Beijing, May 15: A county in southwest China’s Sichuan province has banned Tibetan monks who received education in India from teaching Buddhism. The step to ban the monks from teaching is to prevent the spread of separatist ideas. According to a report published in nationalistic tabloid Global Times, Litang county officials from Sichuan issued the ban recently in what appears to be the first such move outside the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
“As some monks received education overseas from the 14th Dalai Lama clique – whom China regards as separatists – it is necessary to tighten supervision so as to prevent the clique from using local Buddhists to conduct separatist activities,” Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, was quoted as saying in the report.
China has always targeted Dalai Lama for involving in anti-China activities to secure Tibetan independence, but he has always refuted a charge. The spiritual leader is spearheading the movement to attain autonomous status for Tibet.
Litang’s ethnic and religious affairs bureau told the Global Times, patriotic education classes are conducted every year in Litang for those educated and awarded the Gexe Lharampa, the highest academic degree in Tibetan Buddhist studies in India. According to the report, those who behave show any signs of separatist intent are strictly monitored and banned from teaching Buddhism to the public.
The Gexe Lharampa is the highest academic degree in Tibetan Buddhist studies, with gexe meaning knowledgeable while lharampa is the highest of all four ranks in the Gexe system of Tibetan Buddhism.
Some 105 monks in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region have been awarded the Chinese Buddhist version of the degree since 2004, the Xinhua News Agency reported. It was not clear how many India-trained monks were banned. According to a report of the news website, china.com, around 800 monks and 4,300 students are residing in the Litang temple. The seventh and the tenth Dalai Lama also belonged from Litang county.