Buddhist Master and founder of the Fo Kuang Shan monastery Hsing Yun (星雲) came under fire as he arrived back in Taiwan yesterday for the second half of the World Buddhist Forum.
The criticism came as details of a series of comments Hsing Yun made while in China came to light as he and about 800 Buddhist leaders from more than 10 countries arrived in Taipei on four flights from China.
During a press conference at the forum on Friday in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, Hsing Yun said that “both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one family. There are no Taiwanese in Taiwan and Taiwanese are all Chinese.”
PHOTO: YAO KAI-SHIOU, TAIPEI TIMES
“Which Taiwanese is not Chinese?” he asked. “They are Chinese just like you are. We are all brothers and sisters.”
Hsing Yun also said that opening the forum in China and closing it in Taiwan was especially meaningful because it would enhance cross-strait exchanges and help the unification of the two sides, the Hong Kong-based newspaper Ta Kung Pao reported on Saturday.
“The more [cross-strait] exchange we have, the more mixed we will be. Then we won’t be able to distinguish who’s Mainland [Chinese] and who’s Taiwanese — and we will naturally become unified,” Hsing Yun was quoted as saying.
The forum — organized by Buddhist leaders from Taiwan and China — opened on Friday in China before moving to Taiwan yesterday.
Although organizers said the forum was purely a religious event, political remarks were heard throughout the meeting, drawing criticism from some Buddhists.
Daphne Young (楊馥華), a Taiwanese Buddhist and a member of the support group Taiwan Friends of Tibet, said the forum was a good example of political meddling in religion.
“The forum opens in China and closes in Taiwan — it’s obvious that they’re trying to create the impression that Taiwan is part of China,” Young said. “From what Taiwanese Buddhist leaders said at the forum, it’s also obvious that they are politically motivated.”
Young said it was ironic that China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs chief Ye Xiaowen (葉小文) attended the forum.
“Ye is the main person behind the new law regulating reincarnation of monks in Tibetan Buddhism, which destroys a core tradition in Tibetan Buddhism,” she said.
Tibetan Buddhists believe that spiritual leaders return through reincarnation. A set of procedures exists to identify reincarnated spiritual leaders. However, China adopted a law last year that stipulates that all reincarnations have to receive state approval.
“If [the Buddhist leaders] are benevolent enough, they should pay some attention to Tibetan Buddhists in Tibet who are repressed by the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] regime,” Young said.
Another senior Taiwanese Buddhist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had been invited to both last year’s and this year’s World Buddhist Forum, but rejected the invitation “because I don’t want to become a CCP tool in its unification war.”
Forum spokesman Chinese Buddhist Master Shih Mingsheng (釋明生) had earlier said that the Dalai Lama was not invited because he is a “separatist” who has tried to “divide China.”
Dawa Tsering, chairman of the Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, said that while he believes any form of religious exchange is a positive activity, “it is not when it becomes a political tool of the CCP.”
At the beginning of the forum, the 11th Panchen Lama — the second-highest Tibetan spiritual leader appointed by the Chinese government in 1995, but rejected by most Tibetan Buddhists — delivered a speech praising the CCP, saying it had brought prosperity to Tibet and that Chinese enjoy full freedom of religion under CCP rule.
In May 1995, the Dalai Lama chose a six-year-old boy as the 11th Panchen Lama. The boy and his family disappeared soon after and have not been heard from since.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
BLUE WAVE: The KMT’s Chiang Wan-an defeated the DPP’s Chen Shih-chung and is to become Taipei mayor, while President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP chairperson after many of the party’s candidates, handpicked by the leadership, performed poorly The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday flipped key mayoral seats in Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung, and won control of 13 out of 22 cities and counties in the nine-in-one local elections. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last night resigned as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson over a poor showing by the party’s candidates, who were handpicked by the DPP leadership rather than chosen through primaries. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) won its first high-profile race with Hsinchu mayoral candidate Ann Kao (高虹安) defeating Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) of the DPP with 45.02 percent of the vote to Shen’s 35.68 percent. Voters were choosing more than
UNDETERRED: The US chip designer’s plan showed that Taiwan remains attractive for investment by global companies despite cross-strait tensions, Wang Mei-hua said US graphics chip designer Nvidia Corp is planning to relocate its Hong Kong-based logistics center to Taiwan, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said on Wednesday. The government had been in discussions with Nvidia regarding tax incentives to facilitate the move since last year, Wang said in an interview with the Central News Agency, adding that the two sides had reached a consensus. Wang did not provide details about the timetable for the move or the planned tax arrangements for Nvidia. The relocation would boost the local economy, as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is a major supplier of graphics processing
Kaohsiung police last week busted a money laundering operation suspected of seeking to interfere in tomorrow’s local elections. The operation was allegedly headed by a man surnamed Lee (李), who had received NT$9.5 billion (US$306.18 million) from China over the past six months, Kaohsiung police said yesterday, adding that Lee’s ring is suspected to be part of a larger Chinese effort to interfere in the elections and support pro-China candidates. Officers arrested Lee, 35, and his girlfriend, searched his mansion, and seized the money he had allegedly received from China and three luxury vehicles, police said. The operation was disguised as an online
SURRENDER PLEDGE: Prosecutors said Hsiang Te-en was not charged with treason or contravening the National Security Act, because evidence had been removed The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday charged army Colonel Hsiang Te-en (向德恩) with corruption, accusing him of pledging allegiance to China and receiving payment from Chinese operatives to work as a spy. Prosecutors asked a court to sentence Hsiang to 12 years in prison. Hsiang is head of the Kaohsiung-based Army Infantry Training Command’s Operations Research and Development Division. He allegedly signed a “pledge of surrender” and promised to “serve, as best he may, in his office for the benefits of the motherland in the event of war across the [Taiwan] Strait,” the office said. Hsiang could not be charged with contraventions of