Thursday, June 23, 2005

HHDL: A "Splittist"?

From “Freedom of Religion in Tibet” published by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), Dharamsala, India.

Anti Dalai Lama Campaign

When attempting to understand Beijing’s view of the Dalai Lama one should consider the complex political history of the violently suppressed pro-independence movements in Tibet during the late 1980’s which prompted a shift in China’s religious policies in Tibet.

It was during the Third Work Forum on Tibet in 1994 that the Chinese government established a relationship between the monastic institutions and pro-independence movements in Tibet. In an article appearing in the Tibet Daily on November 25, 1994 the Chinese Communist Party’s view of the Dalai Lama is stated as following:

“We must emphasize that we must look squarely at the reality that the Dalai clique is using religion for its splittist activities; we must expose the fact that the Dalai is using the mask of religion to cover up its political features; and we must firmly stop the Dalai clique from influencing lamas and nuns in Tibet in any way. The broad masses of people, lamas and nuns, no matter whether or not they are Party members or cadres, must politically draw a clear line of demarcation with the Dalai clique.”

The Chinese authorities intensified their official anti-Dalai Lama stand during the policies of the Fourth Session of the Sixth Regional People’s Congress held on May 24, 1996, where they stated that the Dalai Lama is the “chief villain” who must be “publicly exposed and criticized . . . stripping away his cloak of being a religious leader.”

Party members officially involved in “patriotic re-education” campaign in the “TAR” in 1997 summed up their view of the Dalai Lama as follows:

“What kind of person is the Dalai? The Dalai is the main leader of the splittists who conspire for Tibet independence, a tool used by international anti-Chinese forces to promote hostility, the chief inspiration for those causing unrest within Tibetan society, and all those who obstruct the re-establishment of discipline in the regulations of Buddhist [monasteries] in Tibet.”

The Chinese government carries out the anti-Dalai Lama campaign through a multi-pronged approach. First they try to force Tibetans, particularly monks and nuns, to adhere to a five-point denunciation wherein they must state that the Dalai Lama is a traitor and splittist, while also forcing them to agree to the historical unity of Tibet as having always been a part of China. Next, monks and nuns must recognize the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama. Finally, they must declare their personal opposition to separatism. The Chinese authorities also banned all Tibetans from possessing the Dalai Lama’s portraits and photos, praying for his well-being, invoking his name, observing his birthday celebrations or showing any expression of faith and loyalty to his historical stature.

With regard to these government policies that represent clear obstacles to the freedom of religion of the Tibetan people, Article 6 of the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief states that:

“The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief shall include, inter alia, the following freedoms: [ . . . ] To make, acquire and use to an adequate extent the necessary articles and materials related to the rites or customs of a religion or belief; [ . . . ] To write, issue and disseminate relevant publications in these areas; [ . . . ] To establish and maintain communications with individuals and communities in matters of religion or belief at the national and international levels.”

The ultimate goal for Chinese leaders seems to be to win the hearts and minds of Tibetan people in their favor. Since Beijing runs on the absolute loyalty and allegiance to the State ideology, it is natural that the stature of Dalai Lama in the hearts of Tibetan people is taken as a point of concern to China’s legitimacy over their rule in Tibet. Thus, one of the main concerns in China’s battles over Tibet has been dealing with the spiritual authority of the Dalai Lama and his political stature in the world community.