People are fanning the flames of the Samye statue controversy, but it would be useful to ask ourselves what--if any--benefit would come of this. Basically, two Chinese down around Guangzhou (if I am not mistaken) raised 800,000 RMB (roughly USD $106,000) to install a large statue of Padmasambhava near Samye, but did not make the proper local government relationships in Tibet. Construction began (see above), and then suddenly, the statue was removed.
If you want to say that this is a Chinese government attempt to repress legitimate expressions of faith in Tibet, you would probably be mistaken. If you want to say there is more to this story than the "flame fanners" know, you would probably be correct.
We do not have to look all the way to China to find "causes." In the United States, the city of Garden Grove, California discriminated against a Buddhist temple, necessitating a federal lawsuit.
What we have at Samye is a zoning situation:
On 1 January 2007, a new "Measures for the 'Regulation on Religious Affairs'" with 56 articles, issued by the 11th Standing Committee of the "TAR" People's Government on 19 September 2006, entered into force.
Article 13 of the new "Measures for the Regulation on Religious Affairs", states that, "Religious organizations or venues for religious activities that plan to build a religious structure such as an open-air religious statue, stupa, or Mani Lhakhang [Prayer (wheel) Temple] outside a venue for religious activities petition the Autonomous Region's government religious affairs department for examination and approval after receiving consent from the prefectural (city) administrative office (people's government) religious affairs department where the venue is located. The autonomous region's people's government religious affairs department shall put forth its decision on whether to grant approval within 30 days of receiving it.
Religious organizations and venues for religious activities that plan to build a large-scale, open-air religious statue outside a venue for religious activities handle [the matter] in accordance with the provisions in the State Council "Regulation on Religious Affairs." No group or individual outside of religious organizations and venues for religious activities may build religious structures such as a large-scale open-air religious statue or mani lhakhang [prayer (wheel) temple]"
As a reinforcement, Article 48 states that, "Where, in violation of provisions in Article 13 of these measures, a religious structure such as an outdoor religious statue, stupa, or mani lhakhang [prayer (wheel) temple] is built without authorization outside of a venue for religious activity, the people's government religious affairs department at the county level or above orders redress, suspension of construction, and demolition within a specified time limit, in accordance with relevant laws and regulations."Before we start shouting slogans, we need to remember the concept of Skillful Means. Perhaps if the people in China had researched a bit more carefully, the statue would still be in place.