China’s Panchen says Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism fully underway

The Chinese appointed 11th Panchen Lama. (Photo courtesy: ImagineChina)

(, Mar11’21) – Even as allegations that China is committing genocide in Xinjiang keeps growing louder across the world, Gyaltsen Norbu, China’s so-called 11th Panchen Lama, has made it clear that Tibetan Buddhism will adapt to a socialist society with Chinese characteristics and move towards sinicisation. Sinicisation is a euphemism used by China to assimilate non-Chinese ethnic peoples such as Tibetans and Uyghurs and their cultures through coercive campaigns.

Speaking in an interview with China’s official Xinhua news agency on the sidelines of the ongoing Two Sessions in Beijing, Gyaltsen Norbu, 31, has said it was his understanding of the current state of affairs that Tibetan Buddhism will adapt to the conditions of a socialist society with Chinese characteristics and move towards Sinicisation.

Tibetan Buddhism must also move forward in the direction of safeguarding the “unification of the motherland, promoting national unity, and promoting social stability in order to have a bright future,” the Mar 11 quoted Gyaltsen Norbu as saying, citing the Xinhua interview.

He has added that the position of members of religious committees at various levels should be in line with the “motherland and the people”, and the policies and guidelines of the party.

And as someone promoting Sinicisation of Tibetan Buddhism in the new era, he has said Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism were in the “best period of historical development”.

Gyaltsen Norbu is a member of China’s top political advisory body, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The report said he gave the interview in Mandarin to Xinhua earlier this week after speaking during its annual meeting in Beijing.

He is also a vice-president of the Buddhist Association of China and president of the association’s Tibet branch.

China selected Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama on Nov 29, 1995, some month after taking away six-year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima who had already been recognized by the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s top religious figure, as the authentic reincarnation of the late 10th Panchen Lama. It was meant to be a deliberate snub against the Dalai Lama and no one knows to this day the fate of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family.


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