China to approve Dalai Lama’s successor?


China stated on May 21, 2021 that any successor of the 14th Dalai Lama should have to be approved by it, ruling out recognition to any heir nominated by the Dalai Lama or by his followers.

An official white paper published by the Chinese government on Tibet stated that the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and other grand Living Buddhas has been subjected to approval by the central government since the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The document also states that Tibet is an inseparable part of China since ancient times.

Chinese White Paper: What does it say?

•The white paper released by the Chinese government is titled ‘Tibet Since 1951: Liberation, Development and Prosperity.”

•The document reads that in 1793, the Qing government restored order in Tibet and promulgated the Imperially Approved Ordinance for Better Governance of Tibet, improving systems by which the central government administered Tibet after dispelling Gurkha invaders. 

Reincarnation of Dalai Lama to follow drawing lots from golden urn

•The paper states that the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and other grand Living Buddhas has 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 paper states 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.

•It further states that the traditional religious activities are carried out regularly per the law and examination on scriptures and subsequent promotion in academic degrees are also held in monasteries regularly.

Demand for Tibet’s independence product of imperialist aggression against China

•The white paper explicitly termed the demand for Tibet’s independence as a product of imperialist aggression against China.

•It said that the UK-led imperialist powers began to cultivate the idea of Tibet independence in the middle of the 19th century to intentionally undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

•The paper further slammed Dalai Lama and his followers for promoting “Tibetan independence”. It stated that 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 stated that the reactionaries of Tibet’s ruling class fled to India after the failure of their armed rebellion in 1959 and they then subsequently began to campaign for “Tibetan independence” by force.

•It read that no country or government in the world has ever acknowledged the “independence of Tibet.”

Rejects allegations of curbs on Religion 

•The white paper stated that the Tibetan province has over 1,700 sites for Tibetan Buddhist activities with 46,000 monks and nuns, four mosques for 12,000 native Muslims and a Catholic church with over 700 followers. 

•The paper also rejected criticism over Tibetan language being undermined to promote the official Chinese language and stated that the Tibetan spoken and written language is widely used in Tibet.

•It stated that the study and use of the Tibetan language are protected by law and that Tibet now has 16 periodicals and 12 newspapers in the Tibetan language and has also published over 40 million copies of 7,185 Tibetan-language books.

•The white paper also assured that Tibet is economically thriving and prospering in the new era and it has a system of regional ethnic autonomy.

•It further stated that there has been major jump in the average life expectancy in Tibet, as it has reached 71.1 years in 2019 from 35.5 years in 1951.

•It also said the number of Tibetans in the legislature has increased.

What happened in Tibet

•A crackdown by Chinese authorities following an uprising by the local population in Tibet in 1959, forced the 14th Dalai Lama to seek refuge in India, where he has been ever since. 

•India granted the Buddhist leader and the Tibetan government-in-exile political asylum and they have been based in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh ever since. This has been one of the major cause of tension between India and China. 

•The Dalai Lama is now 85 years old now and hence, talks his regarding his successor have gained prominence in the last couple of years. 

Role of United States

The US Congress had recently passed the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020 (TPSA), which made it an official US policy that the decisions regarding the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama should be within the exclusive authority of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people.

However, the Chinese officials have been pushing that institution of reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has been in existence for several hundred years and that the 14th (present) Dalai Lama himself was found and recognised following religious rituals and historic conventions and his succession was approved by China’s central government.

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