Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - China will never give up the right to decide on future reincarnations of the Dalai Lama, said Zhu Weiqun, a leading official of the Chinese Communist Party yesterday speaking to the state run Global Times and attracting criticism from human rights groups and the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile.
The Committee on Ethnic and Religious Affairs reiterated Beijing’s determination to choose the reincarnation "of all living Buddhas, in order to ensure victory in the anti-separatist battle " in Tibet.
To guard against interference from Beijing, the current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has repeatedly stated that the continuity of the title for reincarnation is not automatic nor necessary for the preservation of tradition, saying that he himself may be the last human being to carry this title. According to China, however, the tradition of reincarnation must continue and the Dalai Lama has no right to abandon it.
The reason for this, says Zhu Weiqun, is the problem that "it has never been just about religious matters and not have to deal only with the individual rights of the Dalai Lama. It is first and foremost an important political issue in Tibet and an important manifestation of the sovereignty of the Chinese central government in Tibet".
Given that the Dalai Lama was originally also the political leader of Tibet, Zhu continued, "anyone who has the title of Dalai Lama will have the political power in the region. For this reason, from long ago, the central government has never given up, and will never give up, the right to decide the question of reincarnation of the Dalai Lama".
Tibetan Buddhism is still very deeply felt and practiced in Tibet and the rest of the country, and the figure of the spiritual leader is very popular, though he was forced to go into exile in India in 1959. Since then the Chinese government has been trying to undermine his role and stature, but without success. In a further attempt to control the situation, in 1995 Beijing broke the contiguity between the Dalai and the Panchen Lama ("number two" in the Tibetan lineage) abducting the young child who had been identified as the legitimate XI Panchen by the current Dalai and appointing its own. Moreover, the Communist Government hopes to do the same with the next leader of the "sect of the yellow hats."