In the beginning of this month, the coup leader Min Aung Hlaing unveiled the world’s tallest Buddha statue in Nay Pyi Taw. Obviously the dictator is fantasizing about the Buddhist kingship just like Than Shwe, the previous regime leader. But the fact that Min Aung Hlaing has been abducting the Buddhist monks, destructing religious building and breaking every Buddhist precept indicate that he never has faith in Buddha or Buddha’s teachings. And once again, he is following the footsteps of his predecessor in politicizing religion.
Following the inauguration, the regime has claimed thousands of people have travelled from different part of the country to pay homage to the pagoda. It’s hard to verify how many of them were pure religious individuals and how many were forced into visiting the site. Nevertheless, the world has seen enough to know that Min Aung Hlaing is far from a compassionate Buddhist. He has killed over 4,000 people, and kept more than 20,000 people in detention. If it takes a kidnapping of Buddha itself to maintain his grip on power, he would do so in a heartbeat. Now, the statue instead seems to be held captive as a symbol of his authority.
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