China says rebuilding major western Buddhist learning center / AP
In February, The New York Times reported (paywall) that six United Nations human rights investigators had issued a statement in late 2016 that condemns China for expelling monks and nuns from Larung Gar, a religious enclave in a Tibetan area of western Sichuan Province. Many of the dwellings occupied by the expelled have also been demolished. Today, the Associated Press notes that Chinese state media has denied that “the complex was being demolished and its residents evicted,” saying that “the purpose of the renovation is to improve the living standard of the residents there and eliminate fire hazards.”
Pandas in China are about to get a sanctuary so big, it’s displacing 200,000 humans / Travel + Leisure
Last week, Chinese authorities announced that thousands of people from Sichuan Province will be relocated to make room for a planned panda bear reservation, but did not mention where they will be placed. The London Times reported that 200,000 people will be relocated while the Shanghai Daily said that 172,000 people will be affected. The Giant Panda National Park, which will span 10,500 square miles across the Sichuan, Gansu, and Shanxi provinces, aims to restore habitats for pandas. According to the most recent findings of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are currently 2,060 pandas in China. In a video published by SupChina last week, we discussed a brief history of panda diplomacy.