Focus on Panchen Lama at China`s top advisory body
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Last Updated: Wednesday, March 03, 2010, 22:08
Beijing: Panchen Lama, the 20-year-old Tibetan monk elevated to China's top advisory body, stole the show at its annual inaugural session here today as Beijing sought to project him as an alternative to exiled Dalai Lama.

Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu known as Panchen Lama was among 13 people who has been nominated as new members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

A festive atmosphere prevailed at the historic Tiananmen square, the scene of the 1989 student protest that shook the ruling Chinese Communist Party, as over 2,200 delegates to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), arrived for the 10-day annual session.

Attention of the large foreign media covering the otherwise lacklustre session turned onto Panchen Lama, (original name Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu) who was chosen by the Chinese government as the member of the CPPCC days before the session kicked off.

One of the legislators from Tibet, who declined to be identified in a brief conversation with the Indian media, projected the young monk as the spiritual voice of Tibet.

"He (Panchen Lama) is a living Buddha and works for the development of religious affairs, economic, social and environmental issues of Tibet," he said.

The Panchen Lama is expected to take a central role in the coming months to blunt the Tibet independence campaign of Dalai Lama. China is expected to project him as the sole spiritual representative of Tibetan Buddhism. The young Lama sat silently as TV cameras gave him a fair projection.

Beijing in recent weeks has attacked the Dalai Lama, saying that he ceased to be a Tibetan after his last year's assertion that he was born Tibetan but spiritually an Indian.

The young Lama has been given increasing political role lately and he appeared along with the Communist Party leaders in recent years praising Chinese rule in Tibet.

However, Chinese officials declined to respond to a question whether the monk could be a rival to the exiled Tibetan leader.

Asked whether Panchen Lama?s elevation would improve the image of China, he said: "Of course. He will play more role in the development of Tibetan religious affairs and the economic and social development".

There were strong references to Tibet in the inaugural address of CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin.

"We will conscientiously implement the guiding principles of the central leadership?s fifth forum on Tibet work and strive to leapfrog development and lasting stability in Tibet and Tibetan ethnic areas in Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces," he said.

The delegates to the top body consisted of business leaders, religious figures, academics and celebrities who arrived at the Great Hall of the People, one of the truly grand structure of Beijing, housing CPPCC and the National People's Congress (NPC).

The CPPCC session showcased the diversity of the country as representatives of the ethnic minorities like Tibet and Xinxiang, the Muslim majority province which turned restive following clashes between local Uyghur community and the mainland Han Chinese, arrived with their local costumes.


First Published: Wednesday, March 03, 2010, 22:08

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