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NewsChina seeks to 'Sinicise' Tibetan religion

China seeks to ‘Sinicise’ Tibetan religion

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Lhasa [Tibet], May 23 (ANI): Despite international condemnation over human rights violations by Beijing in Tibet, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) top official in Lhasa called for greater stress on Chinese elements in religion and a crackdown on ‘separatism’ in the region.

As the CCP marks 70 years of control of Tibet, party secretary Wu Yingjie on Saturday said that the country must pursue “Sinicisation of religion” and a stronger role for the party’s leadership in Tibet, a move that analysts say is meant to tighten Beijing’s grip on the area, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).

“We must … promote [the concept] that Tibetan Buddhism has always been a part of the Chinese culture,” Wu said. He also claimed that to “nip separatism in the bud, we strictly must crackdown on all kinds of separatist and infiltration activities”.

This comes after the party issued a report defining its official position on Tibet, claiming the area “has been an inseparable part of China since ancient times”, dating back to the seventh century.

The white paper further accused Western forces of supporting the Tibetan independence movement and vowed to continue to crack down on ‘separatist activities’ in Tibet, reported SCMP.

“In the aftermath of the Opium Wars in the middle of the 19th century, the British-led imperialist powers began to cultivate the idea of ‘Tibet independence’, intentionally undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it claimed.

Robert Barnett, former director of Columbia University’s modern Tibetan studies programme, said Beijing had changed its narrative over Tibet’s history over the years.

Referring to China’s claim that Tibet has been its part since the seventh century, Barnett said: “This is hard to take seriously, since until 2015 the [party] and the Chinese government had insisted that Tibet only became part of China in the 13th century, and before that they had said it happened in the 17th or 18th centuries. China has yet to explain why it keeps changing its claims as to when it thinks Tibet became part of China.”Meanwhile, analysts also agreed that Beijing was unlikely to try to hold talks with the Dalai Lama, the 85-year-old spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, deeming him a ‘separatist and claiming it had to right to choose his successor.

According to SCMP, Barnett said Beijing was likely to “try to delay talks until they think the Dalai Lama’s position is very weak, and that it will aim to give no concessions, if possible”.

The Chinese government occupied Tibet in 1950 and has ever since tried to control the region.

In recent years, China has intensified its efforts to eradicate the Dalai Lama from the religious lives of Tibetans to crush their identity. During a meeting, Mao Zedong had told the 14th Dalai Lama, that “religion is poison.”Last month, the Centre for Democracy, Pluralism and Human Rights (CDPHR), in its latest report, has revealed that various individuals and organisations working for the rights of Tibetan people have reported abuses of rights in Tibet that include restricted freedom of religion, belief and association.

The CDPHR report said that the arbitrary arrests, maltreatment in custody, including torture and forced abortion and sterilisation have also been reported.

On the issue of ‘crushing’ Chinese policies, the report said, “The communist Chinese policies of crushing any political dissent have gravely threatened the Tibetan political and cultural identity as they disregard to the international condemnation of the human rights situation in Tibet.”Major countries, including the United States, have harshly condemned China’s atrocities in Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang. (ANI)

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