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Tibet in Review

The Role Tibetan Buddhism is Anticipated to Play if CCP Embraces Traditional Religions


Xi Jinping is reportedly endeavoring to embrace Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism as a tool to resurrect morality in a country where today run-over child is left dying in the street; harmful chemicals are mixed in baby milk; the power-abuse of the party officials is customary as wearing ties with their new attire; military ranks openly sold by higher ranking officers, and where money has become the new Mao. While the Party is still on guard against Tibetan Buddhism due to Tibetan’s loyalty towards the Dalai Lama, Benjamin Lim, a Beijing based journalist for Reuters who has reported the recent article about Xi Jinping’s hope in the traditional religions—which inspired this feature story—tells Tibet in Review that he believes this situation might change in the future, partly because of who Xi Jinping is as a person. “I think Xi Zhungxun had feelings for the Dalai Lama; that is a public knowledge. Xi Jinping on the other hand is a resilient son and I don’t think he will betray his father,” Lim says. In his September 29th article, Lim wrote that Xi told party members to be more tolerate towards the religions. Kalsang Gyaltsen Bapa, a credible China/Tibet analyst in Dharamsala and MP of Exile Parliament, says he would not be surprised if Xi Jinping was trying to use traditional religions. “Looking at the way China is trying to achieve its so-called China’s dream, I think they might be seeing the precedent-methods are not working for it,” Mr. Bapa tells Tibet in Review over the phone, speaking in Tibetan. “These signs have been revealed through their recent speeches. So, it is not impossible that this is true. I feel the sources could be reliable.” Mr. Lim said that his sources were people in the knowing and party members, and that they requested for anonymity. While hardliner party officials like Zhu Weiqun, the current head of the committee that oversees minorities and religious affairs in China, has been insisting that party members should not follow religion, the burning desire of spirituality in China is growing, according to many reports. Unofficial reports estimate there are as many as 300 to 500 million people in China following Buddhism. “Even Jiang Zemin, when he met Taiwan’s top monk, he recited a Buddhist sutra,” reminds Lim. “I think we will see this more and more.” He said that in Beijing, the number of Chinese going to Tibetan Buddhist temple is growing every year and that are more than ever Tibetan “living Buddhas” permeating throughout China today. This becomes the anti-religious officials in Beijing’s main concern. In 2011 Zhu said that the Dalai Lama’s influence through Buddhism in Tibet would undermine the unity of party. "It is not accidental that Party committees in Xinjiang and Tibet, where the anti-secession struggle is the most acute, take a clear-cut stand that Party members shall not believe in religion" Zhu said. In June this year, he made a similar statement. But Lim argues that Xi doesn’t share such views. One of the example Lim gives is that in 2006 when he was the party secretary of Zhejiang Province, “Xi went out of his way to host the first world Buddhist Forum.” According to Lim, Xi’s recent comments were made during the “ideological work” meeting in Beijing, which was held on August 19 for two days. Xinhua reported about the meeting and said Xi called for “greater initiative in publicity and ideological work to ensure correct political direction” but it did not mention anything about his comments on religion. Lim believes that Buddhism will become the most popular religion in China because of the mere fact that Daoism is hard to understand and Confucianism is not a real religion. If the Party is able to recognize the needs of traditional religions playing roles in rebuilding the morality, says Kalsang Gyaltsen Bapa, it will help establish a stable and harmonious society and create a path for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet. The Dalai Lama, who is viewed as an int…

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