Wednesday, April 12, 2006

First World Buddhist Forum in China, Dalai Lama and Karmapa not invited

As President Hu Jintao heads to the U.S., China will host the First World Buddhist Forum on Thursday and running until April 18.

China may be hoping the forum will show the country's tolerance for religion and cultural diversity, but two prominent Buddhist leaders have not been allowed to attend the event.

The Dalai Lama and the Karmapa, both having fled from Chinese-ruled Tibet to India, were not invited.

Instead China will promote their own choice for the position of Panchen Lama, an office nearly as powerful as that of the Dalai Lama. China elected its own choice for that seat, and has detained the Panchen Lama selected in the traditional ways of Tibet.

Gyaltsen Norbu, the Chinese pick, was introduced to the forum guests during a pre-event meeting with government officials. According to reports other attendees failed to publicly greet Gyaltsen Norbu in a sign that they did not recognize his right to the office.

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