Friday, April 22, 2011

China accuses Tibetan monks of lewd acts

BEIJING, China (AFP) - Chinese authorities have accused monks at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of using prostitutes, getting drunk, and gambling, state media said Friday, amid a security crackdown sparked by unrest there.

Demonstrations at Kirti Monastery in the southwestern province of Sichuan erupted after a monk self-immolated in an apparent anti-China protest last month and died. Security forces have since sealed off the monastery.

The government of Aba county said Friday it had decided to give monks "legal education" due to the "problems" there and "illegal activities" committed by some monks, the state Xinhua news agency said.

According to a circular released by the local government, "some monks in the monastery had visited prostitutes, got drunk and kicked up rows and engaged in gambling. And some disseminated pornographic videos."

But activist group International Campaign for Tibet, which gets information from sources in the area, dismissed the accusations, saying these had in the past been used by Chinese authorities against monks in restive areas.

Kate Saunders, spokeswoman for ICT, said the allegations were an attempt by officials to "distort and influence perceptions... of the deepening crackdown at Kirti."

"The Kirti monks... are on the frontline of a dangerous struggle to keep Tibet's culture and religion alive, and no amount of attempted smears about sex and gambling will change that reality." More