Reports have been emerging from Tibet and China of a renewed crackdown on Buddhist activity. The Tibet Information Network reports that armed police entered Serthar Institute in Sichuan province in south-western China, which had a religious population of 7,000. Some of those thrown out of the Institute were forced to sign documents denouncing their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Serthar, a Buddhist academy founded in 1980 by Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok was described by the Tibetan government-in-exile in India as 'strictly non-political'. Although it has never officially been a monastery, Serthar became one of the largest centres of Tibetan Buddhism in China - home to thousands of monks and nuns who built their own accommodation as they arrived. These homes are reported to have been destroyed by Chinese police.