Tibetan monks to receive welfare benefits from China


A protester, identified as Sherab Tsedor, screams as he is dragged away by Indian police moments after he tried to set himself on fire in front of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi on November 4, 2011.


Roberto Schmidt

In response to a series of monks and nuns setting themselves on fire due to discontent in Tibetan areas, China plans to provide them with welfare benefits in hopes of improving “stability,” the BBC reported.

From these benefits monks can expect pensions, medical insurance and living allowances, the BBC reported. Tibetan officials pledged on Saturday to give social welfare to Tibetan monks and to promote the legalization and normalization of monastery management in order to boost national unity along with regional development and stability, China’s Global Times reported.

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"The establishment of harmonious model temples is encouraged in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and patriotic law-abiding monks will be praised," Chen said. "The government will take great pains to ensure that public services such as electricity, water, telecommunications, radio, and TV stations are provided to the local monasteries.”

Chen also said personal help would be included, such as allowances, for monks and nuns living in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, the BBC reported. This plan could potentially help 50,000 people, who used to previously rely on monasteries, public donations or themselves for daily living expenses.

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"The management style of treating monks as common Tibetan civilians and including their social welfare security into the government system will further help preserve religious harmony and regional stability in Tibet," Tsering Gyalpo, a Tibetan Buddhism researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, reported the Global Times.

There will also be managing committees added to Tibetan monasteries that have more than 20 monks and one or two special agents will be dispatched by the local government to temples with less than 20, the Global Times reported.