Dharamsala, August 17: In what appeared to be a fresh effort to further tighten government’s control on Tibet’s influential religious institutions, a top leader of the Communist Party of China has called for reforms in Buddhist monasteries by appointing monks and nuns who are “politically reliable”. In a move that could be seen as part of Chinese Communist regime’s larger campaign to weed out pro-Dalai Lama elements in the Buddhist clergy, Du Qinglin, head of the United Front Work Department of the Party’s Central Committee – the body tasked specifically to handle the Tibet talks – said greater efforts must be made to implement “democratic management in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries.” Du also called for “thorough” consultation in selecting “politically reliable” monks and nuns to monastery management committees. “Concerted and solid efforts must be made to implement democratic management in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries,” Du was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency. “Competent Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns who are politically reliable, extraordinarily learned and widely respected should be selected to monastery management committees through thorough democratic consultation,” he added. Du, also vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks during a two-day conference on “democratic management of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries” held in Shigatse, in the so-called “Tibet Autonomous Region”, from Aug. 14 to 15. His sweeping remarks were timed even as another powerful Communist Party leader He Guoqiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo undertook a tour of Tibet and visited the Potala Palace, which was the seat of the Dalai Lamas. continued

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