The United States on Thursday criticized China after violent incidents at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, and called on Beijing to respect religious freedom.
The intervention of Chinese security forces at the Kirti monastery in Sichuan province is “inconsistent with internationally recognized principles of religious freedom and human rights,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
Clashes erupted between security forces and locals at the monastery in southwestern China after a monk set himself on fire and died last month, according to the International Campaign for Tibet, a New York-based rights group said.
Police unleashed trained dogs on residents outside the monastery and beat people when they tried to prevent forces from entering the compound Tuesday, the rights group said.
According to Toner, security forces “have cordoned off the Kirti monastery.”
The US administration raised the issue with Chinese officials, he added.
“We continue to monitor the situation closely and obviously are concerned by it,” Toner said.
The rights group, citing local residents, said security forces were attempting to remove some of the 2,000 monks who live at the monastery.
The situation at the influential monastery has deteriorated since the March 16 death of a monk who committed suicide on the third anniversary of anti-government unrest in the area.
Resentment against Chinese rule runs deep in Tibetan regions of China.