Tibetan nuns living near Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa have been forced to declare their loyalty to Beijing and the ruling Chinese Communist Party in a political campaign conducted by their nunnery’s management committee and state-controlled “women’s cooperatives,” state media said this week.

The Dec. 3 report by China’s Tibet news website drew quick condemnation from the Dharamsala, India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, with the group calling the campaign at the well-known Shugsep Nunnery “highly worrisome.”

Speaking to RFA’s Tibetan Service on Friday, TCHRD director Tsering Tsomo noted China has recently stepped up its efforts to coerce displays of loyalty from Tibetan monks and nuns, with particular emphasis this year on support for its claims of authority over the selection of a successor to exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Representatives of Buddhist communities across the Himalayan region have meanwhile rejected Chinese claims of control over the Dalai Lama’s succession, supporting a resolution passed last week by senior Tibetan religious leaders at a meeting in India.

‘Political reliability’

Under a Four Standards policy introduced in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, monks and nuns must now demonstrate not only religious learning but also “political reliability,” “moral integrity,” and a readiness to play an active role in blocking Tibetan protests against Chinese state policy, New York’based Human Rights Watch said in an Oct. 30, 2018 news release.

Speaking to RFA, TCHRD’s Tsering Tsomo slammed the Chinese government’s political coercion of Tibetan monastics, saying “Compelling Tibetan monks and nuns to obey the communist government’s revised regulations on religious affairs in the form of the ‘Four Standards’ is highly worrisome.”

In reports sent from inside Tibetan areas ruled by Beijing, Tibetans say Chinese authorities regularly restrict their political activities and peaceful expression of ethnic and religious identity and subject them to persecution, torture, imprisonment, and extrajudicial killings.