Issued: December 9, 1991
Tibet Autonomous Region Temporary Measures on the Management of Religious Affairs
(Adopted by the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region People’s Government on December 9, 1991, and promulgated by the Tibet Autonomous Region People’s Government on December 20, 1991)
Tibet is divided under Chinese rule into the following administrative units: a) Tibet Autonomous Region, b) Qinghai Province, c) Tianzu Tibetan Autonomous County and Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province, d) Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and Mili Tibetan Autonomous County in Sichuan Province, e) Dechen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province.
These temporary measures are specially formulated in accordance with the Constitution, laws, regulations, and relevant policies, and by integrating our region’s actual management of religious affairs, for the purposes of ensuring citizens’ freedom of religious belief; safeguarding the lawful rights and interests of religious organizations and venues for religious activities, safeguarding the unification of the motherland, the unity of ethnic minorities, and social stability; and constructing a socialist new Tibet.
The government respects and protects citizens’ freedom of religious belief. All religions, religious sects, religious organizations, and venues for religious activities are equal. Religious believers and non-religious believers, and the masses who believe in different religions and different religious sects shall respect each other, mutually unite, and jointly devote themselves to social stability and the construction of spiritual and material civilizations in our region.
All the activities of every religious organization and venue for religious activities must be conducted within the scope of the state’s Constitution, laws, regulations, and policies. The government protects normal religious and religious affairs activities carried out by religious personnel.
The government protects the lawful rights and interests of religious organizations and venues for religious activities. All religious organizations, venues for religious activities, and individuals shall accept the leadership of the Party and the government, and support the socialist system. Religion must not interfere with the administration of the state, the judiciary, school education, or social public education, and must not reestablish previously abolished feudal privileges and oppressive exploitative systems, as well as subordinate relationships between temples.
On the whole, all venues for religious activities of every religion and religious sect that have been restored and opened throughout the region have basically satisfied the necessities of the normal religious activities of the masses who believe in religion. Henceforth, new venues for religious activities must not be restored and opened without obtaining approval from the autonomous region people’s government.
Within the borders of the autonomous region, restored and opened venues for religious activities shall register in accordance with the measures of State Religious Affairs Bureau Circular No. 110 (1991) and establish various records. Registered venues for religious activities receive the protection of the law.
A venue for religious activities is managed by the government where it is located, and this government must earnestly formulate concrete administrative management measures for the venue for religious activities under its management, and pragmatically supervise well.
Outside of ordinary religious activities, every venue for religious activities must report to the local government and relevant departments when holding any large religious activity or large-scale religious festival, and coordinate with the relevant departments to preserve order during the activity.
Determinations are made of the size of the roster and [specific] Buddhist monk and nun personnel at venues for religious activities. Every prefecture (city) shall, on the basis of thorough investigation and research and in consultation with the local Buddhist Association, determine numbers for the size of the roster, and execute it to the letter after undergoing examination and approval.
1. For a roster sized at more than 100 people (including 100), the prefecture (city) puts forth an opinion, [and the matter] undergoes examination and verification by the region’s ethnic and religious affairs commission, and is reported to the autonomous region’s people’s government for examination and approval.
2. For a roster sized at more than 50 people (including 50), the prefecture (city) puts forth an opinion, and [the matter is] reported to the region’s ethnic and religious affairs commission for examination and approval.
3. For a roster sized at more than 5 people and under 50 people, the prefecture’s (city) ethnic and religious affairs bureau puts forward an opinion, and [the matter is] reported to the provincial administrative office and municipal government for examination and approval.
4. For a roster sized at 1 to 5 people at ordinary lhakhang [temples] and ritro [mountain hermitages], [the matter is] examined and approved by the county people’s government.
When temples absorb Buddhist monks and nuns within the scope of their roster, examination and registration must be carried out for the purpose of ensuring quality.
1. Those who voluntarily request to enter a temple as a Buddhist monk or nun must be patriotic and law-abiding, pious believers, and abide by Buddhist canons and every aspect of the temple system. The individual [who requests to enter a temple] first puts forth a written application, and also seeks instructors and scripture teachers as guarantors.
2. After receiving the application, the Democratic Management Committee (group) must strictly examine [such matters as] the applicant’s goals and reasons for entering the temple and whether his or her behavior is upright.
3. The instructor and scripture teacher acting as guarantors must be responsible for the guarantee’s moral education and the teaching of Buddhist and temple canons, and ensure that she or he observes discipline and law, and is patriotic and devout.
4. After the above conditions exist, those who have spent more than a year being examined and meeting qualifications fill out a registration form in triplicate, and the instructor and scripture teacher acting as guarantors sign and seal it. The Democratic Management Committee (group) reports to the responsible religious affairs department for examination and approval within its quota for designating a roster, issues a unified certificate or credentials, and places [the applicant] into the temple registry. Only then can she or he become formal Buddhist monk and nun personnel of the temple.
5. A temple’s Buddhist monk and nun personnel enjoy all the rights of a citizen, and must fulfill all the duties of a citizen.
6. Buddhist monk and nun personnel who violate Buddhist or temple rules shall, according to the degree of seriousness of the circumstances, respectively be given education, warning, or expulsion, or have their certificate or credentials revoked.
7. Tibetan compatriot monks and nuns outside the borders returning to China to reside who request to enter a temple must undertake procedures for residence according to the pertinent regulations for Tibetan compatriots from outside China returning to China to reside, and only then can they undertake the procedures for entering a temple as stipulated.
8. Buddhist monk and nun personnel have the freedom to voluntarily withdraw from their temple. Those who withdraw from their temple must undertake the procedures for leaving a temple and return to their original residence.
Concerning the management of interaction between religious personnel from our region and outside provincial areas:
1. All monks and nuns from Tibetan Buddhist temples in outside provincial areas who come to our region to engage in advanced study of scripture must obtain consent from the religious affairs department of the provincial area where the visiting monk or nun resides, in consultation with the religious affairs department of our region, and only then, while bearing proof [of this], can [the person] pursue advanced studies at a designated temple in our region. While engaging in advanced studies, he or she must submit to the arrangements of the temple’s Democratic Management Committee and abide by the regulations of the temple.
2. When religious personnel from outside provincial areas come to our region or our region’s religious personnel go to outside provincial areas to engage in such religious activities as expounding Buddhist sutras, or transmitting doctrine, it is necessary to contact in advance the religious affairs department in the provincial area where they reside, and after both sides consent, only then can proof for travel be provided.
3. Various kinds of Buddhist activities at venues for religious activities must be led by qualified Buddhist monk or nun personnel from the temple. Religious followers from outside provincial areas may go to venues for religious activities to live a religious life [guo zongjiao shenghuo], but if they have not obtained permission from the government at the county level or above, must not assemble a crowd to carry out such activities as expounding the Buddhist sutras or transmitting Buddhist doctrine without authorization.
Among Tibetan compatriots from outside China, religious personnel who return to China to visit relatives or for travel may go to the region’s open venues for religious activities to live a religious life, but are forbidden from convening Buddhist monks and nuns and the masses to lead religious activities; are forbidden from performing meeting and sending off or head-touching [blessing] activities; and are forbidden from receiving alms. Venues for religious activities that have not been opened, and have not been approved by the relevant department, must prohibit without exception foreign tour groups, individual visits, pilgrimages, and sightseeing.
Venues for religious activities shall gradually walk the path of self-sustainability. They shall, in accordance with their specific conditions, and within their power, engage in such service industries as secondary farming and herding, industry and commerce, and tourism and hospitality; run a number of social welfare services appropriate to the characteristics of a venue for religious activities; increase income and improve livelihoods; and progressively achieve self-sustainability. All levels of government should give preferential policies to various enterprises such as production and service whose goal is self-sustainability, and support and assist them in achieving self-sustainability.
Where old, weak, sick, and disabled Buddhist monks and nuns from venues for religious activities of every religious sect have no one to depend on, the government’s Ministry of Civil Affairs shall treat them equally without discrimination under the five welfare guarantees of society.
Venues for religious activities approved to be opened, and their Buddhist monks and nuns, may receive voluntary alms and tribute from followers, under the principle of not influencing production or livelihoods. But they are forbidden to go to agricultural and pastoral areas and cities and towns to obtain property and labor in the name of [doing such things as] restoring a temple or casting an image of the Buddha, and are also forbidden to accept contracted land from the masses.
All levels of government and residence (village) committees shall earnestly bear responsibility and adopt measures for strengthening the management of Buddhist monks and nuns scattered amidst society.
The Buddhist Association is a mass organization of personages from religious circles and religious believers, and a bridge for the Party and government to unite and educate personages from religious circles and the believing masses. Its effectiveness shall be vigorously brought into play under the administrative leadership of the government’s religious affairs department.
The Buddhist Association shall carry on the tradition of self-education; take the initiative to organize members and working personnel for regular study of current political affairs; carry out education in such [topics] as patriotism, socialism, ethnic unity, and national laws and regulations, and continuously heighten consciousness on safeguarding unification of the motherland, opposing separatism, being patriotic and abiding by the law, and strengthening ethnic unity.
The Buddhist Association shall, according to the tasks stipulated in the constitution of the association, research and formulate a work plan. [The Buddhist Association] shall focus work on guiding and helping the Democratic Management Committee (group) of each venue for religious activities earnestly implement the “Rules for Democratic Management of Tibetan Buddhist Temples” (trial rules); strengthen relations between Buddhist monks and nuns and the believing masses; guide the Buddhist activities of temples; and assist in planning such matters as the livelihoods of Buddhist monks and nuns, production, public order in the temple, and the study of current political affairs. It shall also positively assist the government in doing work pertaining to unity between the believing and non-believing masses.
The autonomous region’s ethnic and religious affairs commission shall help support the Chinese Buddhist Association’s Tibet branch earnestly manage the scripture study classes at the Tibetan Institute of Buddhism and each temple, and in a planned manner foster a religious personnel team that has an ardent love of the motherland, accepts party and government leadership, supports the socialist system, safeguards unification of the motherland and ethnic unity, possesses religious knowledge, and can connect with the masses.
Our region’s religious organizations shall, on the basis of equality and friendship and independence and autonomy, actively take the initiative to develop religion-related foreign exchanges. During these exchanges, they shall not accept the domination of foreign forces.
When our region’s religious organizations invite foreign religious organizations, or receive an invitation to make a visit or to participate in such exchange activities as academic exchanges, it is necessary to obtain approval from the autonomous region’s people’s government or the State Council’s Religious Affairs Bureau. Major activities involving foreign affairs shall be reported to the State Council for examination and approval.
In the process of developing foreign exchange and cooperation, when the relevant department signs the relevant items involving foreign religious organizations and their subsidiary organizations or people, terms with religious content such as related to proselytizing, establishing religious organizations, and constructing temples are forbidden.
When non-religious organizations invite or receive various organizations with a religious background or an influential religious personage to visit, travel, etc., they shall promptly inform the autonomous region’s ethnic and religious affairs commission of the situation.
Our region’s religious organizations and venues for religious activities shall resolutely resist all sorts of illegal activities carried out by foreign forces utilizing such methods as constructing temples, leading religious activities, or confirming soul boys [children who are the reincarnations of lamas] in an attempt to control our region’s temples.
All religious organizations, venues for religious activities, and persons are forbidden from accepting foreign funds with conditions attached such as subsidies and those for proselytizing. Religious organizations, venues for religious activities, and individuals receiving large donations from foreign religious organizations and believers shall obtain approval from the autonomous region’s people’s government or the State Council’s Religious Affairs Bureau.
Resolutely attack such criminal activities as using religion to incite a disturbance, manufacturing chaos, carrying out the separation of the motherland, destroying ethnic unity, and throwing public order into chaos. Where a small number of Buddhist monks and nuns from specific venues for religious activities repeatedly participate in creating a disturbance, those who carry out separatist sabotage activities shall be handled by looking at the situation, distinguishing circumstances, and separately adopting such measures as education or rectification.
As for religious books and periodicals, and religious audio and video appliances with reactionary content such as [that which] incites “Tibetan Independence,” [the matter] shall be strictly examined and handled in accordance with the measures stipulated in Document No. 35 (1990) issued by the six units including the autonomous region ethnic and religious affairs commission.
When publishing works touching upon religion, the propaganda and publishing departments shall do a rigorous final check, and not permit violations of party and state religious policy, or harm to the religious sentiments of the believing masses, nor permit utilizing religion to distort history, or harm national unification and ethnic unity.
According to the “decentralize custody, active use” principle, every venue for religious activities shall strengthen its management of religious relics, and emphasize guarding against theft and fire. Religious relics must not be presented as gifts, be transferred, or be offered for sale as one pleases. All levels of the cultural relics department shall help venues for religious activities protect religious relics, and every venue for religious activities shall also assist all levels of the cultural relics department with their work on the use of religious relics, letting religious relics play their due role in safeguarding unification of the motherland, publicizing Tibet, and expanding influence abroad.
The right to interpret these measures rests with the autonomous region’s ethnic and religious affairs commission.
These measures enter into force on the day that they are promulgated.
第十一条 宗教活动场所要逐步走以寺养寺的道路。要因地因寺制宜，从事一些力所能及的农牧副业、工商业以及旅游接待等服务性行业，举办一些适合宗 教场所特点的社会公益事业，增加收入，改善生活，逐步实现自养。各级政府对属于以自养为目的的各种生产、服务等事业，应给予优惠政策，扶持、帮助他们搞好 自养。
第十七条 佛教协会要按照会章所规定的任务，研究和制定工作计划。要把工作重点放在指导、帮助各宗教活动场所的民管会（组）认真贯彻执行《西藏佛 教寺庙民主管理章程》（试行），加强同僧尼和信教群众的联系，指导寺庙的佛事活动，协助安排好僧尼的生活、生产、寺庙治安及政治时事学习等事宜。积极协助 政府作好信教群众和不信教群众之间的团结工作。
第二十八条 根据“分散保管，积极利用”的原则，各宗教活动场所要加强对宗教文物的管理，重点搞好防盗、防火。宗教文物不得随意赠送、转让和出 售。各级文物部门要帮助宗教活动场所保护好文物，各宗教活动场所也要协助各级文物部门做好宗教文物的利用工作，使宗教文物在维护祖国统一，宣传西藏，扩大 对外影响中发挥应有的作用。
Issuer: Tibet Autonomous Region People’s Government