Tokyo — Nine Sotoshu schools of Japanese Zen Buddhism have issued a joint statement concerning the Chinese government's interference in the reincarnation of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the violation of religious freedom and human rights in Tibet. They call on China to release the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet and condemn the Chinese government's policy of sinicising the language, culture and identity of the Tibetan people.
According to the the Office of Tibet, Japan and East Asia, Reverend Hayashi Shuei of Jorinji Temple and representatives from nine Temples in Tokyo, Nagano, and Ibaragi prefectures visited the Liaison Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and handed over the seven-point joint statement to Representative Dr Arya Tsewang Gyalpo on September 12, 2023. The statement expresses their concern about the Chinese government's interference in the reincarnation of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the violation of religious freedom and human rights in Tibet.
Reverend Hayashi Shuei, head of the delegation, said, “China's continued interference in Tibetan religious affairs is unethical and unacceptable to all Buddhists and the international community. As Buddhists living in a free country, it is our responsibility to speak out for the Tibetan people and religious freedom throughout the world.” He added that he had met His Holiness the Dalai Lama on several occasions and His Holiness had visited his school in Tokyo, where teachers and students had greatly benefited from His Holiness' teachings on love and compassion.
The members of the delegation all expressed their concern and solidarity with the Tibetan people in Tibet. They stated that China's interference in the selection of reincarnated Tibetan lamas is unacceptable because the Communist Party does not believe in religion and knows nothing about the concept of rebirth. They said they would like to visit to Dharamsala to express their support and feelings.
Representative Arya Tsewang Gyalpo thanked the delegation for their support and statement and offered khatas to the monks. He briefly explained the situation in Tibet and how the CCP leadership was trying to wipe out Tibetan identity, culture and language through total control of Tibetan monasteries and Chinese boarding schools in Tibet.
The seven-point statement in Japanese read as follows:
- We call on the Chinese government to abide by Article 4 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, to commit to regional autonomy and self-rule for ethnic minorities, and to let the Tibetan people practice genuine autonomy and self-rule
- We urge the Chinese government to implement Articles 10 and 11 of the Law on Autonomy of Ethnic Areas of the People’s Republic of China, which guarantees the freedom of language and religion of ethnic minorities
- We call on the Chinese government to clarify the whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama and his family and to release them as soon as possible
- We condemn the Chinese government’s violations of human rights and its policy of Sinicization of the language, culture, and identity of the Tibetan people
- We condemn the Chinese government’s interference in Tibetan religious affairs, including religious persecution, destruction of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and Buddhist statues, reincarnation of high priests, and control of monasteries
- We affirm that the selection of reincarnations of the Tibetan Lamas, including the 15th Dalai Lama, is the prerogative of the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lama’s Office, and call for the passage of legislation in Japan similar to the 2020 U.S. Tibet Policy Support Bill.
- Future Tibetan reincarnated monks, including the Dalai Lama, should be selected by the Tibetan people according to their religious tradition. We urge the international community not to recognize any Lama selected and appointed by the Chinese authority.