Home | Articles | Listings | Community Noticeboard

Controversy over Tibet hots up ahead of Olympics

(Prince Charles is said to be skipping the Olympics this year to support the Dalai Lama. The [Communist] Pachen Lama has just made a rare appearance in Beijung. And mystery still surrounds the whereabouts of the Dalai Lama's own choice for Pachen Lama.)

A 17-year-old boy picked by China as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, Tibetan Buddhism’s second-highest figure, pledged his support for the Communist Party in a rare public appearance earlier this week according to the official Chinese Xinhua News Agency. (Feb 1st,08)

Gyaltsen Norbu paid a “formal visit” Thursday to China’s top legislator, Wu Bangguo, at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, the seat of China’s legislature.

The reason for the meeting was not immediately clear, but it took place amid increased sensitivity ahead of this summer’s Beijing Olympics over what critics say are China’s continued attempts to subvert Tibetan Buddhist culture and strengthen Beijing’s hold on the Himalayan region.

Norbu, the Communist protege, “vowed to support the (Communist Party of China’s) leadership and make more contributions to the Tibetan economy and social harmony by guiding more religious work to adapt to China’s socialist society,” Xinhua said.

Wu encouraged Norbu to “take responsibility to enhance China’s reunification and do more things that could benefit the country,” the official Chinese agency said.

In May 1995, the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled top spiritual leader, chose 6-year-old Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama. The boy and his family disappeared soon after and have not been heard from since. Months later, Beijing named Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama.

Human rights groups say Nyima, now 18, has been under house arrest, a claim China denies. Chinese officials say he and his family are being kept in a secret location for their protection.

Rights groups and Tibetan exiles are using the upcoming Aug. 8-24 Olympics as a platform to support their cause.

Many Tibetans say their territory was independent when Communist troops arrived in 1950 and the Dalai Lama has campaigned for autonomy to protect its culture. Beijing says Tibet has been part of China for centuries and accuses the Dalai Lama of agitating for independence.

According to pro-Tibetan groups, the Dalai Lama supports peaceful protests during the Olympics as a way to remind the Chinese public of government policies the 72-year-old Nobel Peace laureate says are eroding the region’s traditional Buddhist culture.

( Research from various sources by Sannyasnews)