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India-Trained ‘Wrongly Educated’ Monks Banned by China

China has banned India-trained "wrongly educated" monks from teaching Buddhism, fearing they may be of "separatist" bend. The ban was imposed by a county in China's Southwest province in Sichuan, according to the state-run Global Times.

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Buddhist Monks Praying at Wedding Ceremony

China has banned India-trained “wrongly educated” monks from teaching Buddhism, fearing they may be of “separatist” bend.

The ban was imposed by a county in China’s Southwest province in Sichuan, according to the state-run Global Times.

An official said on Monday that “monks wrongly educated in India were banned from teaching Buddhism to residents of Litang county”.

Buddhism is one of the five officially recognised religions in China.

US clothing brand Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts which it said showed an "incorrect map" of China.
Accurate Map of China, Pixabay

China accuses Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama of secessionist activities in Tibet where most people follow Buddhism.

The county Litang stages patriotic education classes every year for those educated and awarded Gexe Lharampa, the highest academic degree in Tibetan Buddhist studies in India, an official from Litang’s ethnic and religious affairs bureau told the Global Times.

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, said the official who refused to be named.

The university has compiled and published 31 volumes from the photocopies of ancient Tibetan literature since 2005 and the figure is expected to increase to 45 in the following two to three years.
Monks, pixabay

China has its own criteria to award Gexe Lharampa. Candidates have to pass Chinese Buddhist tests and a sutra debate.

Also Read: Buddhism Speaks: Evils and Morals

Those awarded the degree overseas are not acknowledged by China and are not qualified to teach Buddhism in the country, Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, told the Global Times.

Some 105 monks in Tibet have been awarded the Chinese Buddhist version of the degree since 2004, the Xinhua news agency reported. (IANS)

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This AI System Can Evade Censorship In India, China and Kazakhstan

Researchers develop an AI tool that evades censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan

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(AI)-based system automatically learns to evade censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan. Pixabay

Researchers have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based system that automatically learns to evade censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan.

The tool, called Geneva (short for Genetic Evasion), found dozens of ways to circumvent censorship by exploiting gaps in censors’ logic and finding bugs that the researchers said would have been virtually impossible for humans to find manually.

The researchers are scheduled to introduce Geneva during a peer-reviewed talk at the Association for Computing Machinery’s 26th Conference on Computer and Communications Security in London on Thursday.

“With Geneva, we are, for the first time, at a major advantage in the censorship arms race,” said Dave Levin, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Maryland in the US and senior author of the paper.

“Geneva represents the first step toward a whole new arms race in which artificial intelligence systems of censors and evaders compete with one another. Ultimately, winning this race means bringing free speech and open communication to millions of users around the world who currently don’t have them,” Levin said.\

censorship, AI
This AI system that evades censorship is called ‘Geneva’. Pixabay

To demonstrate that Geneva worked in the real world against undiscovered censorship strategies, the team ran Geneva on a computer in China with an unmodified Google Chrome browser installed.

By deploying strategies identified by Geneva, the user was able to browse free of keyword censorship.

The researchers also successfully evaded censorship in India, which blocks forbidden URLs, and Kazakhstan, which was eavesdropping on certain social media sites at the time, said a statement from the University of Maryland.

All information on the Internet is broken into data packets by the sender’s computer and reassembled by the receiving computer.

One prevalent form of Internet censorship works by monitoring the data packets sent during an Internet search.

The censor blocks requests that either contain flagged keywords (such as “Tiananmen Square” in China) or prohibited domain names (such as “Wikipedia” in many countries).

When Geneva is running on a computer that is sending out web requests through a censor, it modifies how data is broken up and sent, so that the censor does not recognise forbidden content or is unable to censor the connection.

Known as a genetic algorithm, Geneva is a biologically inspired type of AI that Levin and his team developed to work in the background as a user browses the web from a standard Internet browser.

Like biological systems, Geneva forms sets of instructions from genetic building blocks. But rather than using DNA as building blocks, Geneva uses small pieces of code.

Censorship
By deploying strategies identified by Geneva, the user is able to browse free of keyword censorship. Pixabay

Individually, the bits of code do very little, but when composed into instructions, they can perform sophisticated evasion strategies for breaking up, arranging or sending data packets.

The tool evolves its genetic code through successive attempts (or generations). With each generation, Geneva keeps the instructions that work best at evading censorship and kicks out the rest.

Also Read- Ram Mandir Resolution should Help India to Reinvent its Nationhood by Creating New Sense of Unity

Geneva mutates and cross breeds its strategies by randomly removing instructions, adding new instructions, or combining successful instructions and testing the strategy again.

Through this evolutionary process, Geneva is able to identify multiple evasion strategies very quickly, said the study. (IANS)