Lhasa [Tibet]: Having faced failure in projecting its own appointees as Tibet’s spiritual leaders, China is now attempting to influence the appointment of the next Dalai Lama and forge an acceptance of the “selected” leader among Buddhist countries through diplomacy, a report said.
Chinese efforts on fake narrative-building with a focus on bringing out the positives of Chinese policies in illegally occupied Tibet and manipulating historical facts to justify its occupation of Tibet reveals its craving for ‘legitimacy’, the report by Tibet Rights Collective, an advocacy and policy research group said.
The report noted the failure of China in controlling Tibetan spiritual institutions by citing the example of the appointment of the 11th Panchen Lama.
After the 10th Panchen Lama’s death in 1989, the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso had identified 6-year-old Gedhun Choeki Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama. Subsequently, the People’s Liberation Army abducted the 6-year-old Lama and his family, with their whereabouts still unknown to this day.
Instead, Gyaincain Norbu was recognized as the “official” 11th Panchen Lama by the Chinese government in 1995 – a move since then decried by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the Tibetan community alike.
Gyaincain Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama is not seen on posters around Tibet, with his predecessor the 10th Panchen Lama being more visible, the report said, adding that this, in turn, reflects that the Tibetans have not exactly accepted his appointment as legitimate.
China will now aggressively focus on controlling the reincarnation process of the current and the 14th Dalai Lama by building global credibility and support around the same through its Faith and Buddhist Diplomacy on the foreign front, the report said, adding, at the same time, ramping up its efforts to exercise greater control over Tibet on the domestic front.
In this regard, China has employed the Buddhist Association of China (of which Gyaincain Norbu also serves as the Vice President) to hold the World Buddhist Forum since 2006. The last known World Buddhist Forum was held in 2018 in Fujian (south-east China) with over 1000 Buddhist scholars, monks, and representatives from over 55 countries, the report said.
Notably, since the Forum’s inception in 2006, the most revered Tibetan Buddhist, the Dalai Lama, has been excluded from participating in it while being called a “terrorist” and a “separatist” at the Forum’s meetings.
Similarly, China is also using its proxy Pakistan for conducting covert Buddhist and Faith Diplomacy with Pakistan hosting an International Conference and Art Festival for promoting Social Cohesion and Interfaith Harmony in March this year.
China has also stepped up its Buddhist outreach to Sri Lanka, which remains a major Buddhist nation and is also being targeted by Beijing under its Debt-Trap Diplomacy, the report further said.
As China builds up its global coalition for its notorious plans, nations believing in a rules-based order and the ideals of freedom, democracy, liberty, equality, and fraternity should come together as an opposing force against Beijing, the report concluded. (ANI)