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Living Buddha: March 14 unrest damages image of Buddhism
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The March 14 unrest has damaged the good reputation of Buddhism, Living Buddha Zhukang Tubdankezhub told reporters from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan on Tuesday.

"The March 14 event was not about the people or religion. It was about the attempt of Dalai Lama followers to force Tibet to secede from China," said Zhukang Tubdankezhub, head of the Tibet Autonomous Region Branch of the Buddhism Association of China.

"As we know, people from all walks of life all condemn the terrible violence. It is the golden time for Tibet's economic, cultural and religious development, but the Dalai Lama group went against the Tibetan people's will," he said.

In response to a question on his attitude towards the Dalai Lama, he said, "As long as he loves the country and has no part in separatist activities, we all welcome him back, and we respect the central government's policies."

Ngawang, an official with the Administrative Committee of Jokhang Monastery, said that since March 14, no monks at the monastery had been punished and the monastery was already operating as usual.

As the first Buddhist temple in Tibet, the Jokhang temple, which means the "House of the Lord," was built during the reign of king Songtsen Gampo in the seventh century to celebrate his marriage to Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty.

Armed police have resumed patrols in Lhasa. Padma Choling, vice chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region government, said the armed police would prevent any disruption during the Saga Dawa festival.

The festival, which falls on Wednesday, is one of the most important festivals of Tibetan Buddhism. During the festival, tens of thousands of religious people make pilgrimages along a 9-kilometer road around downtown Lhasa.

At the invitation of the Information Office of the State Council, or the Cabinet, 31 reporters of 18 Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan media began their three-day trip in Tibet on June 3.

During the visit, reporters will have extensive contact with officials, monks and the public and they will be able to interview shop owners whose shops were damaged during the riot.

They will also visit Tibet University, companies engaged in handicraft art, and the Potala Palace and Norbu-Linkag.

(Xinhua News Agency June 4, 2008)

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