China bans ‘wrongly educated’ India-trained monks

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Beijing, May 15 (IANS) China has banned India-trained “wrongly educated” monks from teaching Buddhism, fearing they may be of “separatist” bend.

The ban was imposed by a county in China’s Southwest province in Sichuan, according to the state-run Global Times.

An official said on Monday that “monks wrongly educated in India were banned from teaching Buddhism to residents of Litang county”.

Buddhism is one of the five officially recognised religions in China.

China accuses Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama of secessionist activities in Tibet where most people follow Buddhism.

The county Litang stages patriotic education classes every year for those educated and awarded Gexe Lharampa, the highest academic degree in Tibetan Buddhist studies in India, an official from Litang’s ethnic and religious affairs bureau told the Global Times.

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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, said the official who refused to be named.

China has its own criteria to award Gexe Lharampa. 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 Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, told the Global Times.

Some 105 monks in Tibet have been awarded the Chinese Buddhist version of the degree since 2004, the Xinhua news agency reported.

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–IANS

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