Religious freedom is something that most of us around the world take for granted. But the ban on Dorje Shugden instigated by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) prevents practitioners from observing their religious practice in peace. Following the advice given by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan populace have taken matters into their own hands. Supported by the CTA, they promote intolerance, segregation and violence.
The Chinese government, seeing just how divisive this ban is, have outlawed the creation of division and intolerance. Any government that truly cares for its subjects would want harmony and unity within its society. That they are doing so is simply good governance, as compared to the CTA who continue in their efforts to divide and conquer.
The article below showcases just how much China values harmony and religious freedom among its people. It highlights the fact that an elderly gentleman was jailed for promoting this harmful division. Whereas we do not condone the actions, given the gentleman’s age, we do value China’s efforts to promote religious harmony.
The length to which the Tibetans take the Dalai Lama’s divisive advice to extremes is highlighted by the fact that a 28-year-old would stab himself to death following the destruction of a Dorje Shugden statue. The all-powerful dictates of the Tibetan god-king still linger in the minds of many Tibetans. This viewpoint does nothing but undermine the universal right to religious freedom and even the teachings of non-violence and acceptance taught by the Buddha himself. China at least seems to want harmony and promotes religious freedom.
Elderly Tibetan is Jailed For Discouraging Worship of Controversial Deity
Updated at 9:45 a.m. EST on 2014-12-15
An elderly Tibetan man has been ordered jailed by Chinese authorities for advising a group of Tibetan students to abide by the Dalai Lama’s call not to participate in a controversial form of worship deemed “divisive” by the exiled spiritual leader, sources said.
Jamyang Tsering, 77, was handed a one-and-a-half year term in early December by a court in Dzogang (in Chinese, Zuogong) county in the Chamdo (Changdu) prefecture of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“He is currently being held in the Dzogang detention center pending transfer to a jail in Chamdo,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“His relatives are worried about his health, which is said to be not good,” the source said, adding that Tsering suffers from abdominal disorders, diabetes, and high blood pressure, among other ailments.
“He himself says he has done nothing wrong and has no regrets. His only concern is for his wife, who is 86 and was left behind in [the regional capital] Lhasa after he was detained,” he said.
Tsering, a native of Chamdo, was taken into custody in early June after encouraging a group of Chamdo-area students visiting Lhasa to follow the wishes and guidance of the Dalai Lama and to always “hold to their pride in being Tibetan,” the source said.
“He had also advised as many people as possible in local gatherings not to worship Shugden,” a Tibetan “protector” deity whose rituals have been denounced by the Dalai Lama as divisive and sectarian, he said.
Chinese police frequently investigate and arrest Tibetans deemed to have responded to the policy directives of the India-based Dalai Lama, whom Beijing considers a dangerous separatist bent on “splitting” Tibet from Chinese control.
Earlier this year, a young Tibetan stabbed himself to death when police attempted to detain him in Chamdo’s Markham (Mangkang) county over the destruction of a Shugden statue six years ago, sources told RFA in an earlier report.
Tashi Tsering, a 28-year-old layman, had joined together with at least eight monks of Chamdo’s Khenpaluk monastery in 2008 to destroy the statue of the deity after the Dalai Lama urged Tibetans to abandon its worship, one source said.
When the Dalai Lama in 2008 publicly criticized Shugden worship as damaging to harmony among Tibetans, Khenpaluk monastery was the first religious establishment in the area to ban the practice, the source said.
“Some monks of Khenpaluk then volunteered to dismantle the statue,” which had been installed by a private sponsor, he said.
Chamdo police in April issued a set of regulations including a ban on “anyone using the protector ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ to create differences among the believing masses” and using language that appeared to be “aimed primarily at opponents or critics of the Shugden practice,” Columbia University Tibet scholar Robbie Barnett told RFA in an e-mail on Friday.
“From the perspective of the Chinese, they have a responsibility to prevent violence and conflict over this, as with any other contentious issue among Tibetans,” Barnett said.
“However, the Chinese authorities have published numerous statements attacking the Dalai Lama on the Shugden issue both in Tibet and internationally,” he said.
“So they are widely perceived within Tibet as favoring the pro-Shugden side in this dispute.”
Reported by RFA’s Tibetan Service. Written in English with additional reporting by Richard Finney.
The article on Radio Free Asia’s website