Religious Regulation in China: helping Nepal develop Buddha’s birthplace

Reuters reports a Chinese-backed foundation and Nepal’s government plan to transform Buddha’s birthplace in south Nepal into a pilgrimage/tourist destination.

One might be tempted to ask “why”? This seems to be part of China’s ongoing trend toward increasing control. By doing this, they “hope to bring together three schools of Buddhism.” The most important quotes:

  • China does not seek to stifle religion. Rather, it seeks to control it, using faith to curb rising social unrest and fill an ideological vacuum.
  • The government has no tolerance for groups that challenge its control (as demonstrated by its reaction to Shouwang earlier).
  • Buddhism is less feared by China because it is “homegrown” and not “foreign”.