Communist Party leaders have also introduced a “monastic management” plan to more directly control religious life. As part of the plan, 21,000 party officials have been sent to Tibetan communities with the goal of “befriending” monks — and creating dossiers on each of them. Compliant clergy members are rewarded with health care benefits, pensions and television sets; the recalcitrant are sometimes expelled from their monasteries.
At some temples, monks and nuns have been forced to publicly denounce the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader whose name is often invoked by self-immolators. The freedom of movement that allowed monks to study at distant monasteries across Tibet and four adjacent provinces has been curtailed.
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