DHARAMSALA, May 15: China has banned India-educated Tibetan monks from teaching Buddhism in Lithang County in the traditional Tibetan province of Kham claiming the monks were wrongly educated.
“As some monks received education overseas from the 14th Dalai Lama clique – whom China regards as separatists – it is necessary to tighten supervision so as to avoid the clique using local Buddhists to conduct separatist activities,” Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference has said, reports the Chinese state-run media, Global Times
“Those awarded the degree overseas are not acknowledged by China and are not qualified to teach Buddhism in the country,” Zhu Weiqun added.
China has defended the move citing the need to tighten supervision so as to avoid what they call ‘Dalai clique’ from using local Buddhists to conduct separatist activities, and added the monks were wrongly educated.
Though the report did not specify how many monks are banned from teaching in Lithang county, citing an unnamed official, it said that the move was a standard practice in response to the county’s severe separatist situation.
In spite of being an atheist state, China has set up its own criteria to award Gexe Lharampa; the highest academic degree in Tibetan Buddhist studies. China is said to have awarded around 105 monks in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region the Chinese Buddhist version of the degree since 2004.
The report said that the county stages patriotic education classes every year for those educated and awarded Gexe Lharampa in India.
“Those who behaved improperly at the patriotic classes or showed any signs of separatist intent” are strictly monitored and banned from teaching Buddhism to the public, an official from Litang’s ethnic and religious affairs bureau was quoted as saying in the report.