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China's statement on Dalai Lama succession reveals 'hidden agenda' of new regulations on reincarnation

November 29, 2007

ICT Press Release, November 28, 2007

China's response to comments made by the Dalai Lama in recent weeks
concerning his successor indicates a continued intention by Beijing to
position itself as the arbiter of Tibetan Buddhist culture and follows
new measures to control reincarnate lamas introduced in Tibet earlier
this year.

Reacting to the Dalai Lama's comment that he was looking at "different
methods or ways" of selecting a successor, Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesman Liu Jianchao said last week that the process would "violate
religious rituals and historical conventions of Tibetan Buddhism"
(Xinhua, November 22).

The Dalai Lama's Special Envoy, Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, said: "Such an
uninformed response from Beijing betrays its own lack of legitimacy in
this area. His Holiness was referring to options that exist in the
future and that are deeply rooted in Tibetan Buddhist practice."

The Dalai Lama has repeatedly asserted that should he die while Tibetans
are still in exile and Tibet is still under Chinese control, "then
logically my reincarnation would come from outside Tibet". This is a
view that His Holiness has expressed before, and is based upon the
belief that a lama who is reincarnated is intended to continue the work
of his predecessor.

The Dalai Lama told journalists yesterday (November 27) that his
successor could be selected possibly in his lifetime. This is an
apparent departure from the way in which previous Dalai Lamas were
recognized but is not contrary to Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Tibetan
Buddhists believe that all enlightened beings have the ability to choose
the mode, the nature, and the timing of their rebirth, and/or
succession. The Dalai Lama has also said that whether the institution of
the Dalai Lama or not continues is up to the Tibetan people.

Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, who is based in Washington, DC, as the Special
Envoy to His Holiness, said: "This is a religious matter, and His
Holiness and Tibetan Buddhist leaders are far more competent to
interpret Buddhist traditions than atheist members of the Communist
Party of China. His Holiness has a historical and moral responsibility
to the Tibetan people to safeguard the authenticity and purity of
Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and in order to fulfill that duty he is
sharing some of the possibilities for the future regarding the
institution of the Dalai Lama. His Holiness has shared such views on
other occasions over the past few decades since he arrived in exile."

Speaking in an interview with the Voice of America yesterday, Lodi
Gyaltsen Gyari said: "The strident reaction from Beijing to His
Holiness' remarks exposes China's hidden agenda behind the recently
announced regulations on controlling reincarnate lamas."

The Chinese authorities announced new measures earlier this year stating
that they must approve the recognition of all reincarnate lamas
(tulkus). The measures, which are targeted at one of the core belief
systems of Tibetan Buddhism, indicate the Chinese Communist Party's
agenda to undermine and supplant the Tibetan religious hierarchy and
weaken the authority of legitimate Tibetan religious leaders including
the Dalai Lama.



Press contact:

Kate Saunders
Communications Director, ICT
Tel: +1 202 580 6761
Cell: +1 202 375 4389
email: press@savetibet.org
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