A New Delhi-based think tank Law and Society Alliance organised a webinar on ongoing issues concerning Tibet and China’s “attempts” to destroy the institution of the Dalai Lama.
During a panel discussion on Saturday, experts talked about “Communist China and its Failure to Destroy the Institution of the Dalai Lama: Lessons for the Future.”
It has been almost a decade since the 14th Dalai Lama relinquished his political role and now the Central Tibetan Administration performs that political role based out of Dharamshala, according to an official release.
With the advancing age of the 14th Dalai Lama, China has begun accelerating its tactics to intensify its control over Tibet and strengthen its influence over the Tibetan Buddhist community by interfering and manoeuvering the process of selecting the next Dalai Lama.
Speaking at the event, Thinlay Chukki, Special Appointee for Human Rights at the Tibet Bureau (Geneva), stated that the newly formed People’s Republic of China took over Tibet as a part of its expansionist agenda in the 1950s.
“Since then, China has constantly been trying to destroy the institution of the Dalai Lama. China has consistently deployed an oppressive policy of Sinicization of Buddhism. They have attempted to destroy the identity of Tibetans and tried to convert it into a Chinese identity,” Chukki said.
Talking about the historical Tibetan institution, Chukki reminded that the Dalai Lama or the institution of the Dalai Lama has been responsible for governing Tibet since 1642. “It has a history of 400-500 years of governing Tibet. For China, the usurpation of the powers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama marks the first step towards the consolidation of its power.”
On the impact of present-day China on Tibet, she added, “Since the elevation of President Xi Jinping, the ideological security concerns surrounding Tibet have been elevated to the level of national security concerns. China is trying to show to the rest of China that Tibetan Buddhists, with their unique culture, language, and identity represent a threat to national security.”
She also revealed that the persecution of Buddhists is not only confined within the borders of China. A recent report by Freedom House revealed that Tibetans, along with other minorities such as Uyghurs, were victims of trans-national oppression by China.
Another speaker Tencho Gyatso, Interim Vice President and International Director of Outreach of Washington DC-based International Campaign for Tibet, stressing how deep is the connection between the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lama.
She revealed that the institution of the Dalai Lama was established in the 16th Century and in the 17th century, it gained political authority during the time of the great 5th Dalai Lama. “To the Tibetan People, the Dalai Lama is an earthly manifestation of Avalokiteshvara– the patron deity of Tibet. To the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama is pure, compassionate, and the one who has been present for centuries, since the creation of Tibet. Tibetans believe that the first Buddhist King, dating back in the 7th century, brought Buddhism from India to Tibet.”
She added that China’s claim over Tibet is based on a pile of lies as they have used falsified historical narrative to give them some semblance of legitimacy and they have been using power and authority to clamp down on true information and push their false narrative.
According to Gyatso, China has painted a negative image of the Dalai Lama, a false narrative. “They have attempted to rewrite all of Tibet’s historical narratives. The Chinese government calls the Dalai Lama ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
“The CCP has re-written and participated in mass cover-ups regarding Tibet. One prominent example was the way in which the Chinese government has tried to erase the Tiananmen Square massacre like it never happened,” Gyatso said.
She further explained, “Despite the Chinese government’s best efforts, the bond between the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lama has grown stronger. The young Tibetan monks that have been forced to grow up under the oppressive Chinese regime and have never even seen the Dalai Lama, their allegiance and spiritual connection to him are unbelievable.” (ANI)