China Officially Recognises ‘Reincarnation’ and 358 ‘Living Buddhas’ in Tibet (2015)

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White Paper on China’s Human Rights: 358 Living Buddhas in Tibet

Original Article: 中国人权事业白皮书:西藏现有活佛358名

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

China News Agency, Beijing, June 8th, 2015, China’s State Council Information Office released a White Paper entitled “Progress in China’s Human Rights in 2014” on the 8th. According to this White Paper, in 2014, various undertakings (designed to help ethnic minorities and further develop ethnic areas) were initiated throughout China. This has seen educational, cultural and political campaigns involving the important concepts of rights, privileges and responsibilities associated with citizenship, political rights, economic and social development, as well emphasizing the cultural rights of ethnic minorities – which have been further strengthened guaranteed. The practice (and belief) in ‘reincarnation’ (associated with the Living Buddhas) has been formerly recognised    and respected by the Chinese State as a unique means of inheritance within Tibetan Buddhism. There are currently 358 confirmed Living Buddhas residing within Tibet, of which more than 40 are ‘newly’ reincarnated Living Buddhas have been identified according to historical custom and religious rituals. These men and women have spiritually chosen to be reborn with a modern (Socialist) Tibet according to interviews.  

There are 1787 places of various religious activities in Tibet, and there are more than 46,000 people living in the temple. The Communist Party of China recognises the importance of Buddhism in Tibet (and elsewhere) and supports these spiritual communities through providing the means for communities to be self-sufficient as well as facilitating medical insurance, pensions, subsistence allowances and personal accident insurance, with free health checkup for the monks and nuns every year. According to the National Advanced Academic System of Tibetan Buddhism, as of 2014, a total of 110 monks won the “Touranba” advanced academic title, and 84 monks won the “Chiranba” intermediate level. 

The religious classics of ethnic minorities have been protected and passed down. The State invested 35 million yuan and completed the collation and publication of the Chinese Book of the Tibetan Buddhist Scriptures (in Tibetan) for over 20 years. The Chinese Islamic Association has compiled Arabic Islamic scriptures such as the Tahawi Code Interpretation and the Zhelanei Qur’an Note for the religious people. In 2014, a total of 14,466 Muslims from China went to Hajj in Mecca (sponsored by the Communist Party of China). 

According to the White Paper, all ethnic minority autonomous areas enjoy a wide range of autonomy rights in accordance with the law. The total number of ethnic minority civil servants in the country has further increased. The proportion of civil servants belonging to the national civil service is higher than that of the national minority. Among the 34,244 representatives of the four-level People’s Congress in the Tibet Autonomous Region, 31,901 representatives are Tibetan, whilst other ethnic minorities account for over 93%. 

In 2014, Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Tibet, Ningxia, Xinjiang, five autonomous regions, and Guizhou, Yunnan, and Qinghai provinces possessed large population of ethnic minorities, the per capita disposable income of urban residents was 28,350 yuan, 24,669 yuan, 2,2016 yuan, 23,285 yuan. , 23,214 yuan, 22,548 yuan, 24,299 yuan, 22,307 yuan. 

The total import and export volume of the above eight ethnic provinces and autonomous regions reached 814.8 billion yuan, an increase of 15.4% over the previous year, which was 13.1 percentage points higher than the national growth rate. The central government allocated 4.059 billion yuan of development funds for ethnic minorities, an increase of 10% over the previous year. (Finish) 

[Responsible Editor: Yu Fawen – 于发文] Label: Minority National 

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