(AsiaNews) - The false Panchen Lama "is a poor puppet in Chinese hands. He
lives in a gilded jail and knows no one, not even Tibet. His statements about
Tibetan protests crushed under Communist boots are laughable because they come
from a dummy," a young monk from a Tibetan monastery told AsiaNews on condition his name be withheld for security reasons.
monk spoke about a statement made by Gyaltsen Norbu, a young man picked by
Beijing to replace the real Panchen Lama recognised by the Dalai Lama, during a
rare visit to Lhasa, Tibet's capital. Speaking before party and government
officials, Norbu said "If a person does not protect social stability, he is not
fit to be called a man of religion."
words correspond to what one might expect from someone who closely follows the
party line. For some time, China's Communists have been elbowing their way into
religion to decide what is orthodox and what is not.
so doing, he is following Catholic bishops excommunicated by the Vatican who
have no following but are deemed "good" and "very devoted" by those in power.
in the case of Christianity, Chinese authorities are trying to replace the
leaders of Tibetan Buddhism. The case of the Panchen Lama is the best known
example. His function within the religion is to recognise the reincarnation of
the Dalai Lama once the current one, Tenzin Gyatso, dies.
latter recognised Gedhun Choekyi Nyima on 14 May 1995 as the new Panchen Lama; however,
the then six-year-old boy was abducted along with his family and has not been
heard of ever since.
in November 1995, China "chose" Gyaltsen Norbu as the "real" Panchen Lama,
claiming that it used more authentic religious rituals than those used by the
goal wants to place tighter controls over religion. In 2004, it issued rules
whereby all "living Buddhas" had to be government-approved. By controlling the top
religious authorities in Tibetan Buddhism, it hopes to control the Dalai Lama.
a period of study and isolation, Norbu made his debut in national political
life in 2010 when he took part in the proceedings of the National Committee of
the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a body that operates
alongside the National People's Congress. Since then, not much has been heard
secluded in a Beijing monastery, he knows that Tibetan Buddhists have no
respect for him. Inside the Chinese capital's Grand Lama Temple, where the
thrones of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama are kept, his picture is smaller
than that of his predecessor.
"do no hate him despite everything," the source told AsiaNews. "He is considered a nobody, a boy forced to play to Beijing's
tune. We feel compassion for him. Our Dalai Lama was right to praise him his
long silence. He cannot do anything good to the Tibetan people, but he could do
more harm if he did not spend most of his time in silence."