Monday, March 05, 2007

Is China's Communist Party the "Real Buddha"?

Fri Mar 2, 2007; Beijing. (Reuters) -- China's Communist boss in predominantly Buddhist Tibet labelled the Communist party on Friday a "living Buddha" for Tibetans, state media reported, days before the opening of the annual session of parliament.

The annual income of Tibetan peasants and herders increased 17.2 percent last year thanks to the central government, Zhang Qingli, Tibet's party chief, said in an online forum carried on the official Xinhua news agency Web site (

"The Communist Party is like the parent to the Tibetan people, and it is always considerate about what the children need," said Zhang, in Beijing to attend the National People's Congress which opens on Monday. In response to an Internet post praising him as a living Buddha for Tibetans, Zhang said: "The central party committee is the real Buddha for Tibetans."

Housing conditions had improved and the Tibetan economy was developing rapidly with the government's go-west strategy and the new Tibet-Qinghai railway, Zhang said. China opened its first railway to Lhasa, capital of remote western Tibet, in July last year.

The People's Liberation Army occupied Tibet in 1950. Nine years later, Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India after a failed uprising. Critics charge that China continues to repress Tibetans' religious aspirations, especially their veneration for the Dalai Lama, whom China denounces as a "separatist".