“China’s Panchen Lama Visit Put Off”

Apparently all the money in China can’t buy him any legitimacy among the Tibetans:

The Chinese government attempted to parade its handpicked Panchen Lama this month in a key Tibetan-majority area but shelved the controversial move following widespread resentment from the people, sources said this week.

Extraordinary security measures were taken in recent weeks for the 21-year-old Gyaincain (in Tibetan, Gyaltsen) Norbu to visit the Labrang monastery in Sangchu county in the Kanlho (in Chinese, Gannan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China’s Gansu province.

A Tibetan man living in the Labrang area said Tibetan laypeople and monks at the monastery were unhappy when they heard about the proposed visit.

The Labrang monastery, a key institution in Tibetan Buddhism, was the scene of widely publicized demonstrations against Chinese rule during regionwide protests in 2008.

“For now, because of widespread discontent among the local Tibetans—both laypeople and the monks at Labrang—preparations appear to have been suspended,” he said.

According to him, Tibetan staff at government offices displayed reluctance to support the visit even after Chinese authorities warned that they could be dismissed or have their salaries slashed for refusing to welcome him.

“Chinese authorities ordered Tibetan staff at the Sangchu (in Chinese, Xiahe) county offices to be ready to welcome him joyously, and offer scarves and prostrations,” he said.

“Many were unwilling to do this, and authorities threatened to cut their salaries or even fire them if they refused to attend.”

I’d really like to know what the Panchen Zuma himself thinks of all this. Is this kind of news allowed to pierce his bubble, or can the Communist Party shield him from the fact that he isn’t accepted by Tibetans? As far as I know he mostly lives in Beijing, only visiting Tibet occasionally. You’d think Beijing could find Tibetan tutors for him willing to follow the Party line, but on the other hand their previous pick for chief tutor was Arjia Rinpoche, who turned out to be so unhappy with Chinese rule that he went into exile.

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