The monks at the Labrang site, a Buddhist monastery in the Gansu province, said they are monitored by security cameras and forced to attend political education sessions, where they must denounce the Dalai Lama.
Those who disobey receive stiff jail sentences, the monks told The New York Times.
"If we don't obey, it will be terrible for us," said a monk, who spoke to the Times anonymously.
China maintains the site and is putting $26 million into restoring the monastery, where 1,000 monks live.
But locals said the government's intentions are aimed at increasing tourism and not benefiting the Tibetans.
For years, the government has forbidden Tibetans to worship the Dalai Lama and has punished the families of those who self immolate and those who tell the world about the demonstrations, human rights groups said.
Since 2009, some 120 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in protest of the government repression.
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