05/20/2011, 00.00
TIBET – CHINA
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Chinese Communist Party fears religious freedom and democracy, says Tibetan leader

by Nirmala Carvalho
Samdhong Rinpoche, the former prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, slams China for its “continuous and repetitive insults against the Dalai Lama and our political system,” which “shows how scared Beijing is about democracy”.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – Democracy and religious freedom “are the biggest threats to the survival of the Chinese Communist Party. This is why Chinese leaders continue to offend Tibet, its new prime minister and the Dalai Lama. They are scared,” said Samdhong Rinpoche, the former prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile as he spoke to AsiaNews. “They are talking about a ‘successor’ to the Dalai Lama as if they could choose him. But they won’t do it.”

The former head of the Tibetan government was replaced a few weeks ago by Lobsang Sangay, who was democratically elected by the Tibetan Diaspora after the Dalai Lama officially announced his retirement from political life and began the process of democratisation of his government, which is based in Dharamsala (India) since he was forced to flee his homeland in 1959.

The former premier also responded to the claims by Padma Choling, president of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) set up by Beijing to run Tibet, that his government is “the only legitimate government elected by Tibetans” since no one recognises the government-in-exile.

In his view, a door is open for talks so long as the Dalai Lama relinquishes claims for “Tibetan independence" and stops participating in separatist activities. However, the TAR chairman, who is Beijing’s puppet, the Dalai Lama's retirement would have limited effects on Tibet. “The Dalai Lama has picked a successor,” he scoffed, “but who he is going to succeed, and from whom” will he take power?

For Rinpoche, “these statements have been repeated for so many years that they do not even deserve a response. There is nothing surprising in Padma Choling’s words. He has to merely obey and read out statements prepared by the Chinese authorities in order to survive.”

China’s “repression is unprecedented and unparalleled and has been going on for the last sixty years, and we are helpless. We can only hope that this behaviour, which is against humanity, will not be sustained. A day will come when the human spirit will be able to be free.”

On the issue of the Dalai Lama’s succession, the former prime minister said, “Tibetans continue to pray that he may have a very long life and be in good health. However, when his earthly journey is completed, we shall have the 15th Dalai Lama and only he can succeed the current one.”

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