Tuesday, September 26, 2006

China Steps Up Exposure of "Fake" Panchen Lama

As reported by the Press Trust of India (PTI) on Sept. 25, 2006

China has stepped up activities in Tibet and elsewhere to popularise the pro-Beijing 11th Panchen Lama, Tibetan Buddhism's third top religious leader, among the local populace.

The 17-year-old Panchen Lama was welcomed yesterday by 10,000 followers to Tibet's Baiqoi Monastery where he held a Buddhist ritual, the official Xinhua news agency reported from Xigaze, the second largest Tibetan city.

Gyaincain Norbu, who is studying Buddhist scriptures in Xigaze, was hailed by about 10,000 followers when he arrived at the county yesterday, it said.

During the ritual, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism prayed for the monks at the Baiqoi Monastery and also offered them alms.

"I'm glad to be here, but I'm much more glad to see that you live a peaceful, happy life," he said and gave touch-head blessings to several thousand local Tibetans.

The Panchen Lama also held brief Buddhist services at another monastery in Gyangze and Nai'nying Monastery in Kangma County.

Travelling from place to place in the remote Himalayan region, he stopped his car many times to bless his followers, the report said.

He studies Buddhism in Beijing and frequently visits Tibet and other Tibetan ethnic areas in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's highest religious leader and Karmapa Lama, the second highest are on exile in India.

With the Dalai and Karmapa in India, Beijing is hoping that the Panchen, considered a patriotic monk, would take charge of Tibetan affairs in the Himalayan region.