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Panchen Lama makes global debut

world Updated: Apr 27, 2012 01:18 IST

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The Panchen Lama chosen by China but disputed by Tibetan Buddhists discussed religious philosophy Thursday during his first appearance outside the mainland marking greater efforts by Beijing to win acceptance of its rule over Tibet.

The Panchen Lama is Tibetan Buddhism's second-highest spiritual leader' but followers of the exiled Dalai Lama - the top leader - do not recognize China's choice.

Beijing's 22-year-old Panchen Lama spoke at the third World Buddhist Forum, a showcase for China's cultural diplomacy that is attended by more than 1,000 monks, nuns and scholars from 50 countries. His attendance is aimed at burnishing his religious credentials.

'Middle Way' best for Tibet: Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama said he would not alter his non-violent quest for greater Tibetan autonomy, even after Beijing blamed him for inciting a wave of unrest. A total of 34 Tibetans, many of them Buddhist monks and nuns, are reported to have attempted to kill themselves by setting themselves on fire in China's Tibetan-inhabited areas since the start of 2011 in protest at Chinese rule.