China Never Restricts Monks from Quake Relief nor Asks Them to Leave



"The government neither restricted Tibetan monks from quake relief work, nor asked them to leave the quake-hit areas," said a local official of Yushu.

Wang Yuhu, governor of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northwestern Qinghai Province, said in response to the reports that the government enjoined monks from quake relief work and ordered them to leave the quake zone.

Wang Yushu, a native Tibetan in Yushu, witnessed and participated in the quake relief work.

"People all over the country joined hands in the quake relief work, regardless of their religion, ethnicity and where they are from. To be fair, the monk's role in the quake relief work deserves praise," said Wang.

The 46-year-old Living Buddha Gyangkar is director of the Targyai Temple in Yushu County. After the quake, he led a group of 83 monks travelling 150 kilometers to the Gyegu Township to join in the rescue work.

Gyangkar said they have rescued 26 people from the debris and found 38 bodies as of April 17.

"The government never prevented us from doing that, but encouraged us instead. We never heard of any news the government banning monks from quake relief work or entering the quake areas," Gyangkar said.

The Nizong Temple, 48 kilometers away from the epicenter Gyegu Township, was affected by the quake, forcing the monks to live in the makeshift tents.

Zanzhou Sangding, the Living Buddha of Nizong Temple, said:"I led 90 monks to rescue survivors in the most-hit Xihang Village. According to the religious rituals and rules, we chanted Buddhist scriptures to release souls of 36 bodies we found."

"Monks from Sichuan, Tibet and other places came successively since the 2nd day of the quake, and we united to save people. At present, most of them have returned to hold religious ceremony for the dead," said Zanzhou Sangding, 26 years old.

Religious ceremony is now under way in the Nizong Temple to release the dead from purgatory.

"We come here when are needed and leave when mission is over. It is a natural thing and in accordance with religious ritual," Zanzhou Sangding added.

"Life is supreme. The kindness and mercy of Buddhist faith is in line with the concept of building a harmonious society. The monks returned to their hometowns after finishing the job, it is quite natural,” said Wang Yushu.

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