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Official calls remarks by Dalai Lama 'blasphemy'

Updated: 2015-03-10 07:55
By Cui Jia and Xu Wei (China Daily)

The 14th Dalai Lama's recent claim that the religious tradition of reincarnation should be abolished with his death is a blasphemy to Tibetan Buddhism, a senior Tibetan official said on Monday.

"The Dalai Lama has made several different claims about reincarnation in the past. He once said he will reincarnate outside China, and he now says the system of reincarnation should cease with his death," said Padma Choling, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Tibet autonomous region's People's Congress.

"The fact is that it is not up to him, and it is a blasphemy to Tibetan Buddhism," Padma said during a news conference on the sidelines of the annual National People's Congress.

The Dalai Lama, 80, made the comment in December. It goes against the Tibetan Buddhism tradition that the soul of a senior lama is reincarnated in the body of a child upon his death, said Padma, noting that the reincarnation system has been honored for hundreds of years in Tibet.

Padma said the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama should follow strict historical conventions and the required religious rituals of Tibetan Buddhism and should also be approved by the central government.

"We should respect the religion and history," he said. "The current Dalai Lama has followed the same procedure."

He said that the door for dialogue with the Dalai Lama is "always open" and that the progress of such talks depends on him. "Some foreign officials only choose to listen to the Dalai Lama and ignore my opinions no matter what I say," he added.

The security situation in Tibet is in the best of times, and people's focus is on how to improve their lives, Padma said.

In September, China will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet autonomous region, which will build a trade corridor to South Asia and further open up to neighboring countries including India and Nepal.

Tibet is also looking to attract more overseas tourists in the near future, a local tourism official said, as authorities look to develop the region into one of the world's most famed tourism destinations.

"We are ready to welcome more overseas tourists in the near future," said Hong Wei, vice-director of the regional commission of tourism development and a deputy to the NPC. "There will also be more open and flexible policies for foreign tourists."

He said there is huge potential to be tapped for inbound tourism, as foreign tourists made up only 2 percent of the total number of tourists flowing into the region last year. The region attracted more than 240,000 foreign tourists last year.

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