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article imageChina wants a say in the Dalai Lama's reincarnation

By Michael Thomas     Mar 11, 2015 in World
China and the Dalai Lama have historically never seen eye-to-eye on most issues, and a gathering in Beijing now reveals one more thing the two sides can't agree on — the Dalai Lama's reincarnation.
The New York Times reports that China is nervous about the 14th Dalai Lama's spiritual lineage.
Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, recently said that the title of the Dalai Lama may end with him — with no reincarnation.
China, however, sees the whole process differently. Zhu Weiqun, a Communist party member who deals with Tibet, essentially said recently that it's up to China to decide whether or not — and how — the Dalai Lama reincarnates.
"Decision-making power over the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, and over the end or survival of this lineage, resides in the central government of China," Zhu said. He further called the Dalai Lama's attitude "frivolous" and insulting to the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
Presumably, China would like a future 15th Dalai Lama to be more agreeable with China's policies on Tibet, but that may not happen if the search for the next Dalai Lama follows the usual procedure, which involves senior monks (lamas) going on visits to sacred areas and divining dreams.
The whole kerfuffle is somewhat eyebrow-raising considering the Communist party in China is atheist and adheres to Marxist principles. Robert Barnett, a professor of Tibetan studies at Columbia University told the New York Times that China has no role in deciding how the next Dalai Lama is chosen.
"[Gyatso] is reminding the Chinese that, from his perspective and the perspective of probably nearly all Tibetans, the Chinese don’t really have a credible role in deciding these things," Barrett said.
The current Dalai Lama was born in 1935 and at the age of two was found to be a reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. In 1959 he fled Tibet due to a Chinese uprising in Lhasa and has lived in Dharamsala, India ever since.
More about Dalai lama, China, tenzin gyatso
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