A former President of China's Buddhist Association has been rehabilitated posthumously.
GV INTERIOR Conference Hall in Peking
SV PAN Delegates seated at long table
SV Zhao Puchu, acting president of Buddhist Association speaking with people listening (3 shots)
SV TRACKING SHOT Men and women
SV & GV Delegates at head table and saffron robed monks at long tables (3 shots)
SV Delegates seated and others at tables (3 shots)
GV EXTERIOR TILT DOWN Side of pagoda
GV Zhao Puchu standing in front of worshipping group
SV INTERIOR Monks inside pagoda near gold-encrusted container and ceremony continuing (3 shots)
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Background: A former President of China's Buddhist Association has been rehabilitated posthumously. China's Religious Affairs Bureau announced the exoneration of Xerab Gyaco, who fell from grace during the Cultural Revolution.
The new of the rehabilitation was broken to the fourth national conference of the Buddhist Association of China, and reportedly marks a new stage of development of Buddhism in China.
SYNOPSIS: Since its foundation in 1953, the Association has held two other conference, 1957 and 1962. The Xinhua news agency reports that Buddhism suffered during China's cultural revolution, but normal religious activities have been revived since the fall of the "Gang of Four". Presiding over this year's conference is the Association's acting President, Zhao Puchu.
The conference coincided with an announcement by the state Bureau of Religious Affairs that the former President of the Association, Xerab Gyaco, had been exonerated. Religious Affairs director, Xiao Xianfa, announced the decision on Thursday (18 December). Xerab Gyaco died in 1968 at the age of 85 from alleged persecution during the Cultural Revolution. After criticising the government's handling of religious affairs, he was relieved of a number of high government posts.
Mr. Xiao told the conference that repudiation of Xerab Gyaco was wrong, that all false charges imposed on him should be overturned, and that he should be rehabilitated. Buddhism was introduced into China in the first century AD and has since exerted a great impact on the development of ideology and culture.
The Xinhua news agency says that freedom of religious belief is guaranteed in China, and the right to perform religious service protected. The rehabilitation of Xerab Gyaco is seen as the Communist leadership's commitment to those ideals.