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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

China's Panchen Lama cites Buddha to praise Beijing

March 23, 2009

By Ben Blanchard
March 22, 2009

BEIJING, March 22 (Reuters) -- The Tibetan
anointed by Beijing as the region's
second-ranking spiritual leader was quoted by
Chinese state media on Sunday as saying the
teachings of Buddhism justify the Communist
Party's rule in his remote homeland.

His comments came two weeks after the exiled
Dalai Lama said 50 years under Communism had
brought "untold suffering" and turned the region
he once ruled as spiritual and temporal leader into a "living hell".

Gyaltsen Norbu, recognised by China as the 11th
incarnation of the Panchen Lama but spurned by
many Tibetans, said the last few decades had
brought freedom and prosperity to the people of
Tibet, thanks to the "wise" leadership of the Party.

The 19-year-old, writing in an editorial in Party
mouthpiece the People's Daily to be published on
Monday, cited a line of Buddhist scripture about
good leaders leading to happy people.

"What this means to me is that only with wise
leaders will the country be peaceful and the
people happy," the Panchen Lama said in the
article, carried a day early by the official Xinhua news agency.

"Facts prove that only under the leadership of
the Communist Party has there been today's
prosperous development in Tibet, and only under
their leadership will there be an even better future."

He said he would continue, as his predecessors
did, to uphold the "four great loves" -- of the
Communist Party, of socialism, of his own people and of religious belief.

"I will ... spare no effort (to protecting)
national unity, the unity of the people and their
happiness, and do so for the rest of my life," the Panchen Lama added.

March is the sensitive 50th anniversary of the
Dalai Lama's flight to India and the first
anniversary of deadly riots in Lhasa that sparked
waves of protests in Tibetan areas. China brands
the Nobel Peace Prize winner a separatist.

This year Beijing has promised stability and
sealed off ethnic Tibetan parts of the country to
all foreigners, while launching a campaign to
celebrate achievements it says include economic
progress and the abolition of serfdom.

Many Tibetans outside China dispute these
achievements, saying they were launching their
own reforms and Beijing's depiction of
traditional society is a distorted caricature.

But the Panchen Lama said that as a descendent of
serfs he was "extremely moved" by the campaign to
celebrate the abolition of serfdom, which he said
had bought a sea change to the lives of ordinary Tibetans.

"Facts speak louder than words. Only with the
Communist Party did the serfs of old find dignity and freedom," he said.

China has poured billions of dollars into
modernising Tibet but a dispute over the Panchen
Lama's position has left a void that could foster
conflict and violence after the death of the Dalai Lama, now 73.

Another 5-year-old boy was chosen by the Dalai
Lama as successor to the 10th Panchen Lama in
1995, but he has disappeared from public view since his selection became known.

China's critics call him the world's youngest
political prisoner. Beijing says he does not want
publicity and has a normal life with his family.

(Editing by Dean Yates)
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