Sunday, October 02, 2016

In Tibet, the party’s “highest priority” is to stop the Dalai Lama

Countering the Dalai Lama’s influence is the “highest priority”, said Tibet’s Communist party secretary Wu Yingjie.
 
Appointed party boss in August, Wu vowed to uproot the monk’s “separatist and subversive” activities.

Speaking to the Tibet Daily, he said, “First, we must deepen the struggle against the Dalai Lama clique, make it the highest priority in carrying out our ethnic affairs, and the long-term mission of strengthening ethnic unity”.

To achieve this, the Party must “thoroughly expose the reactionary nature of the 14th Dalai Lama, crack down on separatist and subversive activities, and strive to eliminate at their roots harmful elements that damage ethnic unity,” the new party boss said.

This is nothing new. Since he fled in 1959, the Dalai Lama has been treated an enemy by the Chinese state, a ‘wolf in monastic clothing’ seeking Tibet’s independence.

In reality, the Nobel laureate is asking only for cultural autonomy and religious freedom for Tibetans, who are still very close to their old monastic tradition and to the Tibetan Buddhism.

In order to break the link between the population and the religious leader, Beijing has been trying to influence the recognition of his successor by picking the Panchen Lama whose task is recognise the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation after his death.

The current 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, recognised Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the Panchen Lama on 14 May 1995. Three days later, Chinese police seized the 6-year-old boy and his family, who have not been heard ever since.

Last May, several rallies were held in cities around the world to demand the liberation of the “youngest prisoner of conscience in history".

Beijing has not only tried to eliminate Tibetan Buddhism’s second highest official, but in order to consolidate its grip on Tibet, in November 1995, it picked its own “true” Panchen Lama, Gyaltsen Norbu, claiming that it followed “more authentic” religious rites.

In 2004, Chinese authorities went further and issued a regulation according to which all "living Buddhas", who are very important religious authorities in Tibetan Buddhism, must be approved by the government

This way, Beijing hopes to control the next Dalai Lama.

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