Chen Quanguo, the Tibet Autonomous Region’s Party chief, wrote in the People’s Daily newspaper that monks and nuns should be evaluated for their “patriotism,” a word they use to describe their allegiance to the Communist Party. In China’s one-party system the Party is institutionally more important than the State.
Also, he wrote:
“Let the monks and nuns in the temples and monasteries have a personal feeling of the party and government’s care and warmth; let them feel the party’s benevolence, listen to the party’s words and follow the party’s path.”
To complete his article he added that all Tibetan monasteries should also fly the Chinese national flag. Chen Quanguo clearly thinks of monasteries as if they were government buildings where the national flag should be displayed, and this explains very well the depth of control that the government of China wants to have over Tibetan Buddhism.
Furthermore, for years now China’s police officers (“patriotic teams”) have been permanently stationed inside or next to Tibet’s monasteries, working to ensure that their thinking is in line with the Party’s desires and that “troublemakers” are kept in check.
If it weren’t tragic, it’s ridiculous to think that an important official of the second biggest economy in the world could make such statements in 2015. But this is what is happening in China and, with the exception of some important international media coverage (many of which quoted ICT in their stories), very few international institutions and governments worldwide seem to notice that this is happening in Tibet today.
So, our duty to monitor and expose these developments, and to provide principled and balanced analysis, is even more necessary while the economic clout and influence of China on our governments and societies grows.
It isn’t just Tibet that we should save; it is our faith that human values cannot be taken away from some without others speaking up on their behalf. This is what interdependence means in a global society. Nobody will stay free forever unless all human beings concretely support each other to achieve that goal.
You have an opportunity to do your part by joining the International Campaign for Tibet.
Please do it today, it will not only support our efforts to help our brothers and sisters in Tibet but, by challenging China’s authoritarian rule and political influence, it will help to build a better world for all of us.