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Chinese Buddhists won’t sit with Tibetan counterparts

SEOUL (AsiaNews): The Buddhist Jogye Order, one of the oldest and most respected in South Korea and in the world, attacked a Chinese delegation for walking out of the 26th conference organised by the Friendship of the Worldwide Buddhists held in Yeosu from June 11 to 16, because a Tibetan delegation was present.

The largest Buddhist organisation in South Korea is now asking China to issue an official apology for forcing the ouster of the Tibetan delegation. The Buddhist Jogye Order is accusing Beijing of politicising a religious event without understanding its true meaning.

The 17 monks and representatives of the Chinese Buddhist world left abruptly two days before the end of the meeting. A spokesperson for the organisation confirmed that to accommodate the Chinese protests, fellowship officials had asked the three Tibetan delegates to leave the work sessions.

“The Chinese demand was accepted by the secretary general of the group. It was an embarrassing decision,” the order said in a statement.

Among the delegates was the former prime minister of the Tibetan government, Samdhong Rinpoche, a personal envoy of the Dalai Lama.

The order described the boycott of the event as “a disrespectful and unpleasant move.”

It adds, “The Chinese delegates have put their political agenda first and were lacking in respect and consideration for an event that is purely religious. We demand that Beijing offer a sincere apology for what happened and promise that such a thing will never happen again.”

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