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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China's Lama show at Buddhist forum

February 21, 2010

The Telegraph (India)
April 12, 2006

Hangzhou (China), April 12 (Reuters) -- China’s
atheist communist rulers used the opportunity of
the World Buddhist Forum to introduce the 11th
Panchen Lama to the world stage today, but fellow delegates shunned him.

Beijing anointed Gyaltsen Norbu as Tibet’s
second-most important religious figure in 1995,
rejecting spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama’s
nominee, who has disappeared and is believed to
be under house arrest. However, many Tibetans and
westerners dismiss China’s choice as a sham.

Gyaltsen Norbu sat alongside Buddhist leaders
attending the World Buddhist Forum during an
audience with Jia Qinglin, ranked fourth in the
Communist Party hierarchy, at a hotel in the
scenic city of Hangzhou in China's east coast.

The visiting dignitaries had filed into a room
and were introduced to Jia and other Communist
leaders, but no one walked over to shake hands
with Gyaltsen Norbu who sat quietly and appeared
uneasy. Fellow Buddhists made no attempt to
publicly greet the Panchen Lama during the few
minutes when reporters were allowed in the room with them.

The World Buddhist Forum ? China's first
international religious meeting since the
communists swept to power in 1949 ? will begin in
Hangzhou tomorrow and wind up in nearby Zhoushan on Sunday.

Organisers timed the forum to coincide with the
Christian festival of Easter, sources said,
apparently to send a message of China's greater
religious tolerance to church-going President
George W. Bush ahead of his summit with Chinese
President Hu Jintao later this month.
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