His “religious” message centers on establishing the guiding role of President Xi and his ideology. Tibetans know who he is. It is time to unmask him abroad as well.
by Lopsang Gurung
Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. When we look at the picture above, we are immediately impressed by the red flags and the giant portrait of Xi Jinping. This is absolutely normal at all events organized by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). What is less normal is the presence of Tibetan monks. And the man presiding over the meeting is the false Panchen Lama.
In the Tibetan Buddhist Gelug tradition, the Panchen Lama is the second most important figure after the Dalai Lama. The 10th Panchen Lama died in 1989. The world knows that the real 11th Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, was kidnapped by the CCP at age six in 1995, immediately after having been recognized by the Dalai Lama. He became the youngest prisoner of conscience in the world. If he is alive as the CCP maintains, his present whereabouts are unknown.
Having kidnapped the genuine 11th Panchen Lama, the CCP proceeded to install a Tibetan child educated in Beijing, Gyaincain Norbu, as a false 11th Panchen Lama of its own. The false Panchen Lama is now also Vice President of the CCP-controlled China Buddhist Association and member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
While despised and even ridiculed by most Tibetan Buddhists, the false Panchen Lama plays a useful role for the CCP. He travels around China and the world as a fake representative of Tibetan Buddhism, slandering the Dalai Lama and claiming that Tibetans enjoy religious freedom. He always finds religious leaders abroad, either naïve or generously funded by the CCP, ready to take him seriously.
The false Panchen Lama has a much more difficult time in Tibet, where Buddhists perfectly understand his game. But he keeps trying. Recently, the China Buddhist Association published an illustrated report of his propaganda activities in Tibet this summer.
Gyaincain Norbu presided over various conferences, such as the one depicted in the photograph we reproduce, whose visual trappings immediately clarified what they were all about. We are told that he toured Lhasa and other parts of Tibet to “promote Tibetan Buddhism to adapt to socialist society and the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” He insisted that “the Tibetan Buddhist community must thoroughly study and implement the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Party and promote the spirit of the 20th National Congress.”
His message was centered on the “Two Establishes,” i.e., “establish the status of Comrade Xi Jinping as the core of the Party’s Central Committee and of the whole Party; and establish the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era.”
Once again, Tibetans understood that the false Panchen Lama is just a traveling salesperson of Communist ideology and “Xi Jinping Thought.” He should also be unmasked as such abroad.