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Former Tibet governer tows Beijing's line over Dalai Lama's succession

March 17, 2010

March 16, 2010
By Chime Tenzing

Dharamsala - March, 16th: A former governor of the so called Tibet
Autonomous Region, Qiangba Puncog, has reiterated China's position over the
successor of the Dalai Lama requiring its approval, breaking away from the
traditional system.

Towing the line of his masters in Beijing, Puncog, who was the governor of
Tibet during the 2008 riots in Tibet, said "the final decision on the
reincarnated successors to the Buddhist region's top lamas lies with
Beijing. "It must get the approval of the central government; otherwise the
reincarnation will be illegitimate and invalid" he said while briefing
reporters on the sidelines of China's National People's Congress session

On July 13, 2007, the Communist government in Beijing decided to implement a
so called 'Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas
in Tibetan Buddhism,' which was outrightly denounced as 'ludicrous and
unwarranted' by the Tibetan government in exile here. Many Tibet experts,
like the exile government, felt the "document reflects the ulterior or true
motives of the Chinese leadership."

Article 2 of 'The Measures' explains China's purpose, writes Claude Arpi, a
Tibet expert and a journalist who has written extensively on issues related
to Tibet. The article 2 says, 'Reincarnating living Buddhas should respect
and protect the principles of the unification of the State, protecting the
unity of the minorities, protecting religious concord and social harmony,
and protecting the normal order of Tibetan Buddhism. (They)... may not
re-establish feudal privileges which have already been abolished.'

It makes an even more pointed reference at the Nobel Peace Prize laureate,
noted Claude who says the article further reads, 'Reincarnating living
Buddhas shall not... be under the dominion of any foreign organisation or

However, amidst such prevailing worries, His Holiness said last month he
would have no qualms ending the centuries-old spiritual tradition if
Tibetans so choose.

"It is ultimately up to the Tibetan people, I made clear, whether this very
institution should continue or not", the 14th Dalai Lama told media on a
visit to Los Angeles.

"If majority of Tibetan people feel the Dalai institution is no longer much
relevant, then this institution should cease -- there is no problem."

The next Dalai Lama could also be born in exile -- out of Beijing's reach,
he had said in the past.

"The very purpose of reincarnation is to carry out the tasks of the previous
life that are not yet achieved. If I die while we are still refugees, my
reincarnation, logically, will come outside Tibet, who will carry out the
work I started", the Tibetan leader had said at a gathering in Amritsar on
November 27, 2007.

One of the few certainties about the political future of Tibet is that the
death of the current Dalai Lama will cause major ructions in Tibet and
overseas, a recent report by Reuters said.

China's biggest intrusion into Tibet's traditional religious belief system
was fifteen years ago with the installation of Gaincain Norbu as its Panchen
Lama soon after His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognized Gendhun Choekyi Nyima
as the 11th Panchen Lama on 14 May 1995. Three days later, on 17 May, he
along with his parents went missing. However, Gaincain Norbu is not widely
accepted by Tibetans as the true incarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama
despite China's backing.

Edited by Kalsang Rinchen
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