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ICC Note: This news report on the inner workings of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party shows the degree to which the government is willing to go in order to restrict religious activities in the country.  It is clear that the issue is not so much about religion, it is about control.

By Asia News reporter

08/04/2015 China (AsiaNews.it)

The standing committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party met in the Chinese capital on 30 July week in a closed-door “conclave” to discuss the ‘Tibetan issue,’ namely the next reincarnation of Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama and fourteenth Avalokiteśvara (embodiment of the compassion of all Buddhas), as part of the measures needed to stabilise the province and counter “separatism”.

Although China’s Communist Party officially describes itself as atheistic and materialistic, “The authority of the central government has always been important in the reincarnation process. Historical precedents have clearly shown the central government’s vital role in the process,” said a politburo statement cited by state-owned Xinhua news agency.

In fact, “Since then, all confirmations of the Dalai Lama have required approval by the central Chinese government, which has deemed the process an important issue concerning sovereignty and national security.”

An anonymous source told AsiaNews that at the end of the meeting Xi Jinping said that the Communist Party would pick “the next Dalai Lama, period! If things do not go well, we are ready to take corrective action.”

This is no mean feat. Tibetan Buddhism is still deeply felt and practiced in Tibet and the rest of the country. Its current spiritual leader is very popular despite living in forced exile. Ever since he fled to India in 1959, the Chinese government has tried to undermine his authority, but without success.

There is nothing unusual about this. Under the current regime, the authorities have also tried to control the selection and appointment of the country’s Catholic leadership in the country.

Although choosing high-ranking clergy is purely a religious affair, Beijing has relentlessly pursued a policy of keeping religions under control, including their assets and membership, this despite the fact that the Dalai Lama and the various popes elected after Mao’s revolution have clearly indicated that all they want is religious autonomy from the state.

[Full Story]