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Rudd and Hu; Buddhism and Gender April 22, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in News, Tibet.
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Buddhism and gender, from the Lehigh University newspaper.

Plus, an account of Tibetan Buddhism from the Chinese media and the story of a Tibetan refugee in Salt Lake City.

Hu Jintao and Kevin Rudd of Australia are having an interesting back and forth over the Tibet issue:

President Hu Jintao made a terrific speech at the opening of the Boao Forum on Hainan island that Rudd attended. Earlier that day he had held his first formal discussion with Rudd as Australian leader.

The Chinese media did not cover this in the usual way, stiff photos of the leaders sitting in large adjacent armchairs and a few familiar phrases about warm relations.

Instead, we saw the party’s propaganda department using the meeting to send the strongest possible message.

The focus of the Chinese media’s coverage of the discussions, guided unerringly by the propaganda department, whose boss Rudd met during his previous visit to Beijing 18 months ago, was a lecture by Hu to Rudd.

The official Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying: “Our conflict with the Dalai clique is not an ethnic problem, not a religious problem, not a human rights problem. It is a problem of either safeguarding national unification or splitting the motherland. The Tibet problem is entirely an internal issue of China.”

Rudd had said in his brilliantly conceived and delivered speech at Beijing University that opened his visit to China three days earlier that “it is necessary to recognise there are significant human rights problems” in Tibet.

Now he was being told: don’t think that just because you speak Chinese, know China well, and describe yourself as a “zhengyou” (a true friend) that gives you immunity from getting China wrong, or from our telling you in plain words when you’ve got us wrong.


The Buddhist Cellphone April 18, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Random Notes.
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Not sure why it’s gold-plated, exactly. And it’s available only in China.

The best religious cell phone in the world is made for Buddhists. This highly modified and rare Nokia N70 is currently available only in China. Like other religious cell phones, the Buddhist phone has Buddhist ring tones, software and other trappings. What sets this phone apart from the pack is the sheer beauty and detail of the customization.

Japanese temple backs out of route April 18, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in News, Tibet.
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Thanks to Marcus for pointing this one out: A Japanese Buddhist temple has removed itself from the torch’s route.

Japan and China continue to disagree over whether Tibet is an international issue or just a domestic issue of China’s.

Edward Gomez notes the rhetoric is running high: China stoked the nationalist fires and is now trying to temper its citizens call for boycotts of products from countries where the torch relay has run into trouble.

Praying for Change in Burma April 17, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Burma.
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The All Burma Monks Alliance is praying for democracy, but if the past is any teacher, it will take a lot more to make the junta budge. Their plans so far are not encouraging.

Here’s an account from an American tourist who recently visited the country.