Even while China claims a gradual return to normalcy from the coronavirus pandemic and reports zero new cases in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), two monasteries in the region have announced that they are closing their doors to the public.

In similar notifications dated April 14 and 15, 2020, Samye and Yasang monasteries respectively said that they are closed as “per circular from higher authorities, and in accordance with the need of work relating to the prevention of the infectious coronavirus”. Both Samye and Yasang are located in Lhokha (Chinese: Shannan) City, with Samye being considered the oldest Tibetan Buddhist monastery.

These announcements are surprising, as China claims that there were no newly confirmed or suspected cases for 78 consecutive days in the TAR. Also, to bolster its image internationally and indicate a sense of normalcy after the coronavirus crisis, on March 30, 2020, Chinese authorities announced the reopening of some monasteries around the Tibetan capital Lhasa.

An announcement claiming a lack of new coronavirus cases in the TAR in Tibetan and Chinese.

Following are translations of the notifications by Samye and Yasang monasteries.

Notification

As per circular from higher authorities, and in accordance with the need of work relating to the prevention of the infectious coronavirus, Samye Monastery will close its gates from April 14, 2020. The general believing public and tourists may note this and provide support.

Samye Monastery Management Committee

April 14, 2020

Notification

As per circular from higher authorities, and in accordance with the need of work relating to the prevention of the infectious coronavirus, Yasang Monastery will close its gates from April 15, 2020. The general believing public may note that there will be no visitation and purification ritual and provide support.

Yasang Monastery Management Committee

April 15, 2020

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