Monks and nuns ordered to be patriotic as uprising anniversary nears


(, Feb 20) — Ahead of the first anniversary of the Mar 14 Tibetan protests in Lhasa, the local Chinese government of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) revised the constitution of the Tibet Branch of the Buddhist Association of China (TBBAC), ordering monks and nuns to shun the Dalai Lama and keep away from separatist activities, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Feb 18. The revision was finalized at the 9th annual congress of the TBBAC from Feb 16 to 18 attended by 250 “lamas and nuns”.

Under the revised constitution, monks and nuns should “safeguard social stability, the socialist legal system and fundamental interests of the people”, and should “consciously keep themselves away” from separatist activities and illegal demonstrations that impair social order, the report cited the new constitution as saying. In particular, it urges monks to “see clearly that the 14th Dalai Lama is the ringleader of the separatist political association which seeks ‘Tibet independence’, a loyal tool of anti-China Western forces, the very root that causes social unrest in Tibet and the biggest obstacle for Tibetan Buddhism to build up its order.”

Pencog Cering, secretary general of the TBBAC, was cited ass saying the revision was made in response to the unrest last March “under the backdrop of a complicated international situation and new problems that have emerged in monasteries”.

Earlier, at the meeting’s inauguration on Feb 16, Losang Gyaltsen, head of the Tibet Regional Committee of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) called on the Buddhist circles in the region to firmly safeguard national unity and ethnic unity, reported China’s official Xinhua Feb 16.

“The Buddhist associations at all levels and the religious circles at large should be fully aware of the grave situation in fighting secession, and should always hold high the banner of patriotism,” it quoted Lobsang as saying.

About 250 “living Buddhas” and monks from different sects of Tibetan Buddhism attended the four-day congress, the reports said.


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