Archive | November 2010

US Report Says Religious Repression High in Tibet

 

The United States Department of States released its International Religious Freedom Report 2010 on November 17, 2010.

In its reference to Tibet, the report says religious repression remained high.  It says,

“During the reporting period, the level of religious repression in the TAR and other Tibetan areas remained high, especially around major religious holidays and sensitive anniversaries. The government remained wary of Tibetan Buddhism and the central role traditionally played by the Dalai Lama and other prominent Tibetan Buddhist leaders. The heads of the major schools of Tibetan Buddhism–including the Karmapa, Sakya Trizin, Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, and Gyalwa Menri Trizin–all reside in exile and maintain close ties with the Dalai Lama. Chinese authorities often associated Tibetan Buddhist monasteries with pro-independence activism.

“Government control over religious practice and the day-to-day management of monasteries and other religious institutions continued to be extraordinarily tight since the spring 2008 outbreak of widespread protests and unrest in Tibetan regions. Monks and nuns reported that government restrictions continued to interfere with their ability to carry out the teaching and practice of Tibetan Buddhist religious traditions. These restrictions included forcing monks and nuns to undergo extensive “patriotic education” in monasteries and nunneries that included significant amounts of “legal education” which detracted from religious studies. In patriotic education sessions, authorities often forced monks and nuns to denounce the Dalai Lama and to study materials praising the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the socialist system. Monks and nuns fled from their monasteries and nunneries because they faced expulsion for refusing to comply with the education sessions. Overall numbers of monks and nuns in monasteries and nunneries remained at significantly lower levels than pre-March 2008.”

The International Religious Freedom report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998.

The full text of the Tibet section of the report can be seen on the State Department’s website.

President Bush Says He Told China’s Leaders not to Fear the Dalai Lama

Former American President, George W. Bush, has revealed his conversation with Chinese President Hu Jintao in which he had said China’s leaders should not fear the Dalai Lama.

In his much-awaited memoir, Decision Points, which was released on November 9, 2010, Bush says he met His Holiness the Dalai Lama five times during his presidency and “found him to be a charming, peaceful man.” He added, “I told China’s leaders they should not fear him.”

Bush also talks about his conversation with President Hu in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 during which he told the Chinese leader about his decision to attend the ceremony to bestow the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama. President Bush said he told President Hu that he would attend the ceremony (that took place subsequently on October 17, 2007 in Washington, D.C.) “as a measure of my respect for the Dalai Lama.”

Bush writes at some length about his meetings with both President Jiang Zemin and President Hu Jintao and how he worked to improve US-China relations.

Following is the excerpt from the book relating to Tibet and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

“At the 2007 APEC summit in Sydney, I told President Hu that I planned to attend a ceremony where the Dalai Lama would receive the Congressional Gold Medal. the Buddhist leader was a source of distress for the Chinese government, which accused him of stirring up separatists in Tibet. I met with the Dalai Lama five times during my presidency, and found him to be a charming, peaceful man. I told China’s leaders they should not fear him. “This is not meant as a slap at China,” I said, “but as a measure of my respect for the Dalai Lama and for the U.S. Congress. You know my strong belief in religious freedom.”

“This is a politically sensitive issue in China,” President Hu replied. “…It will draw a very strong reaction from the Chinese people.” What he meant was that it would draw a strong reaction from the government, which did not want me to be the first American president to appear with the Dalai Lama in public.

“I’m afraid that I will have to go to that ceremony,” I said. “

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