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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

No reincarnations without government approval

January 25, 2008

 From correspondents in Beijing
January 23, 2008
Reuters

A SENIOR Tibetan lama and Chinese government advisers have defended
contentious rules banning reincarnations of "living Buddhas" without
approval.

The rules are apparently aimed at empowering China to name the next
Dalai Lama when the 14th and current Dalai Lama dies.

Last July, China's State Administration of Religious Affairs issued
regulations banning reincarnations of living Buddhas, or holy monks, who
failed to seek government approval, ostensibly to manipulate the
centuries-old practice and legitimise future appointments by the atheist
Communist Party.

Tibetan lama Tubdain Kaizhub, himself a living Buddha and vice-chairman
of Tibet's Political Consultative Conference - an advisory body to the
regional parliament - affirmed the regulations on Monday, China's
official Xinhua news agency reported.

Xinhua quoted Soi'ham Rinzin, a member of the advisory body, as saying
the 14th Dalai Lama ignored religious ritual and historical convention
to unilaterally decide reincarnations, disturbing religious order.

The Dalai Lama, 72, fled into exile in India in 1959 after an abortive
uprising against Communist rule, but remains the single most important
influence in Tibetan life.

Critics say China continues to repress Tibetans' religious aspirations,
especially their veneration for the Dalai Lama, the Nobel Peace Prize
winner whom China denounces as a "separatist".

The rules, which came into force on September 1, bar any Buddhist monk
living outside China from seeking reincarnation for himself or
recognising a "living Buddha".

Reincarnations of about 1000 living Buddhas have been approved in Tibet
and Tibetan populated areas of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan since
1991, according to a government website.

In 1995, the Dalai Lama and China's Communist authorities chose rival
reincarnations of the 10th Panchen Lama, who died in 1989. The Panchen
Lama is the second-highest figure in Tibet's spiritual hierarchy.

The boy anointed by the Dalai Lama, then aged six, swiftly disappeared
from public view, prompting international rights groups to call him the
"world's youngest political prisoner".
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