China gives Tibet religious freedom


The official line on Shugden: translation

International Campaign for Tibet on April 7, 2015

Translated from the Tibetan
(Retrieved from the International Campaign for Tibet (-

The document, entitled “Some opinions on dealing correctly with the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue”, was issued by the Communist Party Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region on February 20, 2014. The document makes it clear that it is aimed at guiding understanding of the issue in order to convey this to the ‘masses’. A copy was received by ICT and is translated into English below.

Also, see our related report “China’s new directive on controversial Shugden spirit in Tibet in bid to further discredit Dalai Lama” here »

Some opinions on dealing correctly with the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue

Issued by Tibet Autonomous Region Party Committee Office, February 20, 2014

The ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue is an important front in our struggle with the Dalai Clique, and since it is presently an important issue affecting the normal regulation of Tibetan Buddhism and stability in our region, the nature of the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue must be correctly recognized, the principles and methods for dealing with the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue must be mastered, so that we take a firm stand, clearly display the banners, use skillful methods and are able to act unprompted, stand up to the fight without dithering, and find appropriate solutions, all of utmost importance for social harmony and stability[1] in our region. With the publication and distribution of these opinions on our regional Party Committee’s handling of the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue, you should study and master them in your own work, as well as educate and guide the masses.

  1. The ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue should be given a high degree of importance, and be clearly recognized as a deceitful ploy by the 14th Dalai’s Clique to split the country.[2] ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ is one of the important protector deities worshipped by the Geluk and Sakya schools of Tibetan Buddhism.[3] Since the time of the 5th Dalai, successive Dalai and Panchen, ordinary monks of Geluk and Sakya monasteries, and even the 14th Dalai himself have all had faith in and propitiated “Gyalchen Shugden.” However, since the 14th Dalai Clique fled the country, in opposition to the Motherland, to [their own] nationality and to religion, undertook various activities to split the Motherland. After these ended in defeat, and internal dissension increased, they banned[4] the propitiation of ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ in order to blame others for what are their responsibilities and transforming the contradictions, in an evil scheme to destroy the unity of the Motherland and destroy the social stability in Tibet.
    In particular, as the 14th Dalai’s Clique’s attempts to fabricate extreme incidents such as self-immolation in the aftermath of the “3/14 incident”[5] repeatedly met with no success, and as there was no way to fulfill their evil deeds, in their anguish in not being able to bear the defeat, they immediately launched a new evil action by reviving the dispute over the propitiation or non-propitiation of ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ by relying on opposition to it, with the evil hope to promote discord among believers within our borders. On one hand, they blamed their defeat on the harm caused by ‘Gyalchen Shugden,’ using religion to continue misleading the masses, and on the other, they used the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue as a pretext for stirring up discord among ordinary believers, creating disagreements and incidents, with intent to breed chaos in Tibet and other Tibetan areas, in order to realize their goal of splitting the Motherland and destroying the stability in Tibet.
    We must clearly recognize and give high significance to the long-term nature and acute nature of our struggle with the 14th Dalai Clique, and clearly recognize the complex, pervasive and deceptive nature of the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue, taking the correct handling of this issue as an important front in our struggle with the Dalai Clique, and with clear awareness, firm mindedness and full conviction, exercising surveillance and challenging them on one’s own initiative, we must decisively grind into dust the Dalai Clique’s deceitful plot to split the Motherland and destroy the stability of Tibet on the pretext of the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue.
  1. We must unflinchingly and thoroughly remain committed to the Party’s religion policy in order to promote mutual adaptation between Tibetan Buddhism and the socialist society.
    The basic principle of our Party’s policy on religion is to respect and protect the public’s freedom of religious belief.[6] Freedom of religious belief is an important policy in Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas, and it is not only an important policy for each individual member of the masses of ordinary believers, but is also an important policy for dealing with the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue. With respect to the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue, believing or not-believing is up to each individual member of the masses of believers. For instance, whether the believing community keeps a statue of Buddha Sakyamuni in their homes, or a statue of Avalokitesvara,[7] is the public’s freedom; the Party and government need not interfere, and neither should Party members or officials. Our only standard and position, which complements our basic issue, is that they uphold the leadership of the Communist Party, respect socialism with Chinese characteristics, preserve the unity of the Motherland, and respect laws and regulations. With those preconditions in place, the Party’s religious freedom policy must be firmly implemented, respecting, as best as possible, the wishes of the believing masses.
    We should not publicize the issue of belief in ‘Gyalchen Shugden,’not interfere, not politicize, not see belief or nonbelief in black and white terms, and not make belief or nonbelief in ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ as the basis for drawing a clear line with the Dalai Clique. Rather, it is those who love the country and love religion, respect regulations and abide by laws, preserve the unity of the Motherland , maintain stability in Tibet, and contribute to Tibet’s development and stability who are good citizens, good members of the public, and good monks/nuns.
    No one may create contradictions or disputes among monastic communities or masses of believers over the issue of religious devotion. We should win over the hearts of the masses to our side, and not fall for the deceptions of the 14th Dalai Clique.
    With regard to basic management of monasteries and other centers of religious activity, the approach should be that there should be regard for history, maintenance of the present situation, no new strategy, and no creation of complications.
  1. Those who, following the 14th Dalai Clique, create disturbances or incidents, or form organizations using the pretext of the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue, must be punished strictly according to law and with firm determination, and should not be tolerated at all cost. We must continue to maintain a clear attitude and be clear minded on this issue, not change the present situation, not get into disputes or allow incidents to occur. Thus, first, we must respect the public’s religious freedom and allow the masses to choose for themselves. Secondly, those who, with the confidence of having truth, and wearing the armor of legality, and under the pretext of the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue, instigate deception and cause public gatherings and disturbances, irrespective of whether they represent the believers or non-believers or what banners they carry, should be strictly punished according to law as and when the incidents occur. If there is involvement by Party members or officials, they must be strictly dealt with on the basis of disciplinary regulations, so that enemy forces do not get so much as a sesame seed’s chance of an opportunity.
  1. Reinforce the education of the monks, nuns, and the believing community by expressing, as best as possible, the strengths of representatives from the religious community who love the country and love religion. By deepening the conduct of service activities for religious persons at the lower levels, we should organize visits, by respected religious figures in favor of love the country, love religion, to monasteries and villages to strengthen the publicity on freedom of religious belief policy and the good traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, so as to expose and challenge the politically reactionary, religiously misleading, and methodologically deceptive nature of the 14th Dalai’s Clique, and to expose and denounce the 14th Dalai’s Clique’s ban on ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ propitiation as an unwarranted grudge and a plot that is ruinous for Tibet and divisive for religion. Instead, monks, nuns and the believing community should be shown that all citizens of new Socialist Tibet have freedom of religious belief. Everyone has the freedom to believe in any religion and sect.
    The believing masses are equal; they should not interfere in each other’s matters; nobody should coerce anyone or show condescension. They should be made known that anything against this would be considered damaging to human rights and action that violates the rules and regulations.
    To the broad mass of monks and nuns and believing community, differentiation should be made between Tibetan Buddhism and the 14th Dalai and between the 14th Dalai and the Dalai title; through self-awareness make a clear differentiation with the 14th Dalai and thus not fall under the deception, incitement, and enticement of the 14th Dalai clique. They should be given education and training so that they can contribute to the best of their ability to the development and stability of Tibet through self-awareness, loving the country and loving religion; respecting the regulations and obeying the laws; eschewing sins and accumulating positive merits; and honoring peace and harmony.
  1. All levels of Party and government institutions; the work units based in the village; the Democratic Management committees in the monasteries; the departments of “Shuang Lian Hu” [unit consisting of the joining of a village with households] etc., should through in-depth consideration, perform the political tasks well and together preserve and maintain periods of peace, harmony and stability in Tibet by assuming their own responsibilities and wholly fulfilling their obligations.
    With continuation of the religious freedom policy as the basis, begin controlling ahead, controlling when small; quick control and good control. Beginning with understanding the issue, removing contradictions and deciding on issues, all necessary precautionary steps should be taken. Through in-depth performance of tasks relating to the monks, nuns and the believing community and with clear display of banners, explain clearly the religious freedom policy of the Party and the government; by explaining clearly that it is the public’s freedom whether to believe or not to believe, and not make a black and white differentiation between belief and non-belief. It should be clearly explained that among the believing community and among the sects, there should be mutual respect, mutual understanding, friendly co-existence and peaceful and harmonious togetherness.
    Through calm and stable attitude, and through new methods of vanquishing the other side, on issues relating to ‘Gyalchen Shugden,’‘Gyalchen Shugden,’when there are early indications of expulsion, condescension, assembly and disputes, close attention should be paid and these should be automatically confronted, quickly and appropriately decided so that the bad causes are removed from source.
    Deciding clearly on the ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ issue is of great importance. Under the firm leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the General Secretary, hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics and Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of “Three Represents”[8] and the Scientific Outlook on Development as guide to action.
    Bearing in mind the successive important speeches of General Secretary Xi Jinping, in particular his important strategic thought: “To govern the country well, the prerequisite is to govern the frontiers well; to govern the frontiers well, maintaining stability in Tibet is a prerequisite” as well as “To make efforts to realize Tibet’s continued stability, long term stability and comprehensive stability; to guarantee lasting happiness in Tibet, to guarantee peace and stability in the frontier region” and to implement these important guidelines.
    By resolutely implementing Chairman Yu Zhengsheng’s[9] advice: “Rule Tibet as per law, develop Tibet for the long term, win the hearts of the people, and strengthen the foundations.” Thereby, in order to decide well on the issue of ‘Gyalchen Shugden’ there should be united thoughts, united pace, and united action. As per the guidelines issued by the [Tibet] Autonomous Region’s Party Committee and government, implement all measures and perform all tasks well, thus giving new and unceasing victory to the struggle against separatism. Resolutely strengthen the good circumstances of progress, peace and harmony and spare no effort to promote Tibet’s leap-frog development[10] and long term peace and stability.


[1] In Chinese political language, ‘stability’ is a coded reference to the need to prevent any form of ‘social disorder’. In Tibetan areas, ‘stability maintenance’ has been carried out on a war footing.

[2] The Dalai Lama is routinely described as a ‘splittist’ by the Beijing leadership, i.e. someone who attempts to ‘split’ Tibet from China, although his position of seeking a genuine autonomy for Tibet under the sovereignty of the PRC is well-known.

[3] The Geluk and Sakya schools are two of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama, although recognized as the supreme leader of all Tibetan Buddhists, belongs to the Geluk, or ‘Yellow Hat’ school.

[4] Western Shugden supporters also allege a ban, which as mentioned in our report, is false.

[5] This is a reference to the protests in Lhasa on March 14, 2008. The Chinese authorities have sought to characterize the more than 300 overwhelmingly peaceful protests that swept across the plateau in 2008 as one violent riot.

[6] China’s Constitution states that citizens of the PRC have freedom of religious belief, but the Chinese Communist Party defines what is ‘acceptable’ religious behavior, and religion is only tolerated as long as it does not interfere with or challenge the legitimacy of Party rule. The measures used to implement state religious policy have been particularly harsh in Tibet because of the close connection between Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan identity. See ICT report, ‘The Chinese Communist Party as Living Buddha’,

[7] Avalokitesvara (Tibetan: Chenrezig) is the Bodhisattva of Compassion. The Dalai Lama is believed to be a manifestation of Avalokitesvara.

[8] A guiding socio-political theory ascribed to former President and Chinese Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin, meaning that “the Communist Party of China should be representative to advanced social productive forces, advanced culture, and the interests of the overwhelming majority.”

[9] A member of the Politburo Standing Committee, Yu Zhengsheng is also the chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.)

[10] A term frequently used to describe China’s objectives of fast-track development in Tibet.


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8 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. This indeed is good news for the Tibethan because it will help to unite the Tibethan in world is very bad when the Tibethan splits themselves to DS practitioner and non DS practitioner that create a lot of suffering is good the Chinese government do something about to unite back the Tibethan , the most important thing the Chinese government give religion freedom that is very important for the Tibethan .

  2. This is beautiful that the Communist Party of China believes in religious freedom and firmly abhor the Dalai Clique for the Ban on Dorje Shugden, which is used as a weapon to split the Tibetan people.

    It is also amazing that China, who is supposed to be very intolerant to any form of personal freedom feels that worshipping of any deity is a personal freedom of choice as long as no disharmony nor discord with the rule of law which is in place in any country.

    Let the CTA be aware of the great shift in the thoughts of the Chinese authorities to preserve stability in Tibet for the welfare of Tibetans in comparison to what CTA is doing with its divisive policies.

    Let the world also take the courage to encourage the lifting of the ban for personal freedom which is what most first world democratic countries are aligned to, religious freedom.

  3. Given that the International Campaign for Tibet are another organization that receives money from the CIA via the National Endowment for Democracy, I am more concerned about Shugden Buddhists being caught up in a propaganda war between China and America.

  4. Tibetan community have never been split to such extent over any issue unlike the Dorje Shudgen issue. The Dorje Shudgen issue pits brother against brother, parents versus their children and the list of permutations goes on and on. How can such a ban be considered beneficial for the Tibetan people? So China have the right through its observations to say that the Dorje Shudgen ban/discrimination causes dissatisfaction and suffering for the Tibetan people.

    Secondly China has the right to determine and support the kinds of faiths and beliefs that it allows within its borders and even stamp out practices that affect national security or those that bring no benefit and even harm to its people.

    Religion can be a very sensitive issue for the Chinese, as religion or faith affects one’s mind, and the boundaries of the mind is not something that is easily observed or policed by the Chinese. So it is encouraging that the Chinese find the practice and practitioners of Dorje Shugden to be of benefit to the people and is considered not a threat at all in the eyes of the Chinese.

  5. that is great

  6. China is known to a country which is quite strict with the religion practice. If I have not remembered wrongly, China have actually persecuted a religion “fa Lun” before. The matter of facts China allowed the practice of Dorje Shugden in the country, is already a sign that they believed that Dorje Shugden is a Buddha. And they respect Dorje Shugden a lot.

  7. Dear Dalai Lama,

    Since you started the cruel ban against the 350 year Dorje Shugden practice, how has it benefit your Tibetan society and Buddhism in the world? Things have become worse and most educated Tibetans can see this. They don’t speak out not because they don’t see your ban as wrong, but you instill fear in them and not respect. It is like fear of a dictator. I am sorry to say so. Everyone is divided. There is no harmony. Before your ban there was more harmony and unity.

    By enacting the ban, you split the monasteries, split so many families, split regions in Tibet apart, split your disciples from you, split your own gurus from you, split Tibetan Buddhism apart. You have created so much disharmony.

    It is not democratic what you have done to ban a religion within your community. You always talk of tolerance and acceptance and democracy and yet you do not accept and tolerate something different from your beliefs. When people practice Dorje Shugden you ostracize them, ban them from seeing you, ban them from using Tibetan facilities. You know you have done that. There are videos that capture your speech and prove this point. You even had people expelled from monasteries just because they practice Dorje Shugden. Some of the monks you expelled have been in the monastery for over 40 years. Many older monks shed tears because of this.

    Many young educated Tibetans lost confidence in you as they saw the damage the Dorje Shugden ban created and they lose hope. Many have become free thinkers. They reject what you have done. So many people in the west left Buddhism because of the confusion you created with this ban against Dorje Shugden which is immoral.

    You could of had millions of people who practice Dorje Shugden to support, love and follow you, but you scared them away. They are hurt and very disappointed. They loved you and respected you deeply before the ban. It has been 60 years and you have failed to get Tibet back. Your biggest failure is not getting Tibet back after 57 years in exile. Now you are begging China to allow you to return to Tibet to the disappointment of thousands of people who fought for a free Tibet believing in you. So many self-immolated for a free Tibet and now you want Tibet to be a part of China with no referendum from Tibetans. Just like a dictator, you decide on your own. It was your government and you that lost Tibet in the first place. Your policies and style of doing things do not benefit Tibet and Buddhism. You have been the sole ruler of Tibet your whole life and you still have not gotten our country of Tibet back for us. Our families and us are separated. Yet you create more pain by creating a ban to further divide people. Please have compassion.

    No other Buddhist leader has banned or condemned any religion except for you. It looks very bad. You are a Nobel laureate and this is not fitting of a laureate. You should unite people and not separate them by religious differences.

    You said Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi did not do right to the Rohingya people in Myanmar due to religious differences, but you are doing the same thing to the Shugden Buddhists within your own society. There is a parallel in this. You separate the Shugden Buddhists from the others in Tibetan society.

    You have lost so many people who would have loved and supported you. You have lost so much support around the world. The Shugden Buddhists who love you number in the millions. When you are fast losing support from governments and private people, it will not do you well to lose more.

    After you are passed away in the future, the rift you created between the Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people will remain for a while and that will be your legacy. Disharmony. You will be remembered for this. Not as a hero but a disharmony creator.

    Dorje Shugden will spread and further grow, but you will be no more as you are a human. No one wishes you bad and in fact we hope you have a long and healthy life, but we have lost so much hope and have so much despair because of you. All the hundreds of Dorje Shugden lamas, tulkus and geshes are maturing and there are hundreds of Dorje Shugden monasteries in Tibet who will not give up Dorje Shugden. You have made a mistake. These hundreds of teachers and teachers to be will spread Dorje Shugden further in the future.

    The gurus that gave us Dorje Shugden as a spiritual practice and you have called these holy gurus wrong and they are mistaken in giving us Dorje Shugden. How can you insult our gurus whom we respect so much? If they can be wrong, then you can be wrong. Then all gurus can be wrong. So no one needs to listen to any guru? You have created this trend. It is not healthy. Your own gurus practiced Dorje Shugden their whole lives. Your own gurus were exemplary and highly learned.

    Dalai Lama you have created so much pain with this ban against so many people due to religion. You are ageing fast. Are you going to do anything about it or stay stubborn, hard and un-moving. You show a smile and preach peace and harmony wherever you go. But will you do the same to your own people? Please rectify the wrong you have done. Please before it is too late. You can create harmony again or you can pass away in the future with this legacy of peace. May you live long and think carefully and admit what was a mistake in having this unethical ban against Dorje Shugden religion.

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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