Yarchen Gar Buddhist Institute

Buddhist Monastery in Yaqing

On a quiet bend of the Dzin-Chu River in the remote grasslands of Garzi Prefecture, this massive Nyingma (Red Hat) community of nuns and monks living in improvised housing under the shadows of magnificent golden-roofed temples has always been one of the most arresting sights in Sichuan.

However, in May 2019 the authorities closed the town to all outsiders (including Chinese and Tibetans) and began to demolish housing. The authorities say that this demolition has been for health and safety reasons. Tibetan rights groups say that there have been mass forced relocations and that many nuns have been sent to 'reeducation camps'.

All access to the area was closed at the time of research and we were unable to visit.