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New Laws a Threat to “Core Values”

By Lodoe Gyatso  /  October 1, 2017;

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The Chinese government published revised regulations on religion on September 7. They portrayed the aim of these rules as protecting freedom of religious belief, maintaining religious and social harmony and regulating the management of religious affairs.

An advocacy group for Tibet, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), has reported the negative implications of the legislation for religious freedom in Tibet.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the ICT, said: “These revised rules consolidate a legalistic framework of compliance and punishment on matters of deeply-felt personal belief as well as the core values of a religious faith based on principles of compassion. They represent a staggering reach of political power and intrusion into people’s lives by a government that promotes atheism. Tibetans face a very real danger in their struggle to protect and practice their religion, which is integral to their identity, and will need the spirit and resilience that they continue to demonstrate in holding fast to their teachings. In the focus on the eradication of ‘foreign’ influence, there is no doubt too that the intention is to ensure Tibetans in Tibet are separated from the teachings and presence of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama”.

According to the new regulations, religious groups are now bound to practice “core socialist values” – an apparent attempt to use religion to work for the political goals of the Communist Party.The revised law also equates religious practice of all kinds as a potential threat to the state. ICT therefore argues that they would create a more dangerous political environment for Buddhist monks, nuns and laymen.
Donations from foreign sources to religious groups are banned. Organisers of unapproved events are subject to fines of 100,000 to 300,000 yuan [INR 1 – 3 million; US$15,000 – 45,000; £10,000 – 30,000].

In conclusion, ICT makes a number of recommendations to both the Chinese government and the international community aimed at aligning Chinese law with international human rights standards.

ICT, also known as “Save Tibet” is a non-profit advocacy group based in Washington DC and working to promote democratic freedoms for Tibetans, ensure their human rights, and protect the Tibetan culture and environment.

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