“Sinicization Of Chinese Buddhism: Ideological Transformation In The Shadow Of Mount Wutai”

On September 5, 2023, an event of profound significance unfolded on the sacred grounds of Mount Wutai in Shanxi province, China. The “Buddhist Educational Affairs and Teaching Style Work Training Course of the China Buddhist Association” commenced at this hallowed site, where the essence of Chinese Buddhism has flourished for over a millennium. However, beneath the spiritual façade lay a deeper purpose, as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sought to reinforce its influence over Chinese Buddhism under the banner of “Sinicization.” This article explores the implications of this endeavor and its impact on the age- old traditions of Chinese Buddhism.

Mount Wutai, often referred to as the foremost among China’s four Sacred Mountains, is a place of profound spiritual significance for Chinese Buddhists. Home to more than fifty monasteries, some of which trace their origins back to the Tang dynasty (8th and 9th centuries CE), the mountain exudes a sense of timelessness. Its temples, sculptures, paintings, and music have seamlessly integrated with traditional Chinese culture, reflecting a centuries-old process of “Sinicization.”

The term “Sinicization” in the context of Chinese Buddhism signifies the adaptation of a religion born in India to the broader Chinese culture. It encompasses the assimilation of spiritual principles, language, architecture, art, and music. This process began more than a thousand years ago and is a testament to the flexibility and adaptability of Buddhism.

Ironically, the recent “Training Course” at Mount Wutai was not aimed at preserving or enhancing the existing harmony between Buddhism and Chinese culture. Instead, it was yet another step in the CCP’s campaign to reframe Chinese Buddhism in its own image. This campaign, referred to as “Sinicization,” seeks to make Buddhism a conduit for promoting the CCP’s ideology and slogans.

Master Yanjue, President of the China Buddhist Association, laid the foundation for this campaign during his introductory lecture. He highlighted the importance of implementing the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the CCP and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The course attendees were tasked with comprehensively studying and implementing General Secretary Xi Jinping’s views on religious work.

The CCP’s Sinicization of Buddhism is underpinned by a fourfold approach:

Ideological Understanding: Monks and devotees are expected to embrace Marxism and Xi Jinping Thought. This shift in ideological orientation suggests an attempt to exert control over the spiritual and philosophical foundations of Buddhism.

Socialist Legal Education: The CCP seeks to inculcate Xi Jinping’s thoughts on the rule of law within the Buddhist community. This includes strict adherence to new and restrictive laws and directives on religion, further emphasizing the party’s dominance.

System Management: The CCP aims to establish top-down bureaucratic control over even the most remote temples. The “Administrative Measures for Religious Activity Venues” have been introduced to transform religious institutions into vehicles for CCP propaganda.

Sinicization of Academic Courses: Academic courses on Buddhism are to be Sinicized, aligning them with the principles outlined in Xi Jinping’s 2021 speech. This not only restricts religious scholarship but also reinterprets Buddhist history and doctrine through a Marxist lens.

The implications of the CCP’s Sinicization campaign are profound. It raises concerns about the erosion of the unique spiritual identity of Chinese Buddhism, which has evolved over centuries. Monastic traditions, meditation practices, and philosophical teachings may be subsumed under the umbrella of party ideology.

Moreover, the risk of religious persecution and suppression looms large. The CCP’s efforts to exert control over religious institutions and beliefs can stifle the

freedom of religious expression, undermining the very essence of Buddhism as a path to spiritual enlightenment.

The unfolding of the “Buddhist Educational Affairs and Teaching Style Work Training Course” at Mount Wutai underscores the CCP’s unyielding quest for ideological supremacy. Chinese Buddhism, a harmonious fusion of cultures, is now facing a pivotal juncture. The intricate equilibrium between tradition and ideology must be safeguarded to ensure that this ancient tradition continues to kindle the spiritual flame for generations to come. The lasting consequences of this profound transformation on China’s revered spiritual heritage will become more apparent with the passage of time, raising questions about the resilience of ancient wisdom in the face of modern political forces. This evolving narrative prompts us to reflect on the enduring resilience of spiritual traditions in the face of external influences. The tension between preserving the essence of Chinese Buddhism and adapting to the changing sociopolitical landscape encapsulates a broader global conversation on the intersection of faith and governance. Mount Wutai, with its rich history, now bears witness to a profound struggle, echoing the timeless quest for the soul of a culture amidst shifting paradigms.

Tibetan Buddhists in these trying times: the Dalai Lama

On Monday, the Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of Tibet, remarked that Buddhists in Chinese-occupied Tibet are facing tough times but are showing endurance.

In his Shewatsel home in Leh, the Dalai Lama spoke to the 16th Annual Working Committee Meeting of the U-Tsang Cholkha Association.

We Tibetans have worked very hard, according to the Dalai Lama, to preserve our language and culture. More and more modern day Chinese are curious in Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism.

“Tibetan Buddhism is compatible with science because it is based on logic and reason, as well as the process of study, reflection, and meditation,” he said.

He pointed out that more and more individuals in both China and the West are interested in this culture without necessarily committing to any one religion.

Educated people and scientists are taking an interest in Tibetan Buddhism, he said, so the general public today has a far deeper grasp of it than in the past.

Tibetan Buddhism is based on the teachings of Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, Dharmakirti, and Dignaga, who are all part of the Nalanda Tradition. Our culture has developed through time to become one that contributes positively to the global community. This is why we Tibetans may take pride in our heritage, he continued.

The Dalai Lama also visited the hamlet of Stok, 15 kilometers south of Leh, where he prayed in front of a sitting golden Gautama Buddha statue that is 71 feet tall.

A great crowd had come to see him, and he spoke to them as well. On August 8, 2016, the monument was blessed by the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama accepted an invitation to tea from the former Queen of Ladakh, Stok Gyalmo, and her grandson.

China’a increased attempts to tarnish Dalai Lama & Tibetan Buddhism

To China, Tibet is a sensitive “core issue” and they find it unacceptable that the Dalai Lama is treated as a VIP, or even akin to a head of state, by nations around the world, because they see it as a challenge to China’s national sovereignty and claims over Tibet. It is well known that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controls religion in Tibet and therefore, Tibetan monasteries are closely watched, particularly for showing loyalty to the Dalai Lama. The CCP thus engages in a propaganda war against the Dalai Lama, to show in poor light and reduce his stature in the international community. Of late, the Chinese state machinery has initiated a campaign alleging that sexual abuse is rampant in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries across the world. Not only are monasteries in India being targeted, but the Gandan Monastery in Mongolia has also not been spared in this smear campaign. Clearly, the Chinese have an obsessive fear of the Dalai Lama and the loyalty shown by Tibetans the world over to His Holiness. For instance, the recent meeting between the US special coordinator for Tibetan issues Uzra Zeya and the Dalai Lama in New Delhi triggered an angry response from Beijing, which said “no external forces have the right to interfere” in the affairs of Tibet.

There is a clear link between the recent attention given to the Dalai Lama in the international media and Chinese efforts to besmirch his name. China does not let go of any opportunity to bad mouth the Dalai Lama. Recent reports indicate that a team of journalists from Der Standard, one of Austria’s leading newspapers, is presently working on a report involving sexual abuse in Buddhist establishments in Dharmashala and those in Karnataka in India. Der Standard has apparently received details of complaints made by a few female occupants on alleged sexual harassment. Based on the said complaints, a team of investigative journalists are working on a detailed investigative report. Given the current state of play, it is likely that Der Standard may also link the recent incident involving Dalai Lama and a young Indian boy to paint a negative picture of poor/negligible concern from the Tibetan leaders in exile on women and child rights. The incident referred to here is the kissing of a young boy by the Dalai Lama at a public event in Dharmshala in February 2023.

Strangely, the incident did not become public till April 2023. On 11 April 2023, the Twitter account of “Nepal Correspondence,” a platform for investigative journalists, pointed out that soon after the customized footage of the kissing event turned into an incident, Chinese trolls launched a campaign, accusing the Dalai Lama of pedophilia.  The chronology of how the issue became an incident was revealed when a fake Twitter account in the name of ‘Yin Sun@NiSiv4’, a fake Youtube Account in the name of Robert Reed and a fake Facebook account in the name of ‘Deter Influencers from Child Abuse’ were opened in February 2023, 1 April and 9 April. The first post (dated 8 April) in the fake Twitter account was the upload of the video on His Holiness’s interaction with the Indian boy. Similarly, the first and the only post on the fake Facebook account was also that video and the only post uploaded on the fake Youtube channel was the same truncated video. Meanwhile the fake Facebook account of ‘Deter Influencers from Child Abuse’ posted a petition titled, “Save kids from Dalai Lama — let’s stop child abuse” in the renowned public forum of Change.org on 7 April. The ‘sensational’ news was then fed to some of the popular Indian news media, launching the video as ‘viral’ without any verification and fact-checking. A Tibetan exile, Lobsang Yeshi writing (13 April 2023) in the US online journal International Business Times denounced the campaign against the Dalai Lama as a CCP’s conspiracy, highlighting the activity of Chinese fake social media accounts and trolls. He stated that “within weeks of the public event […], also participated by sizable media contingent, a maliciously edited and tampered video on His Holiness’s interaction with the Indian boy was circulated across China and Tibet by the Chinese cyber army, the netizens and the CCP stooges”. 

Meanwhile, in a related development, Germany’s state-run broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW) released on 1 July 2023, a documentary film in English language titled ‘Buddhism and abuse – The unspeakable truth’. It also uploaded a video on YouTube titled ‘Crimes Long Concealed by Silence’, which highlighted sexual and ethical scandals in Buddhist Monasteries in France, Belgium, Britain, and Spain. It also raised questions on the 14th Dalai Lama, as the spiritual leader, for not taking steps to address such issues.  The same video was earlier released in January 2023, in French. Attempts to sensationalise the situation of Tibetan nuns in monasteries is not new. A 2019 survey titled Sexual Abuse Against Students, conducted in Tibetan schools by Drokmo, a Dharmashala -based NGO working on gender equality, found that 151 out of 401 (38%) respondents had faced sexual violence. 51% of the 151 respondents were female and 23% were male. Additionally, the issue of gender equality in the Tibetan community has often been discussed in the Tibetan Parliament in exile. The timing of the present campaign appears to be aimed at showing the Dalai Lama in a poor light by highlighting the alleged sexual abuse of nuns in Tibetan monasteries in India and elsewhere.

Of far greater strategic import are reports of child abuse at the Gandan Tegchinlen Monastery, Mongolia’s most important Buddhist monastery, which is also the seat of the Jetsundamba Khutuktu (JDK). Three young lamas (aged 10-14), who were residential scholars undertaking training for monkhood at Gandan Monastery, filed a police complaint on 21 June 2023, against four of their fellow lamas (also minors), alleging sexual abuse at the Datsang dormitory. Ulaanbaatar’s Bayangol District Police Department then investigated the four for ‘ganged-up bullying and forced sodomy’. Later, out of the three minor victims, two withdrew (27 June 2023) their complaint, claiming to have made earlier statements under pressure from one of original complainant’s mother. This incident garnered extensive media coverage in Mongolia, some local media, including eguur.mn, unuudur.mn and shuud.mn, under Chinese influence began to leverage the situation to their advantage by planting fictional scenarios and publicising the incident with sharp titles critical of the Gandan Monastery. Of these, eguur.mn was the most ‘pro-active’, carrying interviews of the lone complainant’s mother and publishing controversial statements by known Gandan critics.

Furthermore, S. Odontuya, Vice Chairwoman of the State Great Khural and Head of Women’s Federation of Democratic Party called (22 June 2023), for serious investigation into child abuse cases in the religious temples, and measures to stop such violence in future. Senior Monks of Gandan Monastery held a press conference (23 June 2023) wherein they underlined their stance of ‘zero tolerance for such acts’ and reaffirmed full cooperation with law enforcement and state agencies. They also outlined ‘safety measures and systematic checks & balances’ to provide a ‘safe and sound’ environment for religious trainees, especially for minors.

The Mongolia incident provided anti-Gandan critics (mainly the Chinese) an opportunity to malign Dalai Lama image. As China does not recognize the 10th JDK recognized by the Dalai Lama, it will, at the opportune time, work to undermine the image of 10th JDK. Notably, the Dalai Lama has visited Mongolia several times, identifying several religious nobles and incarnations. The importance of the Gandan Monastery to Mongolian Buddhism is attested to by the fact that the 9th JDK was enthroned in November 2011, as the head of Mongolian Buddhism by the Gandan Abbott, Khamba Nomun Khan. Immediately afterwards, the Dalai Lama visited Mongolia, to celebrate his enthronement. During his last visit in 2016, he is believed to have secretly performed the ceremony to identify the new JDK, which drew China’s anger. At that time, China imposed fees on commodity imports from Mongolia, charging additional transit costs on goods passing through a border crossing into China’s northern region. The 10th JDK, named Achiltai Attanmar, was anointed on 23 February 2023 in the presence of Gandan officials and monks. The eight-year-old boy was subsequently presented to the world on 8 March 2023, world in Dharamsala by the Dalai Lama. Notably, Gandan Monastery has acted as bridge in promoting India-Mongolia friendship through religious exchanges. There is, therefore, every reason for China to be upset with Mongolia and more importantly, the Dalai Lama. That is the reason why reports of sexual abuse in Tibetan monasteries are becoming more popular these days, thanks to the CCP!

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/mongolia/comments/14blqhg/pedophilia_and_sexual_assault_of_children_at/
Source: https://theprint.in/world/us-special-coordinator-for-tibetan-issues-meets-dalai-lama-in-dharamshala/962410/
Source: http://m.tibet.cn/eng/culture/tibetan/201606/t20160629_5775842.html
Source: https://meanwhileinmongolia.com/gandan-monastery/

Tibetans forced to denounce the Dalai Lama

Tibetans the world over celebrated the 88th birthday of His Holiness The Dalai Lama on 6 July 2023. On the occasion, the Dalai Lama expressed the hope that he would be able to go back to his homeland in his lifetime. The Dalai Lama, who now lives in exile in India, says only that he seeks a greater autonomy for Tibet as a part of China, with guaranteed protections for Tibet’s language, culture, and religion. However, the People’s Republic of China has long regarded the Dalai Lama as a “separatist” intent on splitting Tibet, a formerly independent nation that was invaded and incorporated into China by force in 1950, from Beijing’s control. That is why they have sought to control Tibetan Buddhism. The latest episode reflecting this trend is a Radio Free Asia (RFA) report that claims that Chinese authorities in Tibet are randomly searching monasteries and forcing monks to sign documents renouncing all ties to the Dalai Lama.

Last year, China directed that all Tibetans working in official government positions should renounce all ties to the Dalai Lama as a pre-condition for employment. More recently, they have included monasteries under this rule. Beginning this month, Chinese authorities conducted searches of monasteries in Shentsa (Shenzha, in Chinese) and Sok (Suo) counties on the premise of maintaining security RFA’s Tibetan Service reports. In a photo received by RFA from Tibet, the Shartsa monks are seen signing their names on a board on the wall. The text on the board states that “We will rigorously take part in opposing the Dalai Lama clique and will remain loyal and devoted to the country [China].” “The authorities search all the residences of the monks and the main shrines in the monasteries,” the exile said. “The monks of Shartsa Monastery are also forced into renouncing ties with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and be a part of anti-Dalai Lama groups.’

As part of their searches, the authorities have been scrutinizing the monks’ prayer manuscripts and books, and removing prayer flags from shrines, said another exiled Tibetan, who declined to be named. “They did not give any sort of warning before conducting these random searches,” said the second exile. The monks in these monasteries were summoned for a meeting where they were forced to sign documents renouncing the Dalai Lama and separatism.” In occupied Tibet, any sign of loyalty to the Dalai Lama can be met with arrests, lengthy sentences, torture, violent crackdowns and ‘re-education’ programmes. Despite 70 years of China’s oppressive occupation, Tibetans remain fiercely loyal to their spiritual leader. China strongly criticises the Dalai Lama both inside and outside Tibet. It accuses him of seeking to rule Tibet and being a “splittist” who seeks Tibetan independence. His image is banned inside Tibet and Tibetans may be jailed for calling for his long life or publicly praising him. In jail, as well as in religious institutions, Tibetans are frequently ordered to denounce the Dalai Lama.

The Chinese Communist Party’s control over Tibetan religion, culture and identity is all pervasive. The regulation over monasteries and monastic life goes back to 2012 when Chen Quanguo announced that government or party officials would be stationed in almost all monasteries permanently, and that in some cases they would have the senior rank and pay of officials in the provincial-level government. Over the years, the Chinese state has promulgated various regulations to bring Tibetan

monasteries and monastics under tighter control of the state, including oversight of financial affairs of monasteries. Controls on Tibetan Buddhist monasteries was tightened in June 2022 with the coming into force of China’s “Measures for the Financial Management of Religious Activity Sites.” This legal instrument, to control the finances of religious activity sites replaced the “Measures on the Supervision and Management of Financial Affairs for Religious Activities (Trial)” promulgated in 2010. Religion is one of the main targets of the Chinese government, which promotes a complete Sinicization of Tibet. Monastic institutions, monasteries, and nunneries are kept under the strict control of the authorities. Innumerable monks and nuns have been forced to disrobe and to live their lives as commoners, surrendering their rights to further practice Buddhism or to promote it.

The other related development of concern in Tibet in recent years is the forced recruitment of Tibetans into the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Recently, China issued instructions to their senior commanders to induct at least one soldier from each Tibetan family and turn them loyal towards the country as well as keeping a check on their families. This recruitment started after Chinese aggression in Galwan in eastern Ladakh in 2020 and has continued since then, with substantial resistance and resentment amongst the affected families. Inputs suggest that there are 7,000 active Tibetan military personnel in the PLA, of which around 1,000 Tibetans, including about 100 females, enrolled in Special Tibetan Army Units. Last year, reports also indicated that the PLA was actively recruiting Tibetans and Nepalis from the Tibet Autonomous Region who are well-versed in Hindi for both interpretation and intelligence-gathering jobs along the Line of Actual Control. Tragically, the PRC does not bother too much about international treaties and legal obligations to protect the human rights of Tibetans or for that matter any of its ethnic minorities. The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1997 is annually celebrated on 26 June. Additionally, the PRC signed the Convention Against Torture (CAT) in 1986 and ratified it in 1988. Therefore, China is obligated by the CAT to ensure the prevention and elimination of torture. Yet in Tibet, illegally occupied by China, torture is widespread and routinely used by the Chinese authorities against dissent, including by monks. The challenge for Tibetans is that to retain their identity and culture, there is only one the Dalai Lama who is the locus of this activity. Given the Dalai Lama’s age and health, it is therefore imperative to think of the future of the Tibetan community worldwide and the need for an alternative leadership. Most importantly, as China prepares to appoint its own Dalai Lama, the future of the institution needs to be preserved outside Chinese control. Unless this is done, Tibet and Tibetans will continue to be under the Chinese jackboot.

Source: https://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/monks-06262023173433.html
https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/world-news-china-offers- glimpse-of-tibetan-life-without-the-dalai-lama/385308

Tibet is at the bottom of the Freedom Index!

Three recent developments bring to bear global attention on the Tibetan issue starkly. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its Third Periodic Review report (6 March) notes that numerous issues related to human rights of theTibetan people require serious and urgent attention of the international community. A few days later Freedom House released its Freedom in the World Index for 2023 which ranks Tibet as the world’s least free country. Finally, and most importantly, are steps being taken by the Communist Party of China (CPC) to further intensify Sinicization of Tibet by launching a community consciousness programme to make Tibetans more aware of the CPC and its efforts to build a Tibet with Chinese characteristics. Every step that the CPC takes to Sinicize Tibet is being closely watched by the rest of the world, however, what matters is the degree to which action is taken to stem the onslaught against Tibetan culture and identity.

The CPC’s attempts to Sinicize Tibetans have taken one step ahead with the recent inauguration of a ‘Chinese Nation Community Consciousness Building Research Center’ in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) to promote “national consciousness” reports Tibet Rights Collective (TRC). According to State media, the centre will conduct research on how to promote “community consciousness” among Tibetans, focusing on promoting the Chinese government’s policies in the region. TRC reports that the “Three Consciences” education and propaganda group in Lang County, Nyingchi City, TAR aims to promote national consciousness, citizen consciousness, and rule of law consciousness, especially to Tibetan religious figures to control their thoughts and beliefs.

TRC reports that the campaign began in May 2022, as the CPC expressed concerned that Tibetan religious figures could be supporting the non-violent resistance movement and encouraging resistance to Chinese rule.Tibetan religious figures have been subjected to re-education programmes before, but this campaign is even more extreme. Monks and nuns are being asked to renounce and condemn traditional Tibetan Buddhist practices, including Tsethar, the practice of releasing animals from captivity, and Saka Dawa, a holy month of fasting and abstaining from meat. Many Tibetans see this as an attempt to strip them of their religious and cultural identity and force them to accept Chinese rule.

The “Three Consciousness Campaign” is the latest in a series of measures taken by the CCP to control the Tibetan population. The Chinese government has been accused of human rights abuses in the region, including torture, forced labour, and religious persecution.The campaign has sparked international condemnation, with human rights groups and governments calling on China to respect the rights of the Tibetan people. It is in this context that one must see the release of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’ ‘Concluding Observations’ in its Third Periodic Review of China on 6 March. This report underscores numerous issues related to human rights of the Tibetan people under the Chinese government which require serious and urgent attention of the international community. Tibet Press reports that these issues include a serious onslaught on Tibetan culture and religion, forced relocation of nomad communities, poor treatment, and exploitation of Tibetan culture,

and brainwashing and forced assimilation of Tibetan children through CPC-run boarding schools.

Near simultaneously, Freedom House, a global watchdog of human freedoms around the world released its report (9 March) titled “Freedom in the World 2023 Report” which ranks Tibet as “World’s least-free country” along with South Sudan and Syria. The report has been successively released for the third year after similar Freedom House reports in 2021 and 2022 that Tibet has won the dubious distinction of being ranked at the bottom of community of nations. Freedom House in its report found that both Chinese and Tibetans living in Tibet lacked basic rights. However, the Chinese authorities are particularly rigorous in suppressing any signs of dissent among Tibetans, including manifestations of Tibetan religious beliefs and cultural identity, as per the news report.

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), a prominent Tibet advocacy group in the US and Europe, said, “After more than six decades of illegal occupation, China has turned Tibet into the world’s least-free country…. With Tibet once again at the bottom of Freedom House’s global freedom scores, it’s imperative that the global community take action to resolve the decades-long conflict in Tibet”. The ICT also mentioned about the bipartisan bill which was recently presented by Democratic and Republican representatives of US for passing “Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Conflict Act” which acknowledges Tibet as an ‘unresolved’ issue and makes it an official US policy that China must resume talks with Dalai Lama to determine Tibet’s legal status under the international law.

The world has witnessed a “return of Mao’s Cultural Revolution” in Tibet since Xi Jinping took over as Chinese President. His openly expressed aim of wiping out Tibet’s distinct cultural and social identity by assimilating Tibetans into a “uniform” Chinese identity has given rise to fears among the Tibetan population and human rights activists globally.During his visit to Tibet in July 2021, Xi addressed Chinese administrative officials of Tibet and local Communist cadres calling on them to take necessary measures to convert Tibetan Buddhism into a ‘Buddhism with Chinese Characteristics’. His call for attack on the religious faith of Tibetans exposed the failure of Chinese authorities to “tame and discipline the Tibetans even 70 after their colonial rule over Tibet”.

The UN Committee also mentions China’s ongoing campaign of putting an end to the traditional lifestyle of Tibetan nomads who regularly migrate along with their yaks, sheep, and cows with changing seasons. These nomads account for about one-third of original Tibet’s six million population.Chinese authorities have been forcing Tibetan nomads to sell off their animals and settle into designated, small, and newly developed crowded settlements where a strong Chinese surveillance system can keep them under close watch, as per the news report.In the report, the UN Committee has highlighted “coercive labour programs implemented in Tibet and a systematic ban on the use of the Tibetan language.” The report has particularly focused on “the Chinese government’s extensive resettlement policy and forced assimilation of Tibetan children at state-run boarding schools.”

This concern gained international momentum in recent years after  reports  from occupied Tibet about hundreds of thousands of Tibetan children, being forcibly taken
away from their families and being admitted to residential schools which are run by the CPC cadres.Tibetan Youth Congress leader Gonpo Dhundup notes that Xi Jinping is also using a similar way to convert future generations of Tibet who would look Tibetan in their physical appearance, but their brains and hearts will be programmed as “perfect communist cadres of China,” as per the Tibet Press report. The UN Committee report has called for independent international investigations into the current Tibetan situation. Tibetans around the world need to rally in support of their brethren in TAR and impress upon the world community to rapidly ostracise China for its human rights violations of Tibetans.

Source:  https://www.tibetrightscollective.in/news/chinese-nation-community-  consciousness-building-research-centre-inaugurated-in-occupied-tibet-2
Source:            https://www.newsweek.com/china-tibet-human-rights-culture-language-  1786558

This year, the “Tibet” government has set aside more than $1 billion for frontier security and defense.

This year, frontier defense and unification initiatives will cost the local Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) government alone more than 7 billion yuan (more than 1 billion US dollars). The Nyingchi-Ya’an portion of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, which is currently under building, will also receive about 54 billion yuan in investment, according to China’s official chinadaily.com.cn on March 27.

According to the story, which was based on information from Tibet Daily and the region’s Development and Reform Commission, the TAR government will spend more than 143 billion yuan ($21 billion) on 191 important initiatives this year.

It was claimed that 8.2 billion yuan would be used to enhance and secure people’s means of subsistence. According to the announcement, projects would build a local observatory, public institutions, public health facilities, and childcare infrastructure.

It was unclear if this involved opening more contentious residential schools with the express purpose of Sinicizing Tibetan children. In spite of harsh, repetitive critiques from UN human rights specialists in their most recent findings, China has supported these institutions.

More than 40% of the initiatives scheduled to start up and resume this year will receive more than 18 billion yuan in funding during the first quarter.

According to the story, among the roughly 54 billion yuan to be allocated to important infrastructure projects are those to refurbish Terminals 1 and 3 at Lhasa’s Gonggar Airport, a number of road and bridge projects, and the development and use of renewable energy in remote areas.

The growth of distinctive industries, such as renewable energy, green industries, tourist building facilities, highland agriculture, and livestock farming, was said to be allocated more than 71 billion yuan.

According to the report, more than 1.2 billion yuan will be spent on green civilization projects, such as waste and trash gathering and dumping systems for cities, as well as projects for security and preservation.

Reincarnation, the Dalai Lama, and China’s growing Tibet issue

Unveiled as the third-most significant spiritual figure in Tibetan Buddhism is a youth of Mongolian and American descent.

The tenth manifestation of the Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoché, the third-highest ranking spiritual figure in Tibetan Buddhism, has been revealed to be a young American-Mongolian boy.

The child, who is thought to be around eight years old, was reportedly seen for the first time taking part in a ritual alongside the 87-year-old Dalai Lama earlier this month in Dharamshala, in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

The Dalai Lama revealed the discovery of the tenth manifestation of the Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoché to 5,000 monks and women and 600 Mongolian disciples during this event.

In Mongolia, the news “provoked intense excitement among Buddhists, contempt among secular nationalists, and alarm among those who fear that it will provoke the wrath of the country’s enormous and powerful neighbor, China,” according to the paper. The news went almost “unnoticed” outside Buddhist and diplomatic circles.

According to The Times, the kid is now “at the center of a tense geo-political chess game being played out between powerful governments in east Asia,” and “the survival of one of the leading religions in the world may depend upon the outcome.”

How do people find spiritual leaders?
The Jetsun Dhampa is regarded as the head of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia and is a highly esteemed person in that religion. After the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, the infant, who allegedly has a sibling, is now acknowledged as the third most significant spiritual figure in the faith.

According to The Times, Tibetan Buddhists think that after death, a lama, or spiritual leader, “is reincarnated in a child, who is identified after extensive rituals and divinations.”

But according to CNBC, “such recognitions have frequently been a source of tension between Tibet and China,” as China asserts its authority over Tibet and tries to regulate the acceptance of reborn leaders. China has previously declared that only Buddhist spiritual leaders appointed by its own government’s authorized nominees will be recognized.

Will the action incense China?
Utpal Kumar, the editorial director for First Post, claims that the acknowledgment of the tenth Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche has left the Xi Jinping government “stumped.” Nobody would be “surprised,” he continued, if China tried to coordinate a media effort to make sure that the next Dalai Lama has Beijing’s approval while exerting pressure on nations like India and Mongolia to not indulge such “Tibetan ‘fancies'”.

Chinese rule over Tibetan Buddhism’s spiritual authorities has a lengthy past. The Panchen Lama, the second-highest Buddhist spiritual figure, was abducted by the government in 1995 when he was only six years old, according to The Washington Post. “He hasn’t been seen since, nor has his family.”

Tibetan Buddhism specialist Robbie Barnett of SOAS University of London told The Times that China might interpret the news of the new Jetsun Dhampa as a threat to their historical claim to unilateral discretion in selecting lamas. “These things can cascade into conflict with China, which could penalize Mongolia in harmful ways,” he continued.

The Dalai Lama traveled to Mongolia on several occasions in 2016. According to The Times, Beijing retaliated against the trips by “cancelling diplomatic meetings, delaying loans, and closing the border” with the nation. Subsequently, bowing to pressure, the Mongolian government declared that he would not be allowed to enter the nation once more.

Due in part to “fear of China, based on its responses in the past,” according to Barnett, who also emphasized “the extraordinary predicament of landlocked states that are completely vulnerable to powerful neighbors,” Mongolia’s government has not yet responded to the most recent events.

Who is going to succeed the Dalai Lama?
According to The Times, the debut of the new Jetsun Dhampa “may serve as a kind of practice run for an even more significant reincarnation: that of the Dalai Lama himself.”

According to The Washington Post, the replacement has historically been “chosen by a group of disciples close to the previous holder of the title, who seek the reborn person of the Dalai Lama after his death.” However, the Chinese government has hinted that it may choose its own Dalai Lama in an effort to censor his views and beliefs.

According to the Dalai Lama, his replacement may not come from land under Chinese rule but rather from one of the nations that practice Tibetan Buddhism, such as India, Nepal, Bhutan, or Mongolia. The Times reported that such a development “would breathe new life into the faith, but put the under consideration nation in the sights of China’s government.”

The Observer reported in 2021 that he believes “discussions of his death are premature” because he believes he will live to be 113 years old. However, there is already a “power struggle” going on over who gets to choose his rebirth.

According to Robert Barnett, a Tibetan scholar, “we are looking at the highly likely situation that when the 14th Dalai Lama dies, there will be two Dalai Lamas named in his place.” “One chosen in accordance with the directives left behind by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and one selected by the Chinese Communist party.”

India-China relations to see a rockier turn with Dalai Lama unveiling US-born reincarnation

The Dalai Lama’s move to anoint the 10th Khalkha has caught Beijing by surprise; experts say the decision is an internal affair of the Dalai Lama-led Tibetan religious order

The Dalai Lama

Tibetans have always zealously guarded their religious hierarchy, something China considers to be its private preserve.

In a recent interview with Japan’s Kyodo News, Penpa Tsering, president of the Tibetan government-in-exile, warned China not to interfere in selecting a successor to the Dalai Lama, the current spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists. “No government should have a role in this spiritual matter and I think it is much wiser for China not to interfere,” he cautioned.

Tsering’s words could well have been prophetic. On March 27, the 14th Dalai Lama, the frail 87-year-old, announced the reincarnation of the third-most-senior Lama or spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and the head of the Gelugpa school in land-locked Mongolia.

The tenth Khalkha, Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche, was anointed by the Tibetan spiritual head in a ceremony attended by some 600 Mongolians, who travelled to Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh to attend an event that has huge ramifications in this running battle between the Dalai Lama and the Communist Party of China, and for the survival of Tibetan Buddhism.

While India may have no role to play in this decision, Beijing believes that by giving shelter to the Dalai Lama, New Delhi is interfering in Beijing’s internal matters. China openly meddles in all matters related to the Dalai Lama and Tibetans, and an already strained bilateral relationship between India and China may get even bumpier.

“I don’t think the Chinese would be surprised by this decision. His Holiness (the Dalai Lama) has said different things about his successor, including a lady successor, at different times, so it is not for anyone to decide who will be taught the scriptures, other than the head of the order,” Gautam Bambawale, former Indian ambassador to China, told Moneycontrol.

Calling the Dalai Lama’s decision on Monday an ‘ace of spades’, the ex-Indian envoy to Beijing said that neither the Indian government nor the people of India have any role to play in the choice, which is strictly speaking, not tantamount to announcing a successor. “I don’t think there is any reason for either China, the US or any other country to object because it is purely an internal decision of the Tibetan Buddhist order,” he said.

The Dalai Lama believes that he will live up to the biological age of 113 and has no immediate plans to announce his reincarnation as head of the influential Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Communist Party of China has traditionally called him a ‘splittist’ as President Xi Jinping pursues his policy of Sinicisation of Tibet with Beijing abrogating the power of official reincarnations of high lamas of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Yet, at this advanced age, the cancer survivor managed to stump Beijing with his decision to anoint the tenth Khalkha this week.

US-born Lama

According to unofficial reports, the eight-year-old boy, who was born in the US in 2015, was anointed as the Tenth Khalka in a ceremony at Mongolia’s Gandantegchinlen Monastery, the country’s biggest monastery, at the end of February. It was attended by the Abbot of the monastery and the high Lamas of Mongolia.

However, experts state that the eight-year-old was accorded legitimacy after he was declared a reincarnation on March 8, at the culmination of the exercise that the Dalai Lama undertook when he visited Ulan Bator in 2016.

The tenth Khalkha is one of the twin boys named Aguidau and Achiltai Attanmar. He belongs to one of the richest business and political empires in Ulan Bator. The Dalai Lama institution in Dharamshala declined to comment over the real identity of the new Mongolian Tibetan leader as they feel he would be targeted by the Chinese regime.

Sandwiched between allies Russia and China, Mongolia has played a key role in the Dalai Lama Institution — often under intense pressure — as it was the Mongolian King Altan Khan who offered the title of Dalai Lama (Ocean of wisdom) to the third Gelugpa, Lama Sonam Gyatso, who in return conferred the title of `Brahma’, the king of religion, on Khan.

Former Indian ambassador to China Vijay Nambiar believes the nomination of the Khalka is a natural decision. “Given that China has taken unilateral decisions regarding Tibet, the Dalai Lama’s decision is to be expected. It is an essential part of the autonomy of the Tibet religious hierarchy,” he told Moneycontrol.

Nothing to do with New Delhi

Asked if it could lead to worsening of already-strained bilateral relations between India and China, he said that while “it would tighten relations between India and China, New Delhi has nothing to do with this decision, which is an independent one.”

China, Nambiar said, has nominated its own Panchen Lama as the man to succeed the Dalai Lama, “but let us also remember that the Dalai Lama has in the past said that he may not have a successor so let us not see this appointment as necessarily his successor.”

Tibetan exiles have traditionally worried that China might just simply appoint its own successor. In 1995, after the Dalai Lama named a boy in Tibet as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama, the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, China put that boy under house arrest and installed another in his place. Many Tibetans spurn the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama as a fake.

That the Dalai Lama’s decision could have surprised China is being attributed to the fact that Beijing is yet to offer a reaction a full 24 hours after the anointment.

According to a tibetologist, contemporary Tibet shows signs of development.

According to a scholar at the China Tibetology Research Center, the industrialization of Tibet represents Chinese urbanization, and the growth of Tibet and ethnic groups has always been a top priority for the central government.

According to a China Daily piece written by Kelsang Drolma, the central government established a strong base and provided the legal assurance for Tibet’s development by implementing steps for the freedom of social output.

According to the tibetologist, Tibet is currently a communist society where all employees have identical rights and independence in all facets of life.

The Communist Party of China has led the Chinese people, including members of all ethnic groups, in promoting socialist modernization and adopting a modernization path with Chinese characteristics based on the reality of the situation since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, particularly since the launch of reform and opening-up, according to the article.

The development of Tibet has progressed in the right path and over time acquired its own traits. The economic framework of Tibet has experienced a significant change with the long-term backing of the central government and the help of other regions, according to Kelsang Drolma.

The scholar also mentioned how Tibet’s economic foundation is steadily getting better. More than 90% of the population lived as serfs and were subject to extreme economic abuse prior to Tibet’s calm independence in 1951. The Tibetan people were guided by the central government in achieving development through communist industrialization practices, which enabled them to escape destitution and seek high-quality development, in order to improve the situation.

By ensuring that all 74 counties in Tibet, the only contiguous province in China that is plagued by poverty, were lifted out of poverty by the end of 2019, the poverty alleviation program helped the Party realize its promise to leave no one behind on the path to moderate prosperity. According to the story, this also assisted China in achieving its first centennial objective of creating an all-around fairly affluent society.

The Qinghai-Tibet and Sichuan-Tibet roads were built after Tibet was peacefully freed, significantly reducing the distance between Tibet and the rest of the nation. According to Kelsang Drolma in the story, the opening of new schools gave the inhabitants of the region a window into a world of contemporary education.

It further stated that these democratic changes made in the wake of Tibet’s independence contributed to the toppling of the previous order and allowed the Tibetan people to live with respect, practice their freedom of action, and embrace contemporary lifestyles in a communist democratic nation. Today, their requirements are fulfilled and their rights are safeguarded by national laws and rules.

More than 80% of Tibet’s budget is spent on enhancing people’s lives in order to increase the feeling of gain and contentment of the Tibetan people. In actuality, the standard of living for Tibetans has been rising more quickly than the national and central-western averages.

The piece claims that the improvement of healthcare, education, and other areas has particularly enhanced the material and spiritual well-being of the Tibetan people. According to the researcher, Tibetan cultural texts written in the Tibetan script are permitted to be disseminated not only through books and classrooms but also through television and the internet thanks to laws and regulations regarding the protection and development of ethnic languages and scripts included in China’s Constitution.

The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau has the hardest topography and most peculiar species spread in the entire globe. The Tibetan central government has been encouraging environmentally friendly and sustainable growth in order to preserve this beautiful land. According to Kelsang Drolma, it has also started massive environmental protection initiatives, such as converting farmlands into woods and meadows, and given model funding support for Tibet’s green growth.

According to the researcher, Tibet is indeed making significant progress toward modernization that is in tune with nature and adheres to the new Tibet governance policy of the central government, which upholds the Party’s leadership, the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and the system of regional ethnic autonomy while fostering ethnic unity.

Tibet had the longest streak of double-digit GDP development in the nation at the end of 2017, at 24 years. The traditional barriers to industrial development have been removed, green development enabled by industrial empowerment has accelerated, digital industrialization has evolved rapidly, and technological innovations have become a driver of the region’s development as a result of Tibet’s increased focus on high-quality development since 2018, according to Kelsang Drolma.

The scholar went on to say that while Tibet’s development successes were made possible by the cooperation and diligence of all the ethnic groups residing in the independent region, Tibet’s industrialization serves as an excellent illustration of what the Chinese modernization model is capable of.

Who is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism

Dalai Lama, who is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, has appointed a Mongolian monk named Khamba Lama as the head of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia. This move is seen as a strategic move by the Dalai Lama to challenge China’s influence in the region, as Mongolia is a close neighbor and ally of China.

China has long been sensitive to any activities that it perceives as challenging its authority in Tibet, which it considers a part of its territory. The appointment of a Mongolian head of Tibetan Buddhism is likely to be viewed by China as a provocative act, as it could be seen as an attempt to expand the influence of Tibetan Buddhism beyond Tibet and into China’s sphere of influence.

The article also notes that the Dalai Lama has been in exile in India since 1959, and has been a vocal critic of China’s policies in Tibet, including its treatment of Tibetan culture and religion. The Dalai Lama has also been a strong advocate for Tibetan autonomy, which China has consistently opposed.

Overall, the appointment of a Mongolian head of Tibetan Buddhism by the Dalai Lama is likely to be seen as a move that will further strain China’s already tense relations with the Tibetan spiritual leader and his supporters.