The Litang county in southwest China’s Sichuan province has banned monks “wrongly educated” in India from teaching Buddhism to prevent the spread of separatist ideas.
“As some monks received education overseas from the 14th Dalai Lama clique – whom China regards as separatists – it is necessary to tighten supervision so as to avoid the clique using local Buddhists to conduct separatist activities,” Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, was quoted as saying by the Global Times.
Zhu did not say how many monks are banned.
The county holds patriotic education classes every year for those educated and awarded Gexe Lharampa — the highest academic degree in Tibetan Buddhist studies — in India. “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,” the report quoted an official who refused to be named as saying.
China has its own criteria to award Gexe Lharampa, and candidates have to pass Chinese Buddhist tests and a sutra debate.
Those awarded the degree overseas are not acknowledged by China and are not qualified to teach Buddhism in the country, Zhu told the Global Times.
Some 105 monks in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region have been awarded the Chinese Buddhist version of the degree since 2004, Xinhua News Agency reported.
Litang county is home to prominent Buddhists including the Seventh and 10th Dalai Lama. Litang Temple has about 800 monks and can accommodate more than 4,300, china.com reported.