Joined: 08 Oct 2009
|Posted: Wed 25 Apr - 19:25 (2012) Post subject: China raises profile of Dalai Lama rival 'Panchen Lama'
China raises profile of Dalai Lama rival 'Panchen Lama'
China has appointed its choice of Panchen Lama, traditionally the second most important man in Tibetan Buddhism, to a top legislative advisory body.
Reported by state media, it raises the profile of China's rival to Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, whom China considers a dangerous separatist.
The Chinese government chose Gyaincain Norbu to be the Panchen Lama in 1995.
But he is not widely accepted by Tibetan Buddhists as the true reincarnation of the Panchen Lama.
The Tibetan boy selected by the Dalai Lama in the same year, Gendun Choekyi Nyima, disappeared soon afterwards - he and his family have not been seen since.
Gyaincain Norbu was one of 13 people to become members of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on Sunday, Xinhua reported.
The committee, made up private entrepreneurs as well as religious and cultural figures, cannot make laws or appoint officials - but its members are influential.
And membership is highly sought after as an expression of closeness to the leadership in Beijing.
The CPPCC begins its annual meeting this week, coinciding with that of China's largely ceremonial legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC).
Gyaincain Norbu lived in seclusion for his early life, but in 2009, aged 19, made a series of public appearances praising China's rule in Tibet.
The Panchen Lama also plays a role in the controversial selection of the next Dalai Lama.
China sent troops into Tibet in 1950, but has long claimed it as its own. The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.
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