China reiterate its final say on Tibetan Buddhist reincarnations in new clergy regulations

His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (Photo courtesy: OHHDL)

(, Feb10’21) – China has on Feb 9 released new regulations on religious clergy which, apart from numerous other provisions, stipulate that the succession of a living Buddha should be carried out under China’s relevant regulations. China’s so-called “living Buddha” refers to a reincarnation of a Tibetan Buddhist master and Beijing has made it clear that the reincarnation of the present Dalai Lama will be someone selected by it, rather than by the latter’s own choice of rebirth, as is the basis of this Buddhist religious tradition.

The new regulations, titled “Measures for the Administration of Religious Personnel,” was released by China’s National Religious Affairs Administration and will be put into force on May 1, reported China’s official Feb 9.

The Administration has said the purpose of the new legislation was to better identify the responsibilities of religious clergies, improve the cultivation of religious talents and protect their legal interests in accordance with laws.

The report cited the release as saying the regulations imposed the following bans on religious personnel: undermine national security and public safety; promote, support or fund religious extremism; split the country; engage in terrorist activities; be manipulated by overseas forces or accept designation from overseas religious groups or institutes, or violate principles on independence from outside.

Catholic bishops in China are required to be approved and ordained by the government-run Bishops Conference of the Catholic Church in China.

“The main purpose (of the regulations) is to strengthen the guidance of religion to maintain social security and stability,” Cao Wei, an expert on history and security studies at Lanzhou University, was quoted as saying.


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