Beijing: China on Saturday prominently projected
Panchen Lama, its purported alternative to the Dalai Lama,
during the inaugural session of the annual meeting of the
Chinese Parliament, amid a volatile situation in Tibet
following recurring suicides by Buddhist monks and nuns.
The 23-year-old Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, who was
inducted into the Chinese People`s Political Consultative
Conference (CPPCC), an influential advisory legislative body
in 2010, was given prominent coverage both in the state
television and official website on its opening day today.
Bainqen, who was chosen by China to be 11t Panchen Lama,
was seated along with a senior Buddhist monk in the CPPCC
session at the Great Hall Of People, which was attended among
others by the entire Chinese leadership, including President
Bainqen, who is mostly based in Beijing, tours Tibet
especially Shigatse, the seat of successive Panchen Lamas who
are regarded in Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy next only to Dalai
Lama in terms of spiritual influence.
Last month, he was recently given audience by Premier Wen
Jiabao to greet him on the Tibetan New Year. Wen held a high
profile reception for him in Zhongnanhai compound in central
Beijing, where the Chinese leaders meet top global leaders.
The meeting took place amid a tense situation in Tibet
following a wave of self-immolations by Buddhist monks and
nuns against Beijing`s rule.
Over the last several months, 22 suicide attempts have
taken place by monks and nuns calling for the return of the
Dalai Lama from exile in India.
China has stepped up security and tightened controls in
temples and monasteries to bring the situation under control.
Top Chinese leaders have accused the Dalai Lama of instigating
the self-immolations in Tibet.