Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries in China

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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.

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