CHENNAI, India, 16 July 2019
Taking the world view for granted, with least regard for the views of Buddhists around the world, and with its characteristic audacious and arrogant approach, the Government of China has now said that the next Dalai Lama must be approved by the Chinese government and that selection should take place only from inside China.
The Chinese government today is a totalitarian regime and recognizes no religion. The places of worship in China are strictly supervised by the Chinese government and regulations have been imposed on them. China has persecuted Muslims who have preferred independent religious approach as per the dictates of their religion. Christians too live under fear in China for practicing their religious methods.
Unfortunately, the world is keeping its eyes deliberately closed to China’s religious onslaught and aggressive approach in curbing the freedom of religions.
Several decades back, China forcefully occupied Tibet, killing several thousands of Tibetans, destroying many monuments in Tibet, and has since been leaving no stone unturned to brainwash the Tibetans and destroy the Tibetan traditions and culture. China remains unchallenged for all its unethical and uncivilized methods in handling the affairs of the occupied Tibetan territory.
China insists that no foreigner should visit Tibet and perhaps, even Chinese nationals can not visit Tibet without getting permission from the Government of China. Obviously, China has many skeletons to be concealed in its cupboard.
What is the justification for China insisting that the next Dalai Lama should be a person of its choice?
China very well knows that in spite of its best efforts, it could not make the new generation of Tibetans living in Tibet under China’s aggressive regime forget about the importance of the Dalai Lama. Nobody knows how many Tibetans are protesting in Tibet today against the Chinese government’s efforts to undo the image of the Dalai Lama, and certainly such protesters would be suppressed with heavy hand by the Chinese dictatorship without the least consideration for mercy and human values.
The Dalai Lama is a Buddhist leader of great eminence throughout the world, though he hailed from Tibet. Today, the Dalai Lama remains as the undisputed leader of Buddhists and their movement all over the world. This is more than evidenced by the fact that wherever the Dalai Lama visits, he is received with great respect by the Buddhists who seek inspiration from him. The recent visit made by the Dalai Lama to Mongolia amply proves his importance for Buddhists and the respect he commands. The Dalai Lama is the undisputed world Buddhist leader today.
China has succeeded in preventing some predominantly Buddhist countries like Sri Lanka from giving entry permit to the Dalai Lama to visit the country. Such countries have lost the valuable thoughts of the Dalai Lama, as the governments shamelessly bow to the Chinese government’s demand to boycott him.
It is particularly sad that Buddhists around the world, including those living in free countries apart from Tibetans living outside China, are not protesting effectively and taking active measures to build a campaign against this move by the Chinese government to ensure that the next Dalai Lama would be a person under its thumb.
The Chinese government has the audacity to warn the Indian government that it should not allow the next Dalai Lama to be chosen from Indian soil. It remains to be seen how the Indian government will tackle this threat from China.
One should keep in view that China is a country becoming weaker every day. The protests from Hong Kong citizens against the Chinese government’s arbitrary governance in Hong Kong has made the Chinese government more cautious, and withdraw some of its draconian moves. Taiwan, in spite of its small size, is also resisting China’s domination with reasonable success. Both Hong Kong and Taiwan have a lesson or two to teach China and they are doing it slowly and effectively in their own way.
China’s audacious move to control the appointment of the next Dalai Lama should be resisted internationally by people who value freedom. China is today vulnerable in the trade and economic front, and this is the right time to take the fight for the Tibetan cause to new heights and intensity.
The respected Dalai Lama should unilaterally nominate the next Dalai Lama and give an opportunity for the freedom fighters and Buddhists around the world to rally around him and defend his choice.
About the author
NS Venkataraman is a chemical engineer as well as a social activist in Chennai, India. He is the founder trustee of Nandini Voice for the Deprived, a Chennai-based not-for-profit organisation serving the cause of the deprived and down-trodden, and working for probity in public life.