AFP: China in patriotic overdrive

From AFP, via News.com.au:

Chinese President Hu Jintao had a meeting today with a teenage boy picked by Beijing to become the second-highest spiritual figure in , telling him to be patriotic on the eve of his 15th birthday.

Hu was shown on state television urging the 11th Panchen Lama, chosen by Beijing in defiance of a candidate chosen by the exiled Dalai Lama, to be “a living Buddha full of love for the country and his religion”.

“I hope you will follow the example of His Holiness to be another model of loving the country and the religion,” Hu said, referring to the boy’s predecessor, the 10th Panchen Lama, who was also handpicked by Beijing.

Hu said he hoped the young monk would “make new contributions to adapt Tibetan Buddhism to socialist society.”

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The teenager, who is rarely seen in public, was shown on state-run CCTV’s evening news listening to Hu with his hands clasped and giving frequent small nods.

He clapped after Hu spoke.

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