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China issues white paper on democratic reform, achievements in Tibet

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-03-27 09:32
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People attend a ceremony marking the start of spring plowing in Nedong district of Shannan city, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, March 16, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Freedom of religious belief in Tibet well protected after democratic reform

After democratic reform, Tibet put an end to theocracy, separating government from religion and thus restoring the latter's true significance, said a white paper released Wednesday by China's State Council Information Office.

The freedom of religious belief of all ethnic groups is protected by the Constitution and the laws, with all religions and religious sects being equally respected and protected, said the document, titled "Democratic Reform in Tibet -- Sixty Years On." "This equates to true religious harmony," it said.

Currently, Tibet has 1,787 sites for the practice of Tibetan Buddhism, over 46,000 resident monks and nuns, and 358 Living Buddhas, figures showed. There are four mosques and over 12,000 native Muslims, and one Catholic church and 700 believers.

"Tibetan and other minority ethnic groups carry out their religious activities in accordance with native traditions," the white paper said.

The Living Buddha reincarnation is a succession system unique to Tibetan Buddhism, and is respected by the state and governments at different levels of the autonomous region, it added.

The state issued the Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas of Tibetan Buddhism in 2007 to further institutionalize the reincarnation process of Living Buddhas.

The white paper noted that by 2018, 91 incarnated Living Buddhas had been confirmed through traditional religious rituals and historical conventions.

The cultivation and training of religious personnel are being strengthened, and the rights of monasteries and monks are guaranteed, it said, adding that since the 1980s more than 1.4 billion yuan (208.53 million U.S. dollars) has been spent on restoring Tibetan cultural relics and refurbishing key monasteries.

Monastery-run scripture printing houses have been conserved and developed, noted the document, saying there are 60 such printing houses at the Potala Palace and other monasteries, producing 63,000 scriptural items every year.

All the monks and nuns registered in the autonomous region have been included in the social security net, with full coverage of medical insurance, old-age insurance, subsistence allowance, and personal accident insurance, the white paper added.

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