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India is still the best country to uphold religious harmony and tolerance: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama

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Buddhist
The 14th Dalai Lama.

Bomdila (Arunachal Pradesh) April 6, 2017: Emphasising the need for religious harmony, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Thursday said India is still the best country to uphold religious harmony and tolerance.

“Religious harmony is very essential at a time when the sense of responsibility is lacking. But despite niggles, it is possible in India — the most-populated democratic country. This country has shown the way for thousands of years,” he said while addressing people at the Buddha Park here.

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He said all the world’s major religions flourished in India.

“We are social animals and without a sense of compassion for each other, we won’t be happy. Whether we are religious or not, there is a need for love and compassion in the world,” the Dalai Lama said.

Asserting he was disturbed by terrorism committed in the name of religion, the Dalai Lama said: “We hear a lot about Muslim terrorists, and of late of Buddhist terrorists (Myanmar). But as soon as anyone indulges in terrorism, he is no longer a Muslim or a Buddhist. Come to think of it, Chinese officials describe me as a terrorist too.”

The Tibetan leader also said it was right to consume the meat of dead animals but not of those slaughtered.

“Buddhists are taught not to harm other creatures and are vegetarian; but Sri Lankan monk told me many years ago that they (monks) depend on begging for their survival… Buddhist monks are neither vegetarian nor non-vegetarian,” he said.

“Pope (Francis) said it is better to be a good human being than a stupid Christian. Similarly, it is better to be good human being than a stupid Buddhist,” he said. (IANS)

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Impoverished Tibetan Families Receive Cash Payments in Return to Display Xi Jinping Portraits

"The money will not be given if the families don’t agree to the required condition,” RFA’s source said, citing contacts in the region

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xi jinping portrait
China Offers Money to Tibetans to Display Portraits of Xi Jinping. Wikimedia Commons

Authorities in northwestern China’s Qinghai province are offering cash payments to impoverished Tibetan families to display portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping in their homes, in a move aimed at enforcing Tibetan loyalty to Beijing, Tibetan sources say.

The new campaign, now under way in Arte village in the Tsolho  (in Chinese, Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Serchen (Gonghe) county, has promised 6,000 yuan (U.S. $869) to more than 30 families to hang the portrait in a prominent place, a source in exile told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“The money will not be given if the families don’t agree to the required condition,” RFA’s source said, citing contacts in the region.

“Because of financial constraints and poor livelihood opportunities in the area, the Tibetans have no choice but to take the money and put up Xi’s picture,” the source said, adding that the portrait of China’s president must be placed as high any picture of the Potala Palace, winter home of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

xi jinping portrait
A portrait of Chinese president Xi Jinping is shown hanging on the wall of a Tibetan home in Qinghai. RFA

“The families are choosing to do this because they need the money to survive, but they regret this immensely,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Serchen county lies almost 142 km (88 miles) away from Xining city in Qinghai, a part of northeastern Tibet historically known to Tibetans as Amdo, and Arte village falls with four other villages under the jurisdiction of Arte township in the town of Chabcha.

Dalai Lama photos banned

Authorities in Tibetan-populated regions of western Chinese provinces have meanwhile launched a new push against possession of photos of the Dalai Lama, traveling to remote areas that had previously escaped police attention, sources told RFA in earlier reports.

The campaign, which began at the end of April, has targeted Serthar county in Sichuan’s Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, but is also being enforced in other areas of the eastern Tibetan region historically known as Kham, one source said.

xi jinping portrait, dalai lama
Displays by Tibetans of the Dalai Lama’s photo or public celebrations of his birthday have been harshly punished in the past. Wikimedia Commons

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Chinese officials from government bureaus monitoring religious practice are also visiting Tibetan schools and warning teachers and students not to keep or display the photos, adding that local Tibetans have also been urged to tell high-ranking Chinese visitors of the “big improvements in their living conditions” owing to government subsidies.

The Dalai Lama, who turned 83 on July 6, 2018, fled Tibet into exile in India in the midst of a failed 1959 national uprising against Chinese rule, and displays by Tibetans of the Dalai Lama’s photo or public celebrations of his birthday have been harshly punished in the past. (RFA)

Reported by Chakmo Tso for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney.