Could China be bringing Tibetan Buddhism in from the cold? There are new signs that while a crackdown on Tibetan nationalism continues, the atheist state may be softening its position towards the religion – and even the Dalai Lama.
That a former senior Communist Party official would invite the BBC into his home might, to most foreign journalists in China, seem an unlikely prospect. Especially if that official was rumoured to have close links to the Chinese leadership and to have worked closely with the country’s security services. The world is getting wealthier – but with the gap between rich and poor feeling bigger than ever, the BBC is investigating the winners and losers of this richer world in 2015.
But the idea that such an official would then invite the BBC to witness him praying in front of a portrait of the Dalai Lama, would seem a preposterous one. Laughable – insane even. That, though, is exactly what Xiao Wunan did. Inside Xiao’s luxury Beijing apartment, in pride of place atop his own private Buddhist shrine, sits a portrait of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, a man long reviled by the Chinese government as a dangerous separatist.[Source]