The fourth issue of Liaowang Xizang, the Chinese-language journal published by the International Campaign for Tibet, analyzes the increasing interest in Tibetan Buddhism by the Chinese community in South-East Asia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the West, and particularly inside China.
There is a growing number of Chinese-speakers attending the teachings by the Dalai Lama, whether in India or in other parts of the world. More significantly, Chinese devotees have been requesting teachings to be given to their community by the Dalai Lama. In August 2003, several hundred Chinese speakers from Singapore and Taiwan gathered in Dharamsala for a teaching by the Dalai Lama sponsored by their community.
A commentary on the cover of the latest issue of the journal talks about the significance of the spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China. It says, ” In the past few years there has been a dramatic development of newfound interest in Tibet, Tibetan culture and Tibetan Buddhism among ordinary Chinese. The politically motivated official position that Tibetan culture was backward is being challenged by the growing appreciation among ordinary Chinese of the deeper aspect of Tibetan Buddhism and the positive role that it is playing in the development of the society. Books on Buddhism by the Dalai Lama as well as other Tibetan lamas have been translated into Chinese and are reportedly hot favorites not just in Chinese-speaking areas outside of China, but also in different provinces of China.”
This new interest has led to many Tibetan Buddhist centers being established in the Chinese-speaking regions. In Taiwan alone, there is reported to be more than 200 such centers where regular study of Tibetan Buddhism is undertaken in the Chinese language. There are more than a dozen Tibetan Buddhist centers in Hong Kong while in Chinese cities like Beijing; Tibetan lamas are sought after by Chinese devotees.
Historically, too, several communities in China have found spiritual solace in Tibetan Buddhism. Communities like the Muosuo tribe, the Mongols or the Naxi people even today follow a form of Tibetan Buddhism and identify closely with the Tibetan people.
“Tibetan Buddhism can be a bridge to build closer contact between the Chinese and the Tibetan people. Mongol and Manchu emperors of the past patronized Tibetan Buddhism,” said Rinchen Tashi, editor of Liaowang Xizang. “As more Chinese understand the beneficial aspect of Tibetan Buddhism they will begin to appreciate the Tibetan society, which has kept this religious and cultural tradition alive,” Tashi added.
The journal contained an introduction to some of the Tibetan Buddhist centers in China today, including Yunhe Gong (Beijing); Zhenghai Si and Guangren Si (at Wutaishan), etc.
Other issues covered in this journal were the US Senate resolution welcoming the Dalai Lama to Washington and commending him for his leadership; an article by Cai Yongmei who interviewed the Dalai Lama for Kaifang magazine in Hong Kong; a commentary by Mo Li giving a Chinese perspective to the India-China declaration on Tibet; a report on the third Tibetan Youth Leadership Program held in Brussels.
The fourth issue of Liaowang Xizang was published in September 2003.
The third issue of Liaowang Xizang, which was published in July, analyzed Chinese sincerity in holding talks on Tibet.
The commentary dwelt on the situation following the second visit of the envoys of H.H. the Dalai Lama to China in May-June 2003. It said Chinese attitude on Tibet following that visit has raised the question about China’s sincerity in the Sino-Tibetan contact.
“Given the confusing message that is coming out from China, people are wondering whether the Chinese side is really serious and sincere in wanting a positive talks on the issue of Tibet with the Dalai Lama’s envoys,” the commentary said.
Among articles in this issue were, “Beijing should hold the opportunity to solve Tibet issue” by Liu Xiaozhu; “China must treat Tibet issue properly” by Rinta; “The Dalai Lama” by Shi Dong; “The Picture of Tibet’s Future” by Wang Zhihui and “Having contact is better than not having contact” being reaction by Wang Lixiong & Lin Zhaozhen on the second visit to China by the Dalai Lama’s envoys.
The issue also carried reaction in the international media, including Chinese, to the second visit to China by the Dalai Lama’s envoys.