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Ahead of New Year, China gets ‘Panchen Lama’ reassurance of active loyalty

(TibetanReview.net, Feb09’21) – Ahead of the coming Tibetan New Year celebrations, called Losar, on Feb 12, China’s top party official handling minority and non-party contacts has on Feb 8 met with Gyaltsen Norbu to receive reaffirmation of his promise of loyalty to Beijing.

Gyaltsen Norbu is the Chinese government-appointed 11th Panchen Lama, Tibet’s second most prominent religious figure, in a deliberate snub against the Dalai Lama who had already recognized some other six-year-old boy, named Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, in 1995 as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. The latter’s fate or whereabouts remain unknown to this day.

You Quan, a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, extended Spring Festival and Tibetan new year greetings to the Panchen Lama and people in the Tibetan Buddhism circle, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Feb 8.

Spring Festival, the Chinese lunar New Year celebrations, and Tibetan Losar fall on the same day this time, although their calendar systems are a bit different from each other as the latter takes into account the solar system as well.

You was reported to have also extended congratulations to the “Panchen Lama” on the progress he had made in various aspects and to have encouraged him to further his research on Buddhism.

China requires that Buddhist teachings, like in the case of other religions in the PRC, should be Sinicized through research and practice in the way socialism has been Sinicized by being qualified with so-called “Chinese characteristics”.

You has also asked the “Panchen Lama” to “actively safeguard national and ethnic unity”.

The “Panchen Lama” was stated to have dutifully assured You that “he would enhance his research on Buddhism, serve the believers and contribute to the ethnic unity, religious harmony, and people’s well-being in Tibet”.

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