10:39 am - Monday November 9, 2015

Beijing to punish Dalai supporters

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BEIJING: Chinese authorities have pledged to punish officials who follow Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and “support activities of splitting the country”, the official media reported, citing the Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). This is the first time China has admitted that there are officials who support the Dalai Lama des8pite decades of a concentrated campaign describing him as a “traitor” and “a wolf in monk’s clothing”. The task of purging them has been given to anti-graft inspectors.

”Some officials have failed to take a firm political stand and some grass-root officials in the region were found to have serious corruption issues,” said CCDI chief Ye Dongsong.

Beijing’s Minzu University professor Xiong Kunxin echoed authorities saying some officials in Tibet indeed sympathize with the Dalai Lama. “They continue to support the Dalai Lama out of their religious beliefs. Such officials also supported his separatist activities.”

Xiong said people in Tibet should be encouraged to report about this kind of “dangerous trend” among officials. “Such officials should not be tolerated,” he said. He noted the Tibetan leader’s renewed push for high degree of autonomy in Tibet aims to drive away the majority Han people.

Tibetan-speaking officials are likely to be closely watched to determine their allegiance to the Dalai Lama, who lives in India. They have played a key role in the government’s efforts to maintain control in Tibet.

The move comes amid China’s rising concerns about increasing trend of officials and Communist Party members taking to religion include Tibetan Buddhism and Christianity.

The government has sent 13 inspection teams to 10 provinces and regions including Tibet, Zhejiang, Sichuan and Jiangsu, to weed out corruption and “close loopholes in the Party and government work”, the Xinhua reported.

The inspection revealed some party members in Zhejiang had “allegedly embraced religious beliefs”. The Communist Party members are banned from practicing religions.

Xinhua cited the recent demolition of churches in Zhejiang indicating that it was done after inspection showed officials supporting them.

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