Experts: "Theocracy has lost its root in Tibet" 2008-04-11 20:45:10   Print

  BEIJING, April 11 (Xinhua) -- A modern administrative system featuring regional autonomy and proper public services, is thriving in Tibet, said Tibetologists who denied any possibility of the region returning to theocracy with the Dalai Lama as its head.

    Theocracy has lost its root in Tibet as people have learned from the past, Professor Lhagpa Phuntshogs, China Tibetology Research Center (CTRC) general director, told Xinhua Friday.

    "Tibet had been under the theocratic rule and feudal serfdom for centuries until the 1950s," he said, adding theocracy in Tibet was not unique from the system that used to dominate Europe and was abandoned since the Renaissance in the 15th century.

    The old political system poisoned Tibet, leaving thousands in poverty and slavery, he said. "The Dalai Lama, since the fifth one, has sat at the top of this hierarchy and remained its symbol till now.

    "People might forget who were those following the Dalai Lama to flee Tibet in 1959 and why they left?" he said.

    Historical documents showed that the majority of the Dalai Lama's followers in 1959 were nobles and monks that enjoyed privilege under the theocratic and feudal rule. They stood against China because they refused any reforms and changes to the old system that the central government initiated, the expert said.

    The "Tibetan government-in-exile", founded by the Dalai Lama and his supporters, adopted a theocracy-like system, said Tang Jiawei. The famed Tibetologist based in southwest Sichuan Province cited its "constitution" that granted the Dalai Lama the highest power upon its religious and political affairs.

    "The Dalai group is not as democratic and free of conflicts and violence inside itself as its leader claims," Tang said.

    One of the most well known incidents was the Dalai Lama's attack against believers of a Tibetan Buddhist deity, Dorjee Shugden.

    The religious repression from the Dalai Lama and his men upon this group of believers started in the 1990s. In 1996, the Dalai Lama ordered a ban against worshipping the deity and a number of the deity's statues were damaged while believers were harassed and threatened.

    This led to a 300-people protest in London when the Dalai Lama visited the British capital in the summer of 1996.

    At a ritual in India in January 2007, he again ordered people not to worship Dorjee Shugden, denounced its believers as spies of the Chinese government and asked his followers to make black-or-white decision between him and Dorjee Shugden.

    After this statement, statues of the deity were damaged in some temples in Tibet and other Tibetan-inhabited regions.

    Observers said the Dalai Lama was using religion to suppress his political rivals and achieve political targets.

    While Tibetan people were working hard to improve their hometowns, the Dalai Lama and his supporters harassed the Chinese border with foreign anti-China forces in the 1960s and fanned violent incidents in the 1980s. Last month, the violence claimed 19 innocent lives in Lhasa.

    "Tibet is not paradise. It faces challenges and difficulties during its development," said Bi Hua, a CTRC expert. "But people know who are showing the real sense of responsibility to Tibet."

    "Tibet has made great progress in the past decades," added 60-something Tenzin Ganpa, another CTRC senior researcher and a native of Lhasa.

    Common people are provided with improving public services in education, health care, pension and housing while enjoying a higher living standard, he said.

Editor: Yangtze Yan
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