Tibetan Buddhism must be tailored to fit Chinese society, says Xi Jinping

Published (HKT): 2020.08.30 06:57

Tibetan society must be part of the “collective consciousness of the Chinese people” and its religion must be “Sinicized,” according to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Speaking at a two-day forum on governing Tibet, Xi said that the Chinese Communist Party must adopt a “governance strategy of a new era” that emphasized national unity, cultural solidarity, and integrating Buddhism with socialism.

“It is necessary to actively guide Tibetan Buddhism to adapt to the socialist society and promote the Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism,” Xi said.

The party will build an “impregnable fortress” to protect stability by implementing ideological training in all levels of schooling, Xi said, describing it as “planting seeds of patriotism into the souls of every teenager.”

“People of every ethnic group will come to identify with their proud motherland, the Chinese people, Chinese culture, the Chinese Communist Party and socialism with Chinese characteristics,” he said.

Tibet Party Secretary Wu Yingjie also reportedly made strong statements denouncing the region’s traditional Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile for more than 60 years.

“We must make people consciously cut ties with the 14th Dalai and Dalai organization, maintain a clear stand for the unification of the motherland and strengthen national unity,” Wu said, according to a state media report.

Wu also stressed that the party should teach people of all ethnic groups to “thank the party for its kindness, listen to the party, and follow the party.”

The International Campaign for Tibet, a non-profit advocacy group based in the United States, said Wu’s latest comments show the Chinese authorities’ “frustration at their lack of legitimacy among Tibetans.”

Tibetans remain firmly loyal to the Dalai Lama and accept that only he has authority over the selection of his eventual successor, the campaign said.

Analysts have interpreted the latest moves by Chinese Communist Party leaders as a bid to assert dominance amid increased tensions at the China-India border.

Wang Yang, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, visited Tibet and gave a speech in July, while Foreign Minister Wang Yi also toured the autonomous region earlier this month.

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