April 12, 2018 -- The State Council Information Office recently released a white paper titled “China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief”.
Puchong, director of the Institute of Religious Studies at the Tibet Autonomous Region Academy of Social Sciences, is an expert studying Tibetan Buddhism for more than 30 years. As a descendant of Tibetan monks who left monastic life, he said that in the 1940s, in order to dodge debts to their landlord, his father’s three brothers and their parents fled one hundred kilometers from Lhasa to Lhoka. “It was very difficult for a family of five to make a living at that time. Under that circumstances, my grandfather sent my father’s three brothers to the local monastery when they were not yet five years old.
In 1959, Tibet underwent democratic reforms, and millions of serfs became liberated and gained personal freedom. Puchong’s three uncles also left their monastery and returned to secular life. Rendan, a monk who had entered monastery in the same year as Puchong’s uncles, left the monastery as well and went back to school. Later, he was sent to Tsinghua University for further studies and became a public official.