Global Religion and the United Front: The Case of Mongolia

July 13, 2018 By Miguel Martin, The Jamestown Foundation

‘Sinified’ religion has a role to play in Xi’s elevation of the United Front (UF) into a foreign policy tool. Informed by Qing imperial policy, CCP voices highlight the potential of state-managed Buddhism to advance PRC policy in Mongolia, where it has become a salient component of UF activity. Attention has been paid to the ongoing Jebtsundamba Khutugtu succession process, a sensitive issue, as it is perceived as a challenge the CCP’s neo-imperial reincarnation management system, which will undergo a major test when it comes to the selection of the next Dalai Lama reincarnation.

Meanwhile, state-led interactions with Mongolian monasteries, some unreported even in Mongolia, reveal attempts to cultivate senior lamas and exploit internal divisions to counter Dharamsala’s influence and earn global Buddhist ‘discourse power’. Although the potential of religion as an influence tool in Mongolia is limited, the tactics used illustrate the Xiist expansion of UF work beyond its traditional domestic-diasporic domain.[Source]

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