After tales of the demolition of revered sculptures spread throughout the world, Chinese officials in Sichuan province are pressing Tibetan monks in Drago County to bear responsibility for the destruction.

Radio Free Asia stated while citing sources in the affected region, “After reports of these demolitions in Drago county reached the international community, the Chinese government is now accusing Tibetan monks in Drago of destroying the Buddhist statues, and is coercing them into signing documents to take the blame.”

Over a dozen Tibetans were jailed by Chinese officials after Buddha statues were demolished in the Kham region in December 2021, according to sources. Despite the fact that all of the inmates have been released, the majority have been subjected to state intimidation.

The source stated with keeping the identity unknown, “Most of the local Tibetans and monks who were arrested for sharing news of the Buddha statues’ destruction have now been released, but they are constantly being harassed and are closely watched by the Chinese authorities.”

The abbot of Drago monastery, Paga, his assistant Nyima, another monk named Tenzin Nyima, and Tashi Dorje from the monastery are among the detainees. In addition, Lhamo Yangkyab, a local sculptor, and Norpa Tsering Samdup, a layperson, were both arrested on unspecified allegations.

Last year, a 30-foot tall Maitreya Buddha statue was demolished after the 99-foot Buddha monument was demolished. The monastery’s monks and nearby inhabitants were forced to witness the damage, according to reports. Wang Dongsheng, the Drago county chief, was also one of the principal overseers of the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy destruction operation.

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