DHARAMSHALA: Organisers and participants of the World Fellowship of Buddhists conference in Korea have highly praised Mr Pema Chhinjor for showing forbearance in response to protests by the Chinese delegation to prevent him from attending the event as a representative of the Central Tibetan Administration.
“The conference organisers and participants have highly praised Kalon Pema Chhinjor for his gesture of forbearance in the face of troubles caused by Chinese protests during the course of the conference. As a gesture of their appreciation, the organisers decided to waive airfare and participation fee for him,” the Department of Religion and Culture said in its press release.
Over 1,000 delegates from 49 countries took part in the 26th WFB conference in Yeosu in Korea. 17 Chinese delegates to the conference complaint to the organisers not to allow Kalon Pema Chhinjor from attending the opening ceremony on 12 June.
When organisers requested Kalon Pema Chhinjor not to attend the conference for a while, he said: “I have attended the conference at the invitation of the World Fellowship of Buddhists in Korea. Moreover, Korea, being a sovereign country, has no need to buckle under the Chinese government’s pressure. For the convenience of the 1,000 delegates and the conference organisers, I agree to withdraw my participation.”
When he joined the conference after the lunch, the Chinese delegates walked out of the conference in protest.
The Chinese delegates continued to protest on the second day of the conference. They showed in vain some documents to prevent Mr Pema Chhinjor from attending the conference as Kalon of the Central Tibetan Administration’s department of religion and culture, as no one listened to their arguments. A Swedish delegate expressed his disapproval of the Chinese action.
“The Chinese delegates’ tactics backfired as they became the ones who had to leave the conference,” the Department of Religion and Culture said in its press release.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s leading Buddhist organisation, Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, have called the Chinese action “extremely regrettable” and accused them of “lacking the least respect and consideration” for what was supposed to be a purely religious event.
“The Chinese delegates only prioritised their own political agenda by refusing to accept the presence of a Tibetan delegation officially registered as a member of the WFB,” it said in a statement.
“The WFB conference should be a purely religious exchange that rules out political interests… we demand that the Chinese delegation offer a sincere apology and promise it will never happen again,” it said.