(TibetanReview.net, Oct08’22) – Tibet currently faces a “critical moment” for the survival of its distinct religious, cultural and linguistic heritage as China remains determined to install its own next Dalai Lama which is central to its campaign to fully absorb Tibet, a US diplomat has said at an event in Geneva on the sideline of the ongoing UN Human Rights Council Oct 2.
“The PRC (People’s Republic of China) views this co-optation as critical to eroding international support for Tibet and completing its forcible ‘Sinicization’ of the six million Tibetans living in the PRC,” the rfa.org Oct 7 quoted Ms Uzra Zeya, the US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, as saying.
The current Dalai Lama has made it clear, in keeping with the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, that his reincarnation could occur only in a territory not under Chinese control so long as the Tibet issue remains unresolved. However, “PRC authorities have shown they are willing to act with cruelty when any succession process falls outside the boundaries of their control,” Zeya has said.
Zeya, who has also been the Joe Biden Administration’s Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights since Jul 2021, has further said. “PRC interference in Tibetan Buddhism extends well beyond PRC borders and has global implications.
“In fact, PRC policies on the succession issue are part of broader efforts to reshape and undermine human rights globally, including through transnational repression and acts targeting the right to freedom of religion or belief.”
She has vowed continued US determination to “call out PRC authorities for their repression against the Tibetan community.”
Besides, she has called on “likeminded governments, civil society, and other stakeholders” in the international community to join US efforts to press for a change in Beijing’s policies in Tibet.”
Zeya has referred to the US Tibet Policy and Support Act of 2020 which makes it official US policy that the Dalai Lama’s succession is a strictly religious matter that can be decided only by the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan community.
China re-asserted a non-existent imperial dynastic authority to select the reincarnations of the current Dalai Lama by holding a webinar on Oct 4, also on the sideline of the UN Human Rights council meeting.
The seminar titled “International Webinar on the Religious Rituals and Historical Customs of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas” had Chinese government scholars saying, “The affairs related to the reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama belong to the domestic affairs of Tibetan Buddhism in China, which must respect the wishes of the Chinese Tibetan Buddhist community and the majority of religious believers, and accept the management of the Chinese government,” noted a eurasiantimes.com report Oct 7.
On the same day, the US Mission in Geneva also hosted a side event titled “The Global Implications of the Dalai Lama’s Succession.” During the event, a report titled “Tibet, the Dalai Lama, and the Geopolitics of Reincarnation,” prepared by a global coalition of Tibet-related non-governmental organizations called International Tibet Network (ITR), was launched.
The report was cosponsored by the US, the UK, Canada, the Czech Republic and Lithuania.
The 32-page ITR report (ITN Reincarnation Report.pdf) points out how China will be using the Dalai Lama’s passing as a “strategic” and “historic” opportunity to firm up its control of the region. Central to the Chinese plan is co-opting the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and naming a pro-Beijing leader in his place.