China offers glimpse of Tibetan life without the Dalai Lama – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-06-16 03:45:00 –

Lhasa, China >> Dozens of Tibetans with crutches roam the shrine in traditional Buddhist rituals, with lively winds rippling yellow prayer flags. The red flag across the street details the new belief system of China’s ruling Communist Party.

“The new socialist ideology with the features of China Xi Jinping, the whole and all nationalities Party is a guide to fight for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese,” said sign is declared in the Tibetan and Chinese characters, his traces Mentioning Chinese leaders who tried to enter in almost every aspect of life throughout the vast county.

Recently, it has increasingly embraced religion both in central China and its surroundings such as Tibet. The party sinicizes Tibetan life through a program that separates Tibetans from their language, culture, and especially their dedication to the Dalai Lama, a traditional Tibetan spiritual leader who has lived in exile since 1959. I’m pressing for a program to do.

In the sunny courtyard of Jokhang Temple, one of the most sacred places in Tibetan Buddhism, the monk Rakpa said the Dalai Lama was not its spiritual leader. When asked whether Who, he said, “Xi Jinping”.

The Associated Press took a rare and tightly controlled media tour to Tibet, emphasizing what the government said of the region’s social stability and economic development after 70 years of Communist rule. Stops included monasteries, temples, schools, poverty alleviation projects, and tourist destinations.

This seems to reflect the party’s confidence that it has won the global battle for public opinion over Tibet. As a countermeasure, Tibetan rights groups continue to pledge allegiance to the Communist Party, reporting frequent detention, economic alienation, the existence of suffocating security, and strong pressure to assimilate with the majority of Han Chinese in China. I will.

Tibetans in exile have been virtually independent for centuries, taking advantage of their natural resources while China is trying to wipe out Tibetan Buddhist culture and language, and the Chinese are elsewhere in the country. He accuses him of encouraging him to move from the area to it. Beijing says Tibet has long been part of China, and Communists released hundreds of thousands of illiterate serfs when they overthrew the dominant theocracy in 1951.

Security has been significantly strengthened since the widespread anti-government protests in 2008, just before the Beijing Summer Olympics, doubling efforts for economic development and reducing Buddhist influence. In Baj, a model village east of the capital Lhasa, traditionally dressed residents told foreign journalists how the poverty alleviation campaign changed their lives.

“As time has changed, people’s demands have changed. People used to need religious beliefs as a spiritual source, but now they don’t,” said accountant Tsering Yudron, 25. I am.

The government has pointed out that it has invested billions of dollars in roads, airports, railroads, schools and hospitals, and development has doubled life expectancy, bringing electrification, employment and opportunities to areas that have long been delayed. It states that it was done.

“Tibet has eradicated extreme poverty,” reads the 2019 Government Report on Tibet. “People are now living a better life and living happy. A brand new socialist Tibet has taken shape.”

The impact on traditional culture is enormous. Like Christians and Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists are increasingly “Chineseizing” their religion under a program advocated by Xi, China’s most authoritarian leader since Mao Zedong. I’m under pressure. Repression is less severe than the nearby Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, where mass imprisonment of Turkish Muslims is seen, but residents are under extreme pressure to monitor each other, and violations can result in long imprisonment. The rights group states.

Robert Barnett, a Tibetan scholar at SOAS University of London, said the party has evolved a system of dominating Tibetans through their beliefs. Especially since the protest in 2008, he said, the government has aimed to “penetrate the love of the Communist Party into the hearts of childhood Tibetans.” From campus to home, portraits of Xi hang from the walls of homes and temples, as did the Dalai Lama statue in the past.

“Tibetan Buddhism should be guided to adapt to socialist societies and developed in the context of China,” Xi said in a Tibetan-focused meeting in Beijing.

China increasingly condemned the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in the failure of a rebellion against Chinese rule in 1959, and in recent years abandoned his political role as head of the self-proclaimed Tibetan asylum government. The party banned all images of the Dalai Lama in 1996, removing exiled leaders from books and broadcasts in an attempt to quell the protests that occur every ten years, in most villages, monasteries and nuns. We have set up an executive.

The Dalai Lama states that it seeks only meaningful autonomy under Chinese rule, but Beijing has accused him of seeking support for terrorism and the division of Tibet from China, with his representative. All contact was blocked.

As the Dalai Lama soon turned 86, more and more attention was paid to the issue of reincarnation, as his inheritance, or traditional beliefs, hold. Successors are traditionally identified by senior monk disciples based on spiritual signs and visions. But China says that only Beijing can appoint the next Dalai Lama at a ceremony to select from candidates approved by the central government using a gold bottle.

“The rebirth of living Buddhas, including the Dalai Lama, must comply with Chinese laws and regulations, and follow religious ceremonies and historical customs,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in 2019.

At the Tibetan Buddhist University, built by the government on the outskirts of Lhasa, more than 900 students study religion along with politics, law, computer science, Chinese and Tibetan. Among them are eight monks aged 7 to 11 who are reborn or recognized as “living Buddhas.”

Chalk art, celebrating the 70th anniversary of China’s military takeover of Tibet, adorns the wall next to a portrait of Xi in a class taught in Tibetan.

“We must stick to the party’s leadership on religious issues and the Chineseization of religion. We must continue to adapt religion to China’s socialist system,” said the university. Said Zhang Liang Tian, ​​a senior Communist Party executive.

Diviesh Anand, Dean of International Relations at the University of Westminster in London, said China has built a network of schools and institutions throughout Tibet to create a “domestic version” of Tibetan Buddhism to counter leadership in exile. He said he was about to manufacture.

According to Anand, the goal is to change the core of Tibetan Buddhism by causing confusion about the Dalai Lama and his leaders, and ultimately dismantling his legacy as the “best national leader.” is.

Meanwhile, China has sought to promote other spiritual figures, especially the Panchen Lama, the second-ranked Tibetan Buddhist figure. The boy, recognized as the new Panchen by the Dalai Lama, soon disappeared and Beijing created its own successor, but its legitimacy is highly contested.

Zhang, a senior member of the Tibetan Buddhist University, said the Dalai Lama “betrayed his country” while the Panchen Lama “loved the country and religion.”

Barnett said that close control of the school encouraged future generations of Tibetans to “eliminate the possibility of people listening to the Dalai Lama if they can hear what the Dalai Lama says. It is a campaign to “do”. Still, China believes it needs religious leaders to act on their behalf to rule Tibet, Burnett said.

“It’s all about a long-term historic project to rule the next Dalai Lama, even if you can’t rule it,” he said.

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