Leading organisations condemn China’s Buddhist bylaw

By Phurbu Thinley, Phayul, September 1, 2007

Dharamsala, India -- Four leading NGOs which recently teamed up for a joint Tibetan People’s Movement, in run up to the 2008 Beijing Games, Friday issued a protest statement condemning Communist China’s bylaw making selection of Tibetan reincarnate lamas subject to approval by the atheist state.

The protest statement comes a day before the stringent regulation actually goes into effect.

The order forbidding naming of any reincarnate lamas, called “Living Buddhas” in Chinese, without prior approval from Chinese Communist State will come into effect on September 1. The new regulations, titled Order No. 5 by the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), was issued on July 18 and bans naming of any reincarnate lama solely by traditional Tibetan Buddhist procedures.

Calling the regulation a clear violation of international legal guarantees of religious freedom and suppression of religious freedom in Tibet; Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA), Gu-Chu-Sum- Ex-political Prisoners Movement of Tibet, National Democratic Party of Tibet (NDPT) and Students for a Free Tibet, India (SFT) said, “Atheist Communist China has no obligation to interfere in the Tibetan Buddhist traditions” in their two-page statement.

The move by Communist state is seen by many as a design to undermine the influence of the Dalai Lama and other influential Tibetan Buddhist heads that are largely critical of Chinese rule over Tibet.

The statement upholds His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the supreme political and spiritual leader venerated by Tibetan people, and demands Chinese government to respect the same in the greater interest of China.

“The selection and recognition of reincarnate lamas is solely a Buddhist practice, and there is no way China can interfere in this ancient and unique Buddhist tradition for undue political gains over Tibet” the statement stated.

The spokesperson of the four organizations, Ven. Ngawang Woeber, President of GuchuSum said that they were working on a petition letter to be submitted to the Chinese Government and to concern institutions protesting the move by Chinese Government.

Ironically the religious bylaw by an atheist government comes into effect on the eve of Tibetan Democracy Day, commemorated by Tibetan exiles every September 2.

“We have great reserve of faith that such a fraudulent and repressive move by Communist State of China on peaceful spiritual practice would be met by condemnation by all other religious institutions of the world”, the statement says.

As Tibetans in Tibet continue to be under Communist Chinese regime, in exile, Tibetan political and spiritual leader, Dalai Lama has long introduced a modern democratic government-in exile for Tibetans.

With 2008 Beijing Games less than a year away, Communist Party is known to be tightly squeezing social life of Tibetan people in Tibet, especially spiritual aspects of Tibetan Buddhism in an ardent effort to undermine the very root that keeps Tibetan people strongly together.