By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 3 October 2019
More than 300 Tibetan leaders and activists from around the world have gathered in their exile capital McLeod Ganj, India, for three days of brainstorming sessions to discuss their future.
Organised by the Cabinet and the Parliament-in-exile of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the meeting will discuss the Five-Fifty Vision, which is about the prospects of Tibet and the Tibetans for the next 50 years, and the historic bond between the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lamas.
Setting the tone for the discussion, CTA President Lobsang Sangay said that the Dalai Lamas have been tremendously valuable for the Tibetan people.
“It goes without saying that the Tibetan people want a next Dalai Lama, and therefore it would be important for all those attending this meeting to voice their views in this regard,” Sangay said.
The Dalai Lamas have ruled Tibet since 1642 after the 5th Dalai Lama was accorded both temporal and spiritual authority over Tibet by the Mongol invader Gushir Khan. Since then the Dalai Lamas or his regents ruled Tibet.
The current 14th Dalai Lama, who escaped to India after the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959, ended the temporal rule by his lineage in 2011, and entrusted the political leadership to an elected leader.
The issue of the Dalai Lama’s succession tops China’s agenda today. Although an atheist government, it has been trying to meddle in the reincarnation process of the next Dalai Lama, with the motive of gaining full control of the Tibetan people. Reincarnation is a solely religious matter, however.
The Tibetan people have vehemently stood against Chinese rule, but any sign of dissent is met with violent crackdown.
Talks have taken place between the envoys of the Dalai Lama and the representatives of Beijing over the last few decades, but China has attempted to reduce the question of Tibet to a discussion of the Dalai Lama’s personal status. No concrete results have been produced, and the last round of talks was held in 2010. Since then the status quo has remained.
Speaker of the exile Parliament Pema Jungney, quoting the Dalai Lama, said that any future Dalai Lama recognised by other than Tibetans for political reasons shall not be accepted by the Tibetan people.
A declaration is likely to come out at the end of the three-day sessions, announcing that the Tibetan people would like to have a 15th Dalai Lama when the current, who at 84 shows excellent health, passes away. They may denounce the Chinese government for meddling in the issue of reincarnation, which is a traditional and spiritual matter of Tibetan people.
The declaration may then be submitted to the Dalai Lama when the 345 delegates from 24 different countries meet with him on Sunday.