China on Monday denied that the Karmapa, head of the Tibetan Karma Kagyu sect, was its spy, and claimed that allegations against the country in this regard showed India's 'mistrustful attitude' towards Beijing.
"The speculation by India's media, regarding the matter of the Karmapa as a Chinese agent or spy, shows that India is maintaining its mistrustful attitude toward China," said Xu Zhitao, an official at the United Front Work Department of the ruling Communist Party Central Committee.
In the first reaction to reports of raids on the offices of a trust backed by Karmapa in the Indian press, the official said, "The 17th Karmapa Living Buddha (Monks in Tibet are called living Buddhas) is the first reincarnated Living Buddha confirmed and approved by the central government of the People's Republic of China after the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951."
"The reincarnation of holy men is a unique form of succession in Tibetan Buddhism, which has long been recognised and respected," Xu told state-run Global Times on Monday. Karmapa, who heads the Karmapa sect, is informally ranked number 3 in Tibetan Buddhist spiritual religious milieu.
He is endorsed by both the Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual head, as well as by the Chinese government. Panchen Lama, ranked second, was appointed by China but was not backed by the Dalai Lama.
"Karmapa left China in 1999 for the purpose of religious behaviour, just as he claimed," Xu said. He was referring to the explanation provided by Karmapa's advisor Karma Topden in Dharmashala on Sunday, who said that the monk came to India to complete his spiritual learning process as all top teachers of his sect were based here.
Xu made no mention of Karmapa's assertions that the main reason behind his departure was to escape from the pressure exhorted by the Chinese authorities on him to denounce Dalai Lama and support the Panchen Lama.
Karmapa, whose original name is Ugyen Trinley Dorjee, said he came to India to seek the blessings of Dalai Lama, who is denounced by China. The Global Times news report also cited reports in the Indian media about protests by Karmapa's supporters denying the allegations.
"This is not the first time that India's media has linked 'spies' with China. Earlier this month, three Chinese citizens were arrested in India on suspicion of money laundering and spying on border security. But the Chinese foreign ministry said they were actually tourists who had mistakenly crossed the border from Nepal," it said.