China denies banning Tibetans from attending Kalachakra in Bodh Gaya

While news about China banning Tibetans from attending the Buddhist ceremony Kalachakra is being widely circulated, the neighbouring country has denied any such allegations. Instead, it has dismissed the entire event as ‘a political tool’ to propagate ideas of ‘hating’ China.


Talking to state-run Global Times, Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the Ethnic and Religious Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference said, “Taking advantage of the presence of the Dalai Lama, the Kalachakra (wheel of time) teachings have inveigled Tibetans into illegally going abroad over the last decade.”


The 34th Kalachakra initiation is being underway at Bodh Gaya with His Holiness the Dalai Lama presiding over the rituals. More than tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world are in attendance.


However, as per a report by Global Times, Karma Gelek Yuthok, the chairman of the organising committee of Kalachakra, had stated that around 7,000 pilgrims had to return to China due to pressure from authorities there.


News reports also stated that Chinese authorities have confiscated many Tibetans’ passports since November 2016. Further, Nepali media also alleged that China also imposed a temporary travel restriction against its citizens visiting Nepal and “asked its travel agencies and airlines to cancel all travel plans and bookings made until January 10, with immediate effect”.


China has continued to deny such reports. Xu Zhitao, deputy director of the bureau of the Tibet question at the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, told the Global Times, “The government by no means threatened them into returning, although the government does not encourage them to attend the ritual.”


Source: News reports

Photo credit: Sanjay Kumar (Bodh Gaya)

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