Chinese pressure sees Mongolia bar CTA delegates from Asian Buddhist Conference at eleventh hour

Religion and Culture Kalon (Minister) Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok.

DHARAMSALA, 24 June: Mongolia has bowed to Chinese pressure and declined to grant visas for the Central Tibetan Administration(CTA) representatives who were scheduled to participate in at the General Assembly of Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace(ABCP) in Ulan Baatar.

Beijing has pressured Mongolia into denying permits for the CTA’s delegate for the 11thGeneral Assembly of ABCP led by the Religion and Culture Kalon (Minister) Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok at the very last moment, reports,, the official website of CTA.

Kalon Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok has described the snub as an unfortunate development that is the clearest sign yet of China’s aggressive campaign of undermining core democratic freedoms across the world, and even hampering the basic exercises of other countries through severe political intimidation.

“The forced cancellation of our participation as representatives of one of the greatest contributors to the Buddhist tradition worldwide poses serious questions. Even more so, in the light that China itself is home to the largest Buddhist population in the world,” the Religion and Culture Kalon was quoted as saying in the report.

The minister has further said that it was extremely unfortunate for it to have happened to Mongolia, a country where a majority of the population follows and practices the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has participated in the 3rd General Assembly in 1974 and became a member of ABCP and since then the Department of Religion and Culture has represented the Dalai Lama and CTA, the CTA said in a report filed by the Office of Tibet, Moscow.

Despite the snub, the Tibetan Buddhist delegation led by Ven Thupten Ngodup, the medium of state Oracle, Nechung was reported to have the strongest representation at the Conference.

Representatives of all the major Buddhist traditions including the Jonang and Bon traditions attended the conference held over 21-24 June 2019 while Telo Tulku Rinpoche, the representative of the Dalai Lama in Russia and Mongolia has delivered His Holiness’ special message to the conference on the occasion of its 50thAnniversary.

The Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace, founded in 1970 in the Mongolian capital, aims to bring together efforts of Buddhists in support of consolidating universal peace, harmony, and cooperation among the Asian countries and its people.

China has often resorted to pressuring other nations against hosting the Dalai Lama as well as the political head of the Tibetan people.

Earlier in 2014, Mongolia cancelled His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s scheduled visit to its country. The Cancellation is believed to have resulted from China’s effective use of economic clout on the mineral-rich country, whose economy is largely dependent on China as a source of investment and as an export market for its minerals.

While Mongolia, the landlocked country with a large Buddhist population hosted His Holiness the Dalai Lama from Nov 18- 23 in 2016 in spite of China’s warning, Beijing reacted furiously by indefinitely postponing its bilateral ties with Mongolia.

Similarly, in 2016, China temporarily suspended flights between Beijing and Ulaanbaatar after the Dalai Lama’s visit to Mongolia in the same year.

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