|Tibetan monks receive subsistence allowances|
LHASA, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- More than 200 monks and nuns at a monastery on the outskirts of Lhasa received subsistence allowances Friday, a move made by the local government to improve their living conditions.
The allowances were granted to ensure that each member of the clergy at Tsurpu Monastery can have a minimum monthly income of 360 yuan (57.2 U.S. dollars), equivalent to the per capita subsistence allowance for Lhasa's citizens, said Chungkyi, chief of civil affairs in Todlung Dechen county, located 70 km from Lhasa's city center.
"A total of 223 monks and nuns at Tsurpu Monastery received their allowances for the first quarter on Friday," said Chungkyi.
Tsurpu is a major monastery for the Karma Kagyupa, or "White Hat Sect," of Tibetan Buddhism. It has more than 300 registered clergy people.
"With this allowance, we can buy new clothing for the coming Tibetan New Year," said monk Dradul.
Tibetan New Year's Day falls on Feb. 22 this year.
Monk Dechen Rabten said the allowance will ease his cash shortage and allow him to concentrate on studying sutras.
Clergy at Tsurpu Monastery were among the first to receive the subsistence allowances, which will also be granted to other needy monks and nuns at monasteries across the plateau region, Chungkyi said.
Tibet has more than 1,700 religious sites, with more than 40,000 monks and nuns in total.
The allowances are part of a set of new policies introduced by the regional government this year to improve living conditions and social security for religious professionals.
The new policies also include pensions and medical insurance for all monks and nuns.
According to the regional finance department, Tibet has earmarked about 800 million yuan this year for the purpose of improving its citizens' livelihoods.