About Amazon Smile

“Amazon Smile” is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization “China-In His image” every time you shop, at no cost to you.

When you shop at smile.amazon.com you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as at Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

How do I shop at Amazon Smile?

To shop at “Amazon Smile” simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at “Amazon Smile.”

Which products on “Amazon Smile” are eligible for charitable donations?  

Tens of millions of products on “Amazon Smile” are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for Amazon Smile Donation” on their product detail pages. Recurring Subscribe-and-Save purchases and subscription renewals are not currently eligible.

Can I use my existing Amazon.com account on “Amazon Smile”?

Yes, you use the same account on Amazon.com and “Amazon Smile.” Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

How do I select a charitable organization to support when shopping on “Amazon Smile”?

On your first visit to “Amazon Smile” (smile.amazon.com), you need to select your charitable organization “International Ambassadors for Christ” to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping.

How to Set it up:

  1. Go to smile.amazon.com from your web browser.
  2. In the Bottom Right corner, search for “International Ambassadors for Christ”
  3. Click “select”
  4. You’re finished! Now it’s time to Shop!.

Amazon Smile will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.

Can I change my charity?

Yes, you can change your charity any time. Your “Amazon Smile” purchases after the change count towards your newly selected charity. To change your charity, sign in to smile.amazon.com on your desktop or mobile phone browser and simply select “Change your Charity” in “Your Account.”

What charities can I choose from?

You can choose from almost one million eligible 501(c)(3) public charitable organizations. 

What if my selected charity has been removed to participate in the “Amazon Smile” program or becomes ineligible?  

If your selected charity becomes ineligible, or requests to be removed from the program, you will have a chance to select a different charity to receive the accrued donations that have not yet been disbursed to your charity. If you do not select a different charity, the accrued donations will be distributed to other organizations receiving donations.

How much of my purchase does Amazon donate?

The “Amazon Smile Foundation” will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible “Amazon Smile” purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges. From time to time, we may offer special, limited time promotions that increase the donation amount on one or more products or services or provide for additional donations to charitable organizations. Special terms and restrictions may apply. Please see the relevant promotion for complete details.

Can I receive a tax deduction for amounts donated from my purchases on “Amazon Smile”?

Donations are made by the “Amazon Smile Foundation” and are not tax deductible by you.

Your charitable contributions to “International Ambassadors for Christ”  however are income tax deductible and are made with the understanding that “IAfC” has complete discretion and control over the use of all donated funds.  No goods or services were provided by the ministry for these contributions.  We will receipt annually all gift donations.  If we offer books, tapes, or other materials for a suggested donation, we will receipt the amount given above the retail price of the product, plus shipping and handling costs.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has determined that “International Ambassadors for Christ” is tax exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) as a publicly supported nonprofit mission organization incorporated in the State of Illinois.

Thank you…for your support of “International Ambassadors for Christ”. Through your investment, prayers and partnership you are helping to reach men and women in leadership positions here in Chicago and in China with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  It is an honor and a privilege to work in a ripe and ready harvest with you.

“I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields!  They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35

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August 2017 Update

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

The date was set, reservations were made and the ticket was paid for but then plans needed to be changed. That means Rolf will not be returning to China now until spring. A number of factors played into this and we know God’s hand has been directing this starting even before Rolf left to come home when his new leader wanted to lead a “Faith or Fiction” class this summer.

A couple of weeks ago John, the owner of the school called to tell Rolf he was expecting him back but at that time he only had 5 students signed up for Rolf’s school classes. Usually he has 50 or more students.  Rolf has been madly cleaning, purging and shredding out his office in preparation for our upcoming move and was finding there was no way he could be finished by the time he was supposed to leave. He called John back and they agreed it would be best for Rolf to stay home and take care of this move and then come back in the spring. Oh! and he was able to get almost a full refund on his non-refundable airline ticket!  So the purging and shredding and cleaning out continues.

Meanwhile back in China, we are thrilled to report our new leader Anna is in the midst of her own “Faith or Fiction” class with 14 students. Even though she is teaching this class in the church they are non-believers. Yes there are people in China that find themselves in the church but do not have or do not know yet how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. PRAY for them and we will keep you updated. PRAY also for our other leaders that they will be able to get some classes going while Rolf is gone.

A sweet story we would like to pass on to you – One of our leaders, Lisa very sadly told Rolf that her grandfather was dying. She wanted to go to see him but didn’t know if she should. – a not so easy 8 hour train ride away. This is a grandfather that raised her and was closer to her than her own parents. Rolf encouraged her to have no regrets she needed to go which she did. She did get there just before he died and she posted the beautiful picture below of their hands entwined.  PRAISE she made it in time and PRAY for her as she grieves her loss.

Well team we still need your support and we still need your prayers. This moving thing is stressful especially without yet the certainty that we have an apartment secured. We are watching it as it is being built and the completion is still on track for Feb/Mar which means we won’t even get the application before November! Once this is over we are looking forward to being freed up from the financial concerns of home ownership and the control stuff can have over us.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2                                                                        

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July 2017 Update

Rolf arrived home safe and without incident on June 30th. Time seems to be already flying by and Sherri is aware but trying not to focus on his return to China with his reservations already made for August 29th.

He has come home to the daunting task of purging and cleaning out files and paperwork in preparation for our upcoming move. We thought we downsized when we moved to our townhouse but moving to an apartment is a whole another story!! It is amazing what can be accumulated in almost 14 years of living here!! Most of it is just “stuff” but then there is the memory “stuff”…..leaving us with the decision of what to keep, what to sell, what to donate and what to just toss.

Since Sherri never heard back from the property manager that was listed for these apartments she contacted back the property management company and spoke to a very helpful and nice young lady. She was able to answer the questions we had and also send us a sample application form. With Rolf most likely going to be in China when the application to apply is sent out, we need to have things lined up so we can apply quickly while there would still be availability.

Please continue to keep us in PRAYER as we work through the preparation and the upcoming application process.  We do our part and trust God for the rest.

“Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place”  Proverbs 16:3 The Message

We have wonderful news from China. The person who was interested in leading a Faith or Fiction” class has started a class this summer with 11 people in the church! We are thrilled and praise God how this program is growing and how many lives it is changing!! She wants to also be one of Rolf’s leaders when he gets back. She and the other leaders are already recruiting people to join. Please PRAY for caution and care in their choice of recruits and for God to be working In their hearts readying them to hear and understand their need for Jesus.

And last but not least we would ask for PRAYER for the ability to fix the air conditioning in our minivan. It is the car Sherri drives and the one we take on our driving trips. It apparently has a leak that can be fixed for $1200! That is a lot of money but we plan on keeping this car for as long as it will run! Right now we get some cool air that will probably last for about a month or so more. It can get pretty hot in the car with little or no air at this time of year!!

We are most grateful and thankful to have you on this team with us. You are loved and appreciated.

” Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”. Col. 3:16-17

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Father’s Day 2017

Open Letter to all Men:

There is a crisis of manhood in the Christian church. It has become so obvious to me lately. Five couples I know are having marital problems. In each case, it is the husband that is at fault. It is no wonder though with the assault on manhood in American Society. All you have to do is watch TV for a little while and you will notice domineering women and wimpy men who are insecure and inept. The characterization of manhood by the media is definitely unbiblical and anti-Christian. In fact, it is creeping into the church and the existence of women pastors is one of the signs of the failure of men in the Christian church to do their job.

There simply aren’t enough Pastors who teach the biblical model of Christian manhood. And Christian men too often are resting in the comfort of their churches, their homes, and their jobs to grow spiritually, not to mention be leaders. Too many are becoming lax, apathetic, and spiritually atrophied. For some men, their lives are so comfortable, so routine that spiritual testing and growth are things they read about in books and taking risks for the Lord is an uncommon idea. Mission work is something that “others” do. Evangelism is for those who are “gifted in that area.” Comfort can be a killer for the church and for us men. It can make us lazy and it can bleed over into other areas of our lives. Let me ask you men something: “Are you willing to take risks for God?  Is it in your heart to do that?”

At the “Church at the top of the Hill”, the parking lot is filled with new cars and mini vans. The people happily walk into church. Some are talking on their cell phones as they move towards the large building. Others approach are chuckling and laughing. They are well dressed, well fed, and quite comfortable. They drop their kids off in the Sunday School classes and head to the air conditioned church and sit in the cushioned chairs. The worship music is very well done and the message is polished. Very nice. Very comfortable. Very routine. Very blessed. But, this time the pastor has an announcement before the people are dismissed and he introduces an old friend he went to Bible college with.

A man dressed in out-of-style clothes walks up to the pulpit.  He looks at the congregation. “Ladies and gentlemen, ” he says.

“I come from a small town in China where I do mission work. The population is about 5,000. The people there are under educated and often don’t have enough food to eat. AIDS is also prevalent. The weather is hot and we don’t have electricity all the time. But, the people are good and they want to know about Jesus. There are cults trying to move into the town and are offering food and literature. Many are taking it and being misled. But, I am only one man and I can’t stop it.

I am here to ask for help. Is there anyone who would join me in this small town to labor to bring the gospel to these people? You can come for a week or two. Or if not, is there anyone here who would care to donate money to fund the work of another missionary to this small town? I need your help desperately. I cannot do it alone. I will be standing at the back of the church if anyone wants to talk to me. God bless.”

If you were sitting in the church listening, what would your reaction be? Are you threatened by the idea of such a commitment to go or to help. Would donating funds mean you couldn’t get something you’ve been wanting and that would make you uncomfortable? If so, perhaps you are becoming spiritual dry, spiritually atrophied, and your priorities are out of place. But, then again, would you want to do something if you could? Would you feel the pull of godly opportunity tug at your heart?  I hope so. Either way, this small story can help you discover yourself and it can get you to see that change might be necessary. Change down deep is where it begins. Sometimes we men need it straight. Sometimes we need to be told to get our eyes back on Jesus.

The illustration above is a round-about way to offer a challenge to see where you are and what your priorities are as men. So, I have a question for you Christian men who are married. Let’s bring it home to reality. Are you leading your family in regular devotions? Now, I’m not talking about having a devotion every single night with a regimented routine of systematic theology. I’m talking about regular prayer with your family, maybe at dinner time, or reading the Bible with them, and guiding them. They are your primary mission field. Are you doing that with them? If you are, great! But, if you aren’t, then repent right now, confess your sin to the Lord, and start leading your family. I don’t care if it isn’t comfortable. Do it. You can’t be leaders in the church and workers for God if your family is left to spiritually fend for themselves.

The dinner table is a great place to have devotions. Also, I recommend that when you and your wife retire for the evening, read a Psalm to her in bed. You must lead.  You certainly don’t have to be perfect. But, you must realize that the man in the family is the head of the family and he is responsible for the spiritual welfare of the family. Your wife is not responsible for this. You are!  It is your responsibility. You are the captain of the ship and God will hold you accountable for that ship. Guide it with love, truth, and service.

Now if your wife is not Christian and regular devotions are not possible, then pray for her, love her, be patient with her, and lift her up to the Lord. Let her see Jesus in you, in your humility, love, and patience. Wash dishes for her. Take her out to dinner.  Don’t point out her faults. Buy her flowers. Love her with actions and words! Read 1 Corinthians 13 and apply it.

I have a question for you Christian men who are not married. Are you seeking to be shaped by God to become men who honor God in your lives? The Lord desires that you become godly men who honor and glorify God in your lives. You see, the primary reason for marriage is not for your pleasure, not for companionship, and not to have children. The primary reason for marriage is to bring glory to God and you cannot do this if you are harboring sin and selfishness.

Men, if you have sins of lust, sexual impurity, pornography, lying, lying, laziness, etc., then confess them to the Lord. Turn from them. Do NOT become lazy about sin and your battle against it. Do NOT become complacent. Do NOT give in to the lust and pride. Humble yourselves before God and man. Commit in your heart to do what is right, to be honest, men of integrity, humble, truthful, faithful, kind, and gentle. Yet, at the same time, be men who are strong in the Lord, bold in the faith, and ready to serve your families and friends. It isn’t always easy, but it is always right.

“But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.”  2 Thessalonians 2:13-15 NIV

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June 2017 Update

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.” 1 Chronicles 16:8-9 (NIV)

June is finally here and in a few weeks summer vacation begins. No one will be happier than Sherri as Rolf will be home on June 29th. His last classes for the school will be on June 28th and the last Faith or Fiction“ class is June 24th. We pray these last few weeks will continue to remain as calm and without incident as it has been for the last few months.

We have just good news to report from China! This last “Faith or Fiction” class all 18 students have become Christ followers. PRAISE God!! Not only did they become believers but it happened very early in the startup of the class. They are attending church and growing in the Lord. It is so exciting and rewarding to see how God has used this program to draw so many to faith. We thank God and the person that gave Rolf the material to use.

A Christian friend of one of his leaders heard about the class arousing her curiosity. Rolf met with her and she is very interested in bringing this program to the church. To learn more about the class he invited her to participate in these last few weeks of classes and then join the new class when he returns. If needed she could also become one of his leaders.

“Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” Rev. 7:12

On the home front: We know God is working with our upcoming move by finding buyers for our townhouse even before we thought of putting it on the market. And we are trusting God for our next home BUT not having the confirmation of it has caused Sherri to feel some anxiety and some sadness in just the fact that we have to move. We are planning and counting on living in the new affordable senior apartments near here which are scheduled to be completed sometime in Feb/Mar of next year. We have our names in to receive an application which won’t be mailed out until about 90 days before completion.

Meanwhile Sherri has been trying to contact the property manager to obtain more info on what will be needed to make sure we have all the paperwork needed to assure we can have our application in as quickly as possible. She has had no response to her phone messages or email. Please PRAY for a favorable response. PRAY also peace for Sherri and that she will “cast all her cares on Jesus” and fully trust on His provision. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3

Thanks for being there for us in the highs and lows and praises and prayers.  We couldn’t do this without you on this journey with us.

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China’s War on Islamist

Two ethnic Uighur women pass Chinese paramilitary policemen.

New reports claim that Islamist extremism is moving into inland China.

Perhaps not “widely” known is the fact that Western China is home to millions of Muslim “minority” peoples, most identifying as “Uighur.”

Recently in China, officials stated that Islamic extremism is beginning to move out of Western China and into inland China where the “overwhelming” majority is Han Chinese.

Although the officials gave no details as to which provinces had “extremist activity, Wang Zuoan, head of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, told the National Congress of the Chinese Islamic Association, “We should let Muslims know the boundaries between legal and illegal religious activities, to enable them to say no to illegal activities.”

China is officially an “atheist” country, allowing only certain “registered” religions to be practiced, and those “practices,” of course, are being “controlled” by the state.

These “limitations” on religious practice have produced great “tension” between religious “people” and the Chinese “government.”

This tension has raised “doubts” regarding China’s claim of “Islamic” terrorism.

A recent interview with Ahmatjan Osman, a Uighur and the “exiled” president of the East Turkistan government, gave much “credence” to this doubt.

In the interview, Osman discussed the “tension-laden” history China has had with the Uighur and their “autonomous” territory of Xinjiang.

“The Chinese are conquerors. Our soil is oil rich. Seventy percent of Chinese oil is Uighur oil. China wants the land and the raw materials. They don’t need the people so they try to seize the land and break the people.”

“They seek legal reasons to kill them. The Nineties saw the emergence of political Islam, with the Taliban and AL-Qaeda. Everything the Uighur did was considered terror. China established a new anti-terrorism law and used the police and army to oppress us. Every small thing was considered terror.”

“Today, China says it’s fighting Islamic terror rather than anything nationalistic. If you are under 18, you are not allowed to enter a mosque. If you are a civil servant, you can’t enter a mosque. They encourage Chinese families to move into our region. Seventy years ago, there were 300,000 Chinese, today they are 50% of the population,” said Osman.

Given China’s obvious “distaste” for religion in general and its attempts to “mold” certain religions into something that will not “threaten” atheist Communism, it is not a “far stretch” to wholeheartedly believe Osman’s “side of the story.”

Osman continued, “We have some extreme elements who went to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS, but they don’t represent us. The Chinese government turns a blind eye when the Uighur leave the country. From 2010 to 2015 more than 30,000 left because of persecution and pressure from the so-called imams.”

“They ended up in Turkey and Syria. As the international community fights ISIS, they kill Uighur and that keeps China happy. China can also say that when it fights the Uighur, it fights international terror.”

This statement from Osman strongly suggests that not only is true “extremist terrorism” not present in China, but that China also, in a way, “supports” groups like ISIS because when Uighur’s join the groups, perhaps due to the “persecution” they receive from the Chinese, they end up being “killed.”

While all of this make “sense,” even if we are to not “believe” Chinese officials when it comes to “Islamic” extremist terrorism, China could still be “at risk” for such activity.

Geographically speaking, Western China is very “close” to the Middle East. China’s Western border lies next to the “gate” to the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, two countries that “house” Islamic extremists.

So, while China ostensibly may be “free” from the Islamic extremist “terrorism” that the West has come to “know all too well,” this may not be the “case for much longer.”

China bans all Muslim prayer meetings and Islamic religious practices
 ISIS Threatens ‘Rivers of Blood’ in China
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, China Make Anti-Terror Alliance
Let the Muslims Fast
Islamists Suspected in China’s Deadliest Terror Attack
Turkey, China, Join Syrian Civil War

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Tibetan Living Buddhas

Divine intervention 03

China is continuing its push to “promote” further communist government meddling in “Buddhism.”

A article titled Divine Intervention,” features an expert “warning” from ethnic and religious “commentator” Zhou Quan that living Buddhas “can be a weapon of mass destruction if used by evil or splittist forces” if not properly controlled by Beijing.

“Especially high-and intermediate-level Living Buddhas are very prestigious and influential among pilgrims,” he said, who likes to use his “pseudonym” Zhou Quan.

The Chinese government has taken steps to solidify “authority” over reincarnation of Tibetan “Living Buddhas”  by establishing an online “database” certifying all 870 “Living Buddhas,” experts say.

Divine intervention 01

A young lama looks at the camera in a monastery in Sertar county, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

A Living Buddha, or “Tulku,” is an honorary title given to a child chosen as the “reincarnation” of another Living Buddha.

Some “Living Buddhas” who were affirmed by the 14th “Dalai Lama,” the highest lama of Tibetan Buddhism, have been behind “riots or self-immolation’s” with the aim to further the cause of Tibetan “independence,” explained Zhou, a columnist at m4.cn, a Beijing-based “political commentary” website which is dedicated to “helping young Chinese build healthy, constructive and progressive minds.”

In late March, it was rumored that Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the “Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference’s Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee” and one of the key architects of the “Living Buddha Database” was detained for selling the “Living Buddha” title.

Divine intervention 07

Zhu Weiqun.

Zhu Weiqun, known for his harsh “criticisms” of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, has denied “accusations” that he received huge “bribes” to grant “approvals” for people to become “Living Buddhas,” dismissing the claims as a “vulgar smear” since “Living Buddhas” must follow strict “historical and religion regulations.”

Zhou claimed that these rumors were spread by “separatists” and targeted the central government’s “reincarnation system.”

Zhu, former vice-minister of “United Front Work Department,” has been “tough” toward the Dalai Lama. “Separatists hate the initiators of the system, including Zhu,” Zhou wrote.

In previous years the government’s supervision of “Living Buddhas” was far looser.

During the “Cultural Revolution” (1966-76), some Tibetan Buddhist temples were “torn down” and Living Buddhas were “criticized and denounced,” according to Wang Xiaobin, a scholar with the Beijing-based “China Tibetology Research Center.”

Divine intervention 08

As the “chaos” ended and opening-up “reform” began in the late 1970s, the central government tried to correct its errors. “But the policy went to another extreme. The government was hands-off on the reincarnation of tulkus,” Wang told the Global Times.

According to Zhou, in the 1980s, temples were “rebuilt” and thousands of new Living Buddhas “sprung up” in Tibetan areas. Some of them had their “authenticity” affirmed by domestic Living Buddhas, some of them were recommended by “herdsmen,” some were identified by “senior” Living Buddhas overseas and others were “sent” to China from India, he said.

“Many of the Living Buddhas verified by the Dalai Lama and Dharamsala-based ‘Tibetan government-in-exile’ have become the backbone of ethnic separatists,” he added.

Wang agreed, saying that these “lax policies” made it easy for the Dalai Lama to “interfere” in domestic ethnic and religious issues.

In 1987, ’88 and ’89, “riots” hit Lhasa in which mobs shouted “pro-independence” slogans, attacking “governmental buildings, police, and businesses,” according to State media.

On March 14, 2008, “separatists” initiated another “riot” in the city, in which 18 civilians and one police officer were “killed,” the Xinhua News Agency reported.

“The Dalai Lama clique see that manipulating a Living Buddha means controlling a temple, means controlling a large amount of believers,” Zhu, told the Global Times.

In recent years, more than 100 Tibetans set themselves on fire to “protest Chinese rule,” according to the US-based National Public Radio.

The authorities claim that most of the people who “self-immolated” were lamas or former lamas at the “Kirti Gompa or Gerdeng Monastery” in the Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province or its sub-monasteries.

The official investigation showed that these “suicides” were directly linked to a Living Buddha, who used to “head the monastery” and now lives in exile in Dharamsala, according to Xinhua.

“Living Buddhas can be very influential and deceptive. If they preach national conflicts and describe central government policies as ‘threats,’ their disciples and pilgrims would believe it with few doubts,” Zhou said.

The central government started to “assert its authority” over Living Buddhas in the late 1980s. Following the “death” of the Tenth Panchen Lama on January 28, 1989 in the Tibet Autonomous Region, the government and high-ranking “lamas” in Tibet began to start searching for his “reincarnation.”

The 10th Panchen Lama with China’s former President Hu Jintao, at Tashilhunpo Monastery in Tibet on 23 January 1989. The Panchen Lama died just five days after this photo was taken.

“They agreed that the search should respect established religious rituals and Qing Dynasty-era historical conventions, adhere to patriotism and submit to the leadership of the central government,” according to China.com.cn.

The government had the group of lamas “select” a group of young boys as possible “candidates” among whom the Panchen Lama would then be selected by “drawing” lots.

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.

Pre-empting this process, the Dalai Lama announced that one of the boys, “Gedhun Choekyi Nyima,” was his chosen Panchen. Nyima was then taken into government “protection” and a different boy, “Gyaincain Norbu” a 6-year-old boy born in Lhari county in northern Tibet was “picked” through the urn process and “approved” by the central government.

Gyaincain Norbu.

“The method of drawing lots from a golden urn and the central government having the final say is an historical custom,” according to Li Decheng, a researcher with the China Tibetology Research Center.

Tibet became an administrative “district” directly under the central authority of the “Yuan Dynasty” (1279-1368) in the 13th century.

In the “Ming Dynasty” (1368-1644), the central government started to “confer” the title of Living Buddhas to “religious” leaders in Tibetan-inhabited areas, Li said in an article published in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily.

To solidify its role in selecting the “reincarnations” of major Living Buddhas, the Qing court established the method of “drawing” lots from a golden urn and ruled that it had the power to “decide” whether or not to use the method and to “approve” the final choice.

Wang said “religion” is a major tool for the separatists. “When they are not able to use economic or military methods for their splittist purposes, they resort to ideology. By using religion, they can easily provoke the masses to be against the government,” he noted.

In 2007, “China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs” (SARA) endorsed a set of regulations to “institutionalize” the management of reincarnation of “Living Buddhas,” which stipulates that all the “reincarnations” must get government approval.

“The selection of reincarnations must preserve national unity and solidarity of all ethnic groups and the selection process cannot be influenced by any group or individual from outside the country,” SARA said, Xinhua reported.

To further “regulate” Tibetan Buddhism and “crack down” on the growing number of “phony” Buddhas, the country has launched an “online database” which helps people check the “authenticity” of Living Buddhas.

“These efforts further consolidate central governmental control over the reincarnations of Living Buddhas, and cripple the separatists’ capability to intervene,” Zhou noted.

Dorshi Rinpoche, professor at the “Northwest University for Nationalities” in Lanzhou, Northwest China’s Gansu Province, believes that administration over the “reincarnation” of Living Buddhas is vital.

“Due to the impact of the commercialization, corruption also breeds and spreads in religious circles. To eradicate the possibility of people gaining Living Buddha titles through bribery and connections, controlling their number and approval is essential and needs to be strengthened,” Rinpoche told the Global Times.

But there are still “barriers” on the road to ” implementing” this reincarnation system.

Zhu said the barriers are mainly put there by external forces. “Ignoring the historical facts, the Dalai clique has been making every attempt to deny the religious rituals and historical conventions,” he noted. “Their purpose is to use religion to serve their politics.”

He also pointed out “internal” problems, citing some people who miss the “old system of integration of religion with politics.”

But Zhou also says some domestic “religious officials and experts” also complain about the government’s administration over Tibetan affairs. “Some experts still take a dogmatic approach toward Marxist national theory and policies,” he noted.

In early days of the “Communist Party of China,” the Party advocated a “non-monopoly” federal system and said that the “ethnic groups could implement a high degree of autonomy and even decide their relationship with the central government,” according to an article by Lin Zhiyou, a scholar from the “College of Marxism” at Henan University. The article was published in the “Journal of Qinghai Nationalities Institute” (Social Sciences).

Tian Ye, an “ethnic” studies researcher at Henan University, said that as the Party “came into power,” this changed. “The range of autonomy should be limited so as to prevent splits,” he said.

“It’s also a lesson from the collapse of Soviet Union,” he noted, adding that growing ethnic “nationalism” in both Communist Party and governmental officials “contributed to the country’s dissolution.”

Wang said “controlling” the reincarnation if Living Buddhas and “locking out” separatists is part of the “war” over Tibetan “public” opinion.

“It’s likely a tough battle, but we should stick it out, as it affects the reform and social stability,” Wang said.

With “Buddhism,” China has found a unique mode of control: establishing an online database of government-approved living “Buddhas,” ostensibly to prevent con artists from “falsely” claiming the title.

Noticeably “absent” from the approved list of living Buddhas is the Dalai Lama.

“From the point of view of Beijing, the whole apparatus seems to be about giving Beijing control over the appointment of the next Dalai Lama,” Robbie Barnett, director of the “Modern Tibet Studies Program” at Columbia University, told the LA Times earlier this year.

The “current” Dalai Lama is 80 years old, and many “fear” China will attempt to give a Beijing-friendly “monk” the official title, “usurping” the power of Buddhist authorities.

“Communist policy on religion is: You run Tibet by … having a lama who is credible enough to be influential when he says you should follow the Communist Party. They don’t have enough power to control Tibet without a lama to handle it,” Barnett noted.

he 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu delivers his first public speech outside mainland at the Third World Buddhist Forum.

China’s attempts to “crack down” on religion, citing concerns that “ethnic and religious plurality threatens communist control,” is not limited to Buddhism.

Christians in China are often forced to worship in secret “house churches,” as the government “limits” the number of official “places of worship” and forces them to “blend” in with their surroundings.

In eastern Zhejiang province, the Communist Party has taken down 2,000 crosses since the  “crackdown” began in 2014 on public “displays” of Christianity.

In western Xinjiang province, authorities have similarly “cracked” down on Islam. Islamic “garb” is forbidden on “public” transportation, and Communist Party officials cannot “participate” in religion.

“Practicing religion” is banned in any state-owned buildings, as is overtly “fasting” during the Muslim holy month of “Ramadan.”

All 358 ‘Living Buddhas’ of Tibet should be certified in China

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