Atheist Beijing dreams of divine authority in reincarnation matter

The China Tibetology Research Center during their so-called “reincarnation convention.” Image: Xu Keyue/Global Times.

By Tsering Choephel

DHARAMSALA, 1 July: The China Tibetology Research Center and the All-China Journalist Association held a joint press conference on Thursday on the so-called “reincarnation convention” in an effort to cement its claim of authority in affairs of the reincarnation of Tibetan lamas.

Zhang Yun, a senior Chinese expert on Xizang affairs said “The reincarnation of the Living Buddhas must be approved by the central government” and that “the successor must be searched within China,” reported the China state-run media the Global Times. 

Zhang also declared the convention of affirming the reincarnation of Tibetan lamas by the Chinese government a historical tradition, the report said. 

Recalling the law – Document No. 5-  enacted in 2007 by Beijing, a set of regulations that mandates reincarnations of Tibetan spiritual lamas to be recognised and approved by the Chinese Communist Party in an attempt to take control over all aspects of Tibetan culture and tradition, 

Zhang said, “Living Buddhas are not allowed to be looked for outside the country.” And added that the 14th Dalai Lama himself should abide by this convention. 

The Dharamsala-based rights group Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has responded to the hypocrisy of the regime calling its policy “a textbook example of ludicrousness.” 

It said “a regime that imprisons and torments Tibetans for merely possessing a photo of the Dalai Lama, whose very founder declared “religion is poison”, has the nerve to assert its authority in selecting the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama.”

The 14th Dalai Lama himself has made it clear on several occasions that his reincarnation will be born in a free world in order to continue the works and visions of the present Dalai Lama, implying the absence of freedom in Tibet under current Chinese rule. 

Sikyong Penpa Tsering, the president of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala has time and again rebuffed the Chinese claim over its authority in appointing or affirming the reincarnation of Tibetan lamas. 

He declared “Communist China professes not to believe in religion, yet it wants to interfere in what is a purely a religious function” adding that “only His Holiness the Dalai Lama can decide on his reincarnation.”

At the convention, the Chinese Tibet expert also counteracted the international exposition of China’s broad sinicization programs of forcing Tibetan children into boarding schools by unwittingly recalling the historical ‘Indian genocide’ in the US and Canada. 

Tibetan children in these boarding schools are barred from learning their own history, language and religion. Education permeated with Beijing’s agenda and Chinese character, what’s happening to Tibetan children is akin to the ‘cultural genocide’ implemented to natives in the US and Canada in the past. 

At the core of the Chinese endeavour to hijack Tibetan Buddhism and its reincarnation tradition lies China’s understanding of the significance of the reincarnation system for Tibetans. And their iron will to fully control it.

Despite their glaring failure in the figure of the Beijing-appointed Panchen Lama and the unanimous call for the long life and return of the exiled 14 Dalai Lama to Tibet by 153 Tibetan self-immolators, the Chinese authority continue to vilify him and persecute religious institutions inside Tibet. 

As significant as the subject of the ‘reincarnation’ of the Dalai Lama is, the issue is only going to breed more trouble for Beijing considering its continued persecutive policies against Tibetans whose relation and devotion to their lama runs deep since centuries.

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