03/03/2010, 00.00
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Beijing, the fake Panchen Lama enters government

by Nirmala Carvalho
Tibetans in exile, point their finger at the "puppet of Beijing", but "proves less obedient to his masters. It is a Tibetan, and his heart sooner or later China will break the chains. Today the debut of the fake number two of Tibetan Buddhism in politics.

Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - The Chinese government "The Chinese do not appear too intelligent, they hope that their appointed Panchem Lama will listen to them.  However, their chosen puppet Gyaltsen Norbu is a Tibetan and soon or later his Tibetan roots and heart will be manifest and all the indoctrination and grooming by the Chinese will be to no avail "  

This is the tough reaction of Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of Tibetan government in exile speaking to AsiaNews about the appointment of the "fake" Panchen Lama as a Member of the Chinese People's Consultative Conference. The organ, which has advisory functions in relation to the National People’s Assembly begins its work today in the Chinese capital.  

Norbu, the Tibetan politician says, " Norbu, Tibetan politician says, "was very small when he was appointed, but in recent years have shown less and less obedient to his masters. His appointment, by law, should have happened last year but this did not happen. Moreover, his predecessor was appointed at a young age, vice president of the Conference, not just a member but even this has not happened. These are all signs of Beijing’s disapproval”.  

In May 1995 the Dalai Lama in exile in India, recognized the new Panchen Lama in the 6 year old boy child Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. The Office of Religious Affairs in Beijing, to weaken the authority of the Buddhist leader, chose instead, in November of that year Gyaincain Norbu, another 6 year old boy, claiming special ritual reasons. After the recognition, Gedhun was kidnapped by police and has not been seen since. Today he is 20, and for the Chinese authorities “he is studying in his village and does not want to be disturbed. "

Hao Peng, vice chairman of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and therefore the official voice of the government, argues that " the Panchen Lama’s participation in social activities in China demonstrates the important role of the living Buddha in our world. Norbu is very popular in Tibet, and we all are very happy for his appointment. I hope he can continue in this vein, showing love for the motherland".  

Despite all this love, Gyaincain Norbu rarely goes to the monastery to which the Panchen Lama  traditionally belongs, the Tashilunpo, located in Tibet. The young man spends most of his time in Beijing, studying with his teachers and surrounded by the care and control of the party. He has been kept away from the spotlight and the foreign media. But he has granted interviews to the Chinese newspapers which laud the role of the Communist Party for reconciliation and harmony in society.  

Through Gyaincain Norbu, Beijing wants to offer the only picture of the development of Tibetan Buddhism: one that is subjugated to the Party, in the style of all official religions in China. The young man is also seen as a possible antagonist of the Dalai Lama, the 75 year old Tibetan leader living in exile who is strongly critical of  China's attitude towards Tibet. Both the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama are members of the dominant sect of Tibetan Buddhism, that of the Gelupa (or "the yellow scarf).  

Both belong to - religious and ethnic - lineages  that are perpetuated through successive reincarnations. Traditionally, the Dalai Lama is charged with the selection of the new Panchen Lama and vice versa: in the future, then Beijing will play the card of the Panchen when choosing the successor to the Dalai Lama, which will be an important political gamble for the future Tibet.  

To safeguard the figure of the leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the current Dalai Lama has repeatedly alluded to the fact that his next reincarnation will be born outside Tibet, in order to move away from the influence of China. The living Buddha who occupies the third place in the hierarchy of Gelupa, the Karmapa, has been living instead in India since 2000 (after a daring escape from China) and is considered by many Tibetan exiles the  'natural' successor to of the Dalai Lama at the head of the nationalist movement .

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