China says it will choose the next Dalai Lama, India shouldn’t Interfere

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures during an event at his residence in McLeod Ganj, India, on 24 October 2018.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gestures during an event at his residence in McLeod Ganj, India, on 24 October 2018. File photo/Ti


LHASA, China, 14 July 2019

The successor of the Dalai Lama has to be decided within China and any interference by India on the issue will impact bilateral ties, Chinese authorities have said.

In first clear assertion on the sensitive issue, senior Chinese officials and experts said the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama must be approved by the Chinese government and the selection should take place within the country based on an over 200 year-old process.

“The reincarnation of Dalai Lama is a historical, religious and political issue. There are established historical institutions and formalities for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama,” Wang Neng Sheng, an official in the rank of vice minister in Tibet, told a group of Indian journalists in Lhasa.

“The Dalai Lama’s reincarnation is not decided by his personal wish or by some group of people living in other countries,” he added.

Mr Wang, the director general at the government of Tibet Autonomous Region, said the current Dalai Lama was recognised by Beijing and his successor must be found through the “draw of lots in golden urn process” within China.

Echoing Mr Wang’s views, Zha Luo, director at Beijing-based China Tibetology Research Centre, a government-run influential think tank, said any refusal by India to recognise the next Dalai Lama to be chosen within China will impact bilateral ties.

“It will be a major political difference that would impact bilateral relations and any wise political leader wouldn’t do that,” said Mr Zha whose team advises central government on policy issues for Tibet. He was asked what will happen if India refuses to recognise the next Dalai Lama chosen by China.

“Since the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is an important issue for China any friendly country or friend of China would not interfere or meddle on the issue,” he added.

“Government of India’s position on His Holiness the Dalai Lama is clear and consistent. He is a revered religious leader and is deeply respected by the people of India. There is no change in that position. His Holiness is accorded all freedom to carry out his religious activities in India,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson had said in March last year.

Mr Wang said the process of selecting the next Dalai Lama must follow two clear steps: “It must go to draw of lots in the golden urn and the reincarnation must be recognised by the central government”.

He said the “centrality” of the central government must be recognised and that any personal move by the current Dalai Lama on the issue is not going to be recognised by Chinese government or religious followers in Tibet.

“It was with the central government’s recognition that the Dalai Lama became 14th Dalai Lama. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been in that position,” said Mr Wang.

He alleged that the Dalai Lama has been “inciting” and “misguiding” young Tibetan people for his political motives.

Asked about the Dalai Lama’s comments that he was ready to accept Tibet as part of China, Mr Wang said he has been resorting to political rhetoric without taking any action.

“He still believes that Tibet is an independent country. Without any concrete moves from his side, his words do not mean anything,” he added.

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