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China's Communist Party ropes in Dalai Lama's grandniece

November 8, 2009

Saibal Dasgupta
Times of India
November 4, 2009

BEIJING: The Communist Party of China has roped
in a grand-niece of the Dalai Lama and in a
curiously-timed announcement, the official news
agency made it known more than a year after she was accepted into the party.

Deying Drolma, the grand-niece, was made a CPC
member in June last year. And while Deying had
nothing to say against her grand-uncle, the
official Xinhua news agency chose to "break" the
news just before Dalai Lama's scheduled visit to
Arunachal Pradesh this weekend.

China is worried that the spiritual leader's
visit will enhance his influence among Tibetan
Buddhists, making it very difficult for Beijing
to press its claim on Arunachal.

For her part, Deying, in her interview with
Xinhua, said the Dalai Lama was a cousin of her
grandmother Khyi Losel and that she hoped he
would visit his hometown of Qinghai in northwest China.

"The Dalai Lama left his hometown in Qinghai when
he was five and returned only once at the age of
18. He is an old man now. And old people tend to
miss their hometown. I wish he can come back to
have a visit," she said. Deying said her father
had visited the Dalai Lama in India in 1989 and
1993. Her family was still in touch with a
brother of the Dalai Lama who resides in Hong
Kong, she added. The official media also quoted
her as saying that the party membership was a "dream come true".

Deying, who works at a hospital run by the
People's Liberation Army, mentioned Tibet in her
inspiration to join the PLA. "When I was a child,
I often saw PLA doctors who travelled a lot and
underwent great difficulties to relieve herdsmen
in Tibet from diseases. I was touched and decided
to become a PLA soldier ever since."

She said she wrote applications for joining the
CPC on two occasions in 1995 and 1998, but did
not submit them to the PLA. She felt she may not
be accepted because of her "special relationship"
with the Dalai Lama, she said in the interview.
"Last year and this year, I filed two more
applications to the Party as I felt myself a
qualified candidate." The 35-year-old also
recalled her rather emotional entry into the
party. "I'm proud to join the CPC. I had tears in
my eyes when I took the oath. I felt myself the happiest one in the world."
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