China Is Using Buddhism To Dominate Global Trade While Oppressing Tibetan Buddhists (HBO)


This March, Tibetans around the world are commemorating the 60th anniversary of an uprising against the Communist Party, which forced the Dalai Lama and his followers into exile. Today, China rules with an iron-fist — making Tibet one of the least free regions in the world. Tens of thousands of Communist cadres supervise Buddhist monasteries and villages, people are forced to replace pictures of the Dalai Lama with photos of Party Leadership, and China boasts Tibet’s capital as its “safest” city. “One of the prime requirements for monks and nuns is that they should be loyal to the Communist Party before they are loyal to their faith” Bhuchung Tsering, the Vice-president of the International Campaign for Tibet told VICE News. “Everything is being dictated by the Chinese Communist Party.” While China’s atheist leadership oppresses Tibetan Buddhists, it has invested big on reshaping religions, and on projecting itself as pro-Buddhist for calculated reasons. Buddhists make up a huge population in countries that China wants to connect to its Belt and Road Initiative — a multi-billion dollar project to dominate global trade. Take, for example, Myanmar. In the last decade, China has actively worked to better religious relations with its southern neighbor, which is 88 percent Buddhist. In that same time frame, it spent 2.5 billion dollars to build oil and gas pipelines and is now negotiating multi-billion dollar port and dam deals. “China's use of Buddhist diplomacy is significant because several of these countries are apprehensive of this Giant power — whether all the loans they are taking from China will drive them into a debt trap.” Dr. Sudha Ramachandran, a South Asia analyst, told VICE News. The latest case of China’s “debt-trap diplomacy” is Sri Lanka. After the Chinese helped the country’s Buddhist majority win a decades-long civil war, Sri Lanka’s president gave China a billion-dollar port deal in his hometown. Eight years after the deal was signed, Sri Lanka was unable to pay back its loans and surrendered the Hambantota port to China for 99 years as repayment. “In all these countries you find that the public feels that "Well if we want improved infrastructure it is only the Chinese who are willing to you know extend loans.” Dr. Sudha Ramachandran told VICE News. “Yes, there is a concern, but there is no other alternative.” Subscribe to VICE News here: Check out VICE News for more: Follow VICE News here: Facebook: Twitter: Tumblr: Instagram: More videos from the VICE network: