Beijing [China], January 8 (ANI): Chinese authorities in Sichuan province are arresting Tibetan monks and beating them over suspicion that they informed outside people about the destruction of the 99-foot tall Buddha statue in the country's Luhuo county (Drago), a media report said.
The Buddha statue in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Region was demolished in December by officials who said the statue had been built too high, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA) citing Tibetan sources.
Local monastery monks and other Tibetan residents were forced to witness the destruction, an action experts called part of an ongoing campaign to eradicate Tibet's distinct national culture and religion, said RFA.
Chinese officials so far have arrested 11 monks from Drago's Gaden Namgyal Ling monastery on suspicion of sending news and photos of the statue's destruction to contacts outside the region, reported RFA citing a source.
"As of now, we have learned that Lhamo Yangkyi, Tsering Samdrup and four other Tibetans have been arrested for communicating outside Tibet," RFA quoted the source as saying citing contacts in Drago.
The demolition of the statue began a few days before, said the source, adding that Abbot Pelga, his assistant Nyima, and the monks Tashi Dorje and Nyima from the monastery in Drago were taken into custody. Chinese officials said that they need to be taught a lesson, the source informed.
He also said that the officials brutally beat the monks and did not give them food in prison. One of the monks was brutally beaten by them as his one of eyes got badly injured.
Religious believers in China can not rely on legal or constitutional safeguards of their faith, said Sophie Richardson, China director for New York-based Human Rights Watch after the arrest of monks over-sharing news of statue demolition.
Richardson also said that Beijing in its current phase of "ultranationalist and statist ideology gives all power to the state, and regards civil society with suspicion and contempt, according to RFA. (ANI)