We choose next Dalai Lama, says Beijing
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In the latest indication that Beijing will intervene in the administration of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, Beijing said yesterday that the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader has no right to decide who will take over from him after he dies.
The title of Dalai Lama should be conferred upon by the central government, otherwise it is not legal, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a press briefing.
'The 14th Dalai Lama himself was conferred the title by the government of the Republic of China. There has never been a case of a previous Dalai determining the next Dalai. At the same time, the Chinese government has already issued rules about religious affairs and the administration of the reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism,' he said.
'The reincarnation of living Buddhas is a form of succession special to Tibetan Buddhism, and the policies of freedom of religious beliefs observed by China naturally include respecting and protecting this form of succession in Tibetan Buddhism.'
Hong said the reincarnation of any living Buddha, including the Dalai Lama, should respect the religious rules, historical standards and state laws and regulations.
His remarks came after the Dalai Lama made a lengthy statement over the weekend that he and the high lamas of Tibetan Buddhism will decide who will take over from him.
'When I am about 90, I will consult the high lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public and other concerned people who follow Tibetan Buddhism, and re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not,' the 76-year-old said.
'Apart from the reincarnation recognised through such legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the People's Republic of China.'
Traditionally, it might take years to identify a child deemed to be a reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, a search usually limited to Tibet. The current Dalai Lama previously stated that he would not be reborn in the People's Republic of China if Tibet is not free.
This has raised prospects of two successors holding the title, with one recognised by Beijing and the other chosen by Tibetan exiles with the blessing of the current Dalai Lama.
That happened in 1995, when Beijing rejected the Dalai Lama's choice to be the 11th Panchen Lama and picked its own reincarnation. The 10th Panchen Lama died in 1989.
The Chinese-raised Panchen Lama, Gyaincain Norbu, is now 21 and a deputy of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Tanzen Lhundup, from the China Tibetology Research Centre, said it was 'obvious' that the Dalai Lama's latest statement would worsen his relationship with Beijing, and the reincarnation without conferment from Beijing would not be authoritative.