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Tibetan delegates forced to leave conference due to Chinese pressure

by Emi Hayakawa, BTN, June 15, 2012

Three Tibetan delegates left the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) conference after China's delegation threatened boycott

Yeosu, South Korea -- Three Tibetan delegates were forced to leave the delegates’ assembly meeting after Chinese officials threatened to boycott the 26th World Fellowship of Buddhist Conference’s delegate’s assembly on June 12th, 2012 claiming that they represent Tibet’s government-in-exile.

Two Tibetans, including a senior envoy of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, are in Korea to attend the biannual event currently being held in the coastal city. The two are Samdong Rinpoche, a former prime minister of Tibet’s government-in-exile, and Pema Chhinjor, minister of religion and culture.

AFP reports a spokesperson stating that “The WFB secretary-general accepted the Chinese demand that the Tibetans leave so the meeting could go smoothly,” as the spokesperson “...called the decision by the WFB chairman ‘embarrassing.’ ”

The Chinese delegation left for Busan on Wednesday morning in a vehicle provided by the Chinese Embassy, the organizing committee said.

Seventeen delegates from China and the Chairman of the WFB returned to their home countries on early morning of June 14th, 2012 in what was said to be an apparent protest against Tibetan participation.

The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, the main organizers of the the 26th World Fellowship of Buddhist Conference of South Korea, criticized the Chinese delegations’ actions and showed support to the Tibetan delegations.

In a statement released on June 14th, 2012, the Jogye Order criticized the actions of the Chinese delegations stating, “...Tibetan participation is a WFB approved representation, and the Chinese delegation’s apparent protest against Tibetan participation goes against values of what the Buddhist communities across the globe stands for...” 

The Jogye Order also states, “Through the World Fellowship of Buddhists Conferences in South Korea, we hope that the Buddhist communities across the globe can once again  recognize Tibetan Buddhism warm heartedly, and we also actively wish for Tibetan Buddhism to be freely practiced in Tibet.”

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