By Vijay Kranti
IANS | September 18
Going through the Chinese establishment hysteria at the sight of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the photos of the Dalai Lamas, President Xi Jinping’s efforts to occupy the Tibetan religion from within appear to be another repeat of Don Quixote.
Some contradictions are quite difficult to understand, especially when they reflect fears deeply rooted in the conduct of powerful governments and their almighty leaders. The schizophrenic reactions of President Xi and his all-invasive Communist security apparatus at the mere sight of the Dalai Lama’s photo in the hands of their Tibetan subjects is a blatant example.
According to Chinese laws and rules, as practiced in Tibet today, owning the Dalai Lama’s photo is illegal and considered a “threat” to China’s national security. For this “crime”, a person can be sentenced up to seven years in prison in addition to losing basic privileges such as work, medical assistance and admission to school for children.
The Chinese government uses extreme profanity like “a wolf in a monk’s robe”, “bandit gang leader”, “a serf owner” and a “splitist” for the same Dalai Lama who is the winner of the award Nobel Peace Prize and has been at the top of international popularity charts for decades.
The most hilarious part of this contradiction is that President Xi announced to the world that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would have the exclusive rights to identify and install the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama after his death.
Latest news from Sichuan Province of China shows large contingents of the dreaded People’s Armed Police (PAP) and Public Security Bureau (PSB) agents rushed to Tibetan homes and temples in the city. from DzaWonpo to Kardze to confiscate photos of the Dalai Lama. .
By the first weekend of September, they arrested 121 Tibetans convicted of possessing the photos in print or on their cell phones. Those arrested included six monks from DzaWonpoGaden Shedrup monastery.
Police raids and similar arrests were reported in early March this year when troops from Snow Wolf Commandos, an elite PAP counterterrorism unit, raided homes, the old local house and the community temple. of DzaWonpo to search for and confiscate photos of the Dalai Lama.
When China occupied Tibet in 1951, its supreme spiritual leader and ruler Dalai Lama was only a teenager, 16 years old to be exact. China claims it was a “peaceful liberation” of Tibet, on the basis of a “17 point agreement” drafted by Beijing itself.
However, China’s supreme leader Mao and his powerful People’s Liberation Army (PLA) broke all promises they made to the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lama through this “Agreement”.
In 1959, when the Tibetan people rose up against their colonial masters, the PLA killed over 80,000 Tibetans, which forced the Dalai Lama to secretly flee to India. Despite 70 years of colonial control over Tibet and 62 years of absence of the Dalai Lama from Tibet, Chinese leaders have failed both to win the hearts of their Tibetan subject and to wean them from their deep faith in the spiritual leader.
In recent years, more than 150 Tibetans, mostly young people, monks and nuns have sacrificed themselves to express their desire for Tibetan freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama.
During the first four decades of the occupation of Tibet, the Chinese government tried all the tricks of Communist history to tame Tibetans. At the time of the occupation in 1951, they promised Tibetans that they would respect their culture and not interfere with Tibet’s social and religious system.
In one of the 17 points, it was expressly promised that the CCP and the PLA would even pay for the âneedle or threadâ they took from the Tibetan people. But very soon Tibet was plunged into a situation of severe food shortage, soaring commodity prices and starvation as the PLA began to draw stocks of food to feed its ever-growing numbers of soldiers.
Things took a turn for the worse when Chairman Mao’s mad campaign “Great Leap Forward” plunged mainland China into severe drought, industrial failure and economic catastrophe.
The confiscation of land and property from monasteries and the indiscriminate murder of Tibetan Protestants have made matters worse. The anger of the Tibetan public resulted in a mass uprising in 1959 which was crushed with a heavy hand by the Chinese military. Ten years of cultural revolution following the “Great Leap” saw the almost total destruction of almost everything that represented Tibetan culture and identity. It was during this decade that Mao’s Red Guards worked diligently on the premise that a negative Tibetan faith in religion would make a perfect Chinese patriot.
The two campaigns resulted in 30 to 50 million unnatural deaths in China and the murder of an estimated 1.2 million Tibetans out of a total population of 6 million. This period marked the end of the faith which remained among the Tibetan masses in their colonial masters. It was only after the massive Tibetan uprising and anti-China public protests in 1987 and 1989 that Beijing’s rulers realized that it was impossible for them to kill the Tibetan people’s faith in Dharma Buddha and Dalai. Llama.
This led to Beijing’s new approach and policy of using religion as a tool to control Tibetan minds and hearts. In 1992 and 1995, Beijing officially organized religious exercises to find and install the reincarnations of two prominent Tibetan gurus, namely Karma Pa and Panchen Lama, who died in 1981 and 1989 respectively.
The CCP, which followed and promoted the late Chairman Mao’s belief that “religion is the opium of the masses,” appointed Lamas search committees under the general supervision of a top Communist leader each to find out the news. incarnations.
The committee, appointed to oversee the reincarnation of 16th Karma Pa, identified a seven-year-old boy, Apo Gaga. Under its new name UgyenTrinley Dorje, it was installed in a colorful ceremony to which China invited previous Karma Pa followers from Europe and America. The ceremony was broadcast live on China’s national television channels.
The other committee also identified a six-year-old boy, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, as the new incarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama in 1995. But Beijing rejected this boy and arrested him and his parents because the monks involved in the process had disclosed the information. to the Dalai Lama in exile and had sought his approval for this boy.
Angry Communist leaders installed another 5-year-old boy of their choice as the new âPanchen Lamaâ. Beijing has since refused to release the arrested boy or make any information about him public.
In reaction to this, the ordinary Tibetan masses also refused to accept the Chinese-sponsored Panchen Lama as a âfakeâ and a âChinese sidekickâ. As fate would have it, Karma Pa quietly escaped Chinese control on New Year’s Eve 2000 and landed in Dharamsala on January 5, 2000 to join the Dalai Lama in exile.
But these developments could not stop the communist rulers of Tibet from moving forward with their new policies on religion. Over the past three decades, Beijing has installed more than 870 incarnate lamas belonging to various traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
In September 2007, Beijing announced a new law that placed all reincarnations of Tibetan lamas, including the Dalai Lama, under the direct control of the CCP. In accordance with this law, the entire process of appointing committees for the search, identification of new incarnations and their installation will be the exclusive prerogative of the CPC which will execute this authority through its respective branches of the Buddhist Association. .
The Dalai Lama has warned the Chinese government against these plans.
Following a joint conference of all monks and scholars from various Tibetan Buddhist traditions in Dharamsala, he said: anyone, including those from the People’s Republic of China. “
Expressing full support for the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people, the US government last year passed a new law called “Tibetan Policy and Support Act-2020” which warns the Chinese government and its leaders against interference in the process. reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. .
The European Parliament also expressed support for the spiritual leader’s right to decide on his reincarnation and called on China “to respect the succession of the Dalai Lama in accordance with Tibetan Buddhist standards”.
But China still hopes that by installing a Dalai Lama of its choice after the death of the current Dalai Lama, it will be able to effectively control its Tibetan subjects. At the personal initiative of President Xi, aimed at establishing a “Buddhism with socialist values”, a massive campaign is underway in all the monasteries of Tibet, targeting and training monks in communist philosophy. In Tibetan schools too, the Tibetan language has been replaced by Mandarin as the main medium of learning. The history of Tibet and China, written from a Communist Chinese angle, is taught in Tibetan schools in the hope that a âpatrioticâ generation of Tibetans fully committed to China will take over.
But in view of the almost complete rejection of Beijing as the “Panchen Lama” by the Tibetan masses and the hysteria of the Chinese establishment at the sight of the photos of the Dalai Lama, President Xi’s efforts to occupy the Tibetan religion of the interior appear to be another repeat of Don Quixote. .