Sunday, February 26, 2017

Patriotism with Tibetan Characteristics?

Meeting Sun in 2015
Reuters reported that Gyaltsen Norbu, the Chinese 11th Panchen Lama met Madam Sun Chunlan, head of the United Front Work Department (UFWD) and member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China. Through the UFWD, the Communist Party oversees all religious activities in China.
Beijing’s Panchen Lama would have promised Sun that he will “work hard to maintain the country's and ethnic unity.”
The question is why does he need to reiterate this time and again?
Reuters says: “A youth named by China as the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, but reviled as a fake by many Tibetans, has pledged to uphold the ‘glorious tradition’ of patriotism.”
Quoting Norbu, Xinhua affirms that the Lama will "resolutely endorse comrade Xi Jinping as the core of the Communist Party, endorse socialism with Chinese characteristics and continue the glorious tradition of Panchen Lama's in history of loving the country and loving religion."
The official report asserted that Gyaltsen Norbu “will not fail to live up to the expectations of the party and contribute to promoting Tibetan Buddhism and socialism.”
Sun would have told him that she hoped he ‘deeply understands’ that the Communist Party is the only representative for the basic interests of the Tibetan people, and that he should always stand with the party."
He probably does not ‘deeply understand’ this; that is why he has to be reminded. Already in February 2015, I mentioned on this blog a meeting between Madam Sun and the Chinese Panchen Lama.
A few months later, Xi Jinping himself ‘gave an audience’ (summoned) Gyaltsen Norbu to Zhongnanhai in Beijing.
The meeting was ‘very appropriate’ reported Xinhua; it showed that the Party “has consistently given a high level of attention to Tibet.” The news agency added that it also indicated “the great importance that the Central Committee attaches to the religious work …Xi Jinping has set an example for the rest of the Party members by taking the lead in uniting the religious figures.”
Three other members of the Politburo attended the ‘audience’: Yu Zhengsheng of the Standing Committee, Sun Chunlan, the UFW head and Li Zhanshu, director of the General Office of the Party; also present was Jampa Phuntsok (the senior-most Tibetan in the Party).
I then wrote: “Why such a rare lineup?” and I answered: “apparently Gyaltsen Norbu needed to be briefed.”
The recent ‘audience’ with Sun probably means that Gyaltsen Norbu still needed to be reminded about patriotism.
Remember the Tenth Panchen Lama who turned to be one of the greatest Tibetan patriots in Modern Tibetan history.
As a young boy, like Gyaltsen Norbu, after being selected by the Communist Party, on October 1, 1949, the day the People’s Republic of China was founded, he sent a ‘patriotic’ telegram to Mao.
He was then 10 years.
Here is the telegram from the 10th Panchen Lama "to Chairman Mao [Zedong] of Central People's Government and Commander-in-Chief Chu [Zhu De] of Chinese People's Liberation Army":
The boy wrote:
With superior wisdom and courage Your Excellencies have completed the grand salvation of the country and the people. The success of your army has brought joy to the whole country. For generations in the past I have received kindness and favour from the country. During the past twenty years [note: he is 10 years old when he writes this] and more I have ceaselessly struggled for the territorial and sovereign integrity of Tibet. It is to be deeply regretted that I have had no success. I am now lingering in Chinghai [Qinghai] and waiting for an order to return to Tibet. Fortunately under the leadership of Your Excellencies, the North West has now been liberated and the Central People's Government has been established. All those who are conscientious applaud with one accord. From now on, the realization of the democratic happiness of the people and revival of the country are only questions of time and it will not be long before Tibet is liberated. I sincerely present to Your Excellencies on behalf of all the people in Tibet our highest respects and offer our heartfelt support.
Signed: Panchen “
Mao and Zhu De replied on November 23, 1949; they assured the child that Communist China will soon ‘liberate’ Tibet:
We are very glad to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of October 1. The people of Tibet are patriotic and opposed to foreign aggression. They are dissatisfied with the policies of the reactionary government of the Kuomintang and wish to become a member of the big family of a united, strong and new China where all races co-operate on the basis of equality. The Central People's Government and the Chinese People's Liberation Army will undoubtedly satisfy this desire of the Tibetan people. It is hoped that you and all patriots in Tibet will unitedly exert all your efforts in the struggle for the liberation of Tibet and unity between the Chinese and Tibetan peoples.
On January 31, 1950, the boy Panchen Lama sent another telegram to Mao Zedong and Zhu De. He expressed his support to Central People's Government and hoped that China would ‘liberate’ Tibet at the earliest.
He mentioned that the ‘Goodwill Mission’ sent by the Lhasa government to inform India and the West about the situation in Tibet.
The young lama spoke of the “activities [carried out by the Mission] which visited countries such as America, Britain, India etc and in collaboration with the imperialists, were attempting to oppose the People's Government, to conspire of separating Tibet from motherland and selling Tibet.”
In his telegram, he emphasized:
Tibet is China's territory, it is acknowledged by the entire world, all Tibetan people consider themselves as one of the nationality of China. Today such actions of Lhasa authorities actually are destroying national territorial sovereignty and integrity, which is against the will of the Tibetan people. We on behalf of Tibetan people sincerely and cordially request to send [your] righteous army as fast as possible, liberate Tibet, clear up reactionary elements, drive out the imperialistic influence from the Tibet, consolidate national defence in Southwest and liberate the people of Tibet.
He was asking China to invade Tibet; it is at least what Xinhua says.
Unfortunately for Beijing in later years, the 10th Panchen Lama turned out to be a great ‘patriot’ and one of the staunch defenders of the Tibetan culture and religion. He died in mysterious circumstances in January 1989 after criticizing the Chinese occupation of his country.
Is Beijing nervous that their 11th Panchen Lama could also become a new 10th Panchen Lama, a great Tibetan patriot?

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