By Sutirtho Patranobis | Hindustan Times
ON THE WEB, 21 May 2021
China on Friday indicated that it would choose the successor to the India-based Dalai Lama through “drawing lots from the golden urn” with the candidate subject to the approval of the Communist Party China (CPC)-ruled central government.
A new policy paper released on Tibet on Friday all but ruled out the 14th Dalai Lama himself choosing his successor.
Citing historical precedence, the white paper said the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and other grand Living Buddhas has been subjected to approval by the central government since an ordinance passed during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
“The ordinance stipulated that the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and other grand Living Buddhas had to follow the procedure of ‘drawing lots from the golden urn’, and the selected candidate would be subject to approval by the central government of China,” the white paper, titled “Tibet Since 1951: Liberation, Development and Prosperity”, said.
The 14th Dalai Lama, who is 85 now, fled to India in 1959 following a Chinese crackdown on an uprising by the local population in Tibet.
The Tibetan leader was granted political asylum in India and the Tibetan government-in-exile has been based in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh since then.
In 2017, the Chinese foreign ministry had told Hindustan Times about the process it would follow on the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation. “The reincarnation of the Dalai Lama must be conducted according to religious rituals and historical conventions including drawing lots from the Golden Urn in front of the Shakyamuni (Buddha) statue at the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, which embodies the Buddhist spirit,” the ministry had said, adding: “(and) not by what the 14th Dalai Lama has said.”
The primary rules of naming the successor will follow the “Regulation on Religious Affairs and Management Rules of Tibetan Buddhism Reincarnation,” the ministry said.
“Finally, the result must be reported to the central government for approval. This rule was established early in 1793,” said the ministry referring to the 29-Article Ordinance for More Effective Governance of Tibet, passed by the Qing dynasty, which ruled future Dalai Lamas would be chosen through a draw of lots of names inside the urn at the temple.
China routinely blames the Dalai Lama for inciting separatism in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and has called him a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.
Beijing says the Dalai Lama seeks to use violent methods to establish an independent Tibet though the Tibetan leader, who has won the Nobel Peace Prize, says he only wants genuine autonomy for Tibet and denies advocating independence or violence.
The Dalai Lama’s succession issue has been in focus, especially in the last few years after the US has stepped up campaign, saying that the right relating to the reincarnation of Dalai Lama’s successor should be within the exclusive authority of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people.
The white paper slammed the Dalai Lama group for promoting “Tibetan independence”. “Over the years, the 14th Dalai Lama and his supporters have continued to try to promote ‘Tibetan independence’ by provoking incidents to jeopardise peace and stability in Tibet,” it said.
After the failure of their armed rebellion in 1959, the reactionaries of Tibet’s ruling class fled to India and subsequently began to campaign for “Tibetan independence by force”, it said.
No country or government in the world has ever acknowledged the “independence of Tibet”, it said.
The white paper also said by 2020, a total of 92 reincarnated Living Buddhas had been identified and approved through traditional religious rituals and historical conventions for temples in Tibet.