Korea’s Largest Buddhist sect condemns DP lawmakers for their comment on Tibet

Democratic Party Rep. Do Jong-hwan seen bowing to Chinese officials at the China Tibet Tourism and Culture Expo in Tibet. Image: YONHAP.

By Yungdung Tsomo

DHARAMSALA, 26 June: Korea’s Largest Buddhist Sect has slammed the lawmakers of the opposition party, the Democratic Party (DP) for their comments that whitewashed the Human rights violation in Tibet by the Chinese Communist Party after seven DP MPs attended an event in Tibet that was organized and paid for by the Chinese government earlier this month.

 “Rep. Do Jong-hwan and Min Byoung-dug must sincerely apologise to the souls who died by setting themselves on fire in protest to oppression [by the Chinese government] and the Tibetans who continue to suffer under oppression even today,” read a statement issued by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, reports the Korea JoongAng Daily. 

According to the report, the seven DP legislators including Do, who was the culture minister under President Moon Jae-in attended the China Tibet Tourism and Culture Expo in Tibet “despite public opposition.”

While Do has said that he has no knowledge of “negative public opinion,” while on the trip to Tibet, on his return, he appeared on a radio show and said that “[Human rights violation] happened in 1951 and 1959,” and added that “We went to the expo for the purpose of tourism and culture. I hope people would see [the trip to the expo and human rights] as separate issues.”  

Rep. Min, another lawmaker on the trip has further blasted “how bringing up something that happened 70 years ago would help the national interest.” 

The lawmakers came in for heavy criticism for their “inappropriate” trip “as it took place when bilateral tensions between Korea and China had escalated due to comments made by the Chinese Ambassador to Korea Xing Haiming in the presence of DP Chief Lee Jae-myung.”

Xing has reportedly warned that “those betting against China would ‘regret it’ in a 15-minute-long speech on June 8 while the DP leader was sitting next to him,” the report added.

Currently, there are 25 Buddhist orders belonging to the Association of Korean Buddhist Orders, among which the Jogye Order is the largest. 

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