Xi Jinping said, “Tibetan Buddhism should be guided in adapting to the socialist society and should be developed in the Chinese context”
Beijing: Tibet and the Xinjiang region have become prime targets of Sinicization and two assertions of Chinese President Xi Jinping about the regions would elicit a horselaugh.
According to a Xinhua report, on August 29, 2020 he said: “Tibetan Buddhism should be guided in adapting to the socialist society and should be developed in the Chinese context.” Xi was addressing in Beijing the seventh Central Symposium on Tibet Work, reported Tibet Press. The other was made on July 16, 2022, when Xi Jinping was on a visit to the Xinjiang region of China. He asked officials to step up efforts to uphold the principle that Islam in China must be Chinese in orientation and religions in China must adapt to the socialist society being pursued by the Communist Party of China.
Analysts say the CPC mandarins, with repressive measures, could make the Buddhists and Muslims of China fall in line but would certainly not succeed in winning over their hearts and minds, reported Tibet Press.
On September 21 in Beijing top leader of the CPC Wang Yang in a meeting with leaders of China Islamic Association asked the over 25 million Muslims of China to reorient Islam to Chinese conditions and implement fully the basic policy on religion of the CPC, maintaining the “correct political direction” and upholding the “banner of socialism;” really a rhetoric to clamp down of the freedom of religious practices.
The weight of facts is too heavy to make the hope of the leaders of the CPC to mould Buddhism and Islam, two of the largest faiths in the world, to suit the frame of the Communist Party of China a bit too ambitious.
Both Buddhism and Islam have survived and grown for far too many years, are spread in far too many countries and have far too many followers to be overwhelmed by the heresy of the CPC.
With about 400 million followers, Buddhism is today one of the largest religions in the world. Islam is the second largest religious community globally, with an estimated 1.8 billion followers.
By contrast, in 2022, CPC had a membership of 96 million. China itself has a population of 1.4 billion. Thus, not even 10 per cent of the Chinese people are members of the CPC, reported Tibet Press.
The odds are, therefore, too heavily stacked against the possibility of the Communist Party of China overwhelming either Buddhism or Islam even in the distant future.
It is anybody’s guess what CPC leaders mean by Buddhism moulding itself to the Chinese context, but it is nowhere near the basic principles of the faith as propounded by Buddha, reported Tibet Press.
To make Tibetan Buddhism fall in line, the Chinese authorities have destroyed monasteries, institutes of Buddhism and statues of Buddha in recent times. The most notorious of these was the destruction in July 2016 of Larung Gar, the largest Tibetan Buddhism institute in the world, reported Tibet Press.
In December 2021, a 99-foot statue of Maitreya Buddha at Gaden Namgyal Ling Monastery at Kham Drago along with 44 prayer wheels and thousands of prayer flags were destroyed. Another three-storey, 40-foot high, statue of Padmasambhava at a different monastery in Drago was destroyed in early January 2022.
The recent attacks on Buddhist culture in Tibet have been described as the revival of the notorious Cultural Revolution in an effort at Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism.
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All these are a mockery of the assertion of the Panchen Lama appointed by Beijing, Gyaltsen Norbu, at a speech at Lhoka city, in Shannan prefecture, in September 2022: “Tibetans are the happiest people in the world. Without the Communist Party of China, there would be no achievements made today, and without the Communist Party of China there would be no bright future. Therefore, we must be grateful to the party, listen to the party and follow the party.”
A main aim of this Sinicization is evident. With the advancing age of the 14th Dalai Lama, the Chinese are anxious to ensure that they foist on the Tibetans a Dalai Lama of their own choice after the demise of the 14th, reported Tibet Press.
The repression unleashed on the Uyghur of the Xinjiang region, adherents of the Islamic faith, is a sordid story that has been exposed in a report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that has described it as a crime against humanity.
More than one million people belonging to the ethnic Uyghur community have been imprisoned since 2017, and those not detained have been subjected to intense surveillance, religious restrictions, forced labour and forced sterilization. Significantly, the birth rate in the Xinjiang region has fallen below the national average in China since 2017.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by HW News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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