By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 24: Prominent Tibetologist and scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Jamphel Gyatso has in a public critique posted on Dec. 13 on CCTV online leveled accusations towards Zhu Weiqun, the former Executive Vice Minister of the powerful United Front Work Department who heads an ethnic and religious affairs body in Beijing, for brushing up anything wrong happening in Tibet under the rug of ‘splittism’.
The rare criticism, from “shirking responsibilities”, “diverting attention” and even “harboring ill intent” was rallied against the senior and ministerial-level cadre of the Communist party. The public critique has since gathered support from netizens and public figures in China, according to International Campaign for Tibet.
The condemnation comes after Zhu Weiqun, while commenting the recent controversy surrounding ‘fake living Buddha’ and fake reincarnate lamas (Tulkus) swindling people censured a vague yet virulent attack on Tibetan Buddhist Lamas that risk maligning sincere Tibetan Buddhist lamas. Zhu shifted blame and attention of staged ordination of fake living Buddha such as Wu Darong and Zhang Tielin in Beijing on Oct.1 and instead remarked that fake reincarnate lamas have swindled and exploited people.
According to ICT, Zhu was quoted saying in a CCTV report, “Ever since reform and opening up, there has been more and more interaction between Tibetan regions and the interior, and originally this was a good thing, but some people are using this as an opportunity to pose as Living Buddhas and go to the eastern regions to carry out swindles.”
Zhu also alleged that funds gathered by Lamas are used to finance anti establishment activities and even ‘splittist’ operations. He said, “After taking some of their assets back into Tibetan areas, they in fact continue to engage in various kinds of actions that contravene the law, even using some of the money to support splittist activities.”
Jamphel Gyatso alleges that the vague words of Zhu risk creating divide for Tibetan compatriots and sincere Tibetan Buddhist lamas and that it is unbecoming of a communist party official as tenured as Zhu. Gyatso wrote in his open letter, “As a member of the Communist Party and as a senior Party cadre, you should report clearly to the Party organizations. The cadres and broad masses are owed an explanation.”
Gyatso disassociates reality form the practices of officials like Zhu and Ye Xiaowen, former Director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs in branding every wrong happening in Tibet as either a cause or result of splittist design. He wrote, “As soon as something happens in Tibet and other Tibetan areas, Ye Xiaowen and Zhu Weiqun connect it with ‘splittism’, then later add their ‘righteous’ criticism and become heroes of ‘anti-splittism’. Some cadres and masses have long felt resentful at such methods, and criticize them by saying, ‘Anti-splittism is a basket into which every problem is stuffed’.”
Zhu known for his vocal vilification of the Dalai Lama has on many occasions asserted that the Chinese government has the sole authority to decide the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. His attack on the fake reincarnate lama and fake living Buddha, many say, is a spindle to yarn a legitimate claim of authority over that whole matter.
But the Dalai Lama just a few days ago at the Tashi Lhunpo monastery laughed off the assertion by the communist government. In a humor infused counter, His Holiness said Beijing should first accept the reincarnation phenomenon and then search for the reincarnations of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.