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China Wants to Control Next Dalai Lama Selection

September 1, 2007

Communist China has introduced new rules that appear aimed at controlling the selection of the next Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism's spiritual head, BBC reported.

Most Tibetans believe that eminent monks, such as the Dalai Lama, are reincarnated after death.

China, which governs Tibet, will now have the final say over who can be selected as a reincarnated monk.

The current Dalai Lama is a thorn in China's side, which is probably why it is keen to select his reincarnation.

Although the new regulations do not mention the Dalai Lama by name, they effectively prevent his followers in exile from choosing his reincarnation.

"No outside organisation or individual will influence or control the reincarnation of living Buddhas [eminent monks]," states one article of the new regulations.

They also say that any reincarnation has to be approved by various levels of government.

In the case of the most pre-eminent monks, who would include the Dalai Lama, China's cabinet has to give its seal of approval.

Officials at China's State Administration for Religious Affairs declined to be interviewed by the BBC about who these new rules are directed against.

BBC commented that it appears China wants to control the selection of the next Dalai Lama. The current, 14th Dalai Lama, is now 72.

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