US Congress rejects China’s assumption of right to decide on Dalai Lama reincarnation

His Holiness the Dalai Lama responding to questions during the press conference for the global launch of SEE Learning in New Delhi, India on April 4, 2019. (Photo courtesy: Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL)

(, Apr11’19) – The United States will only go by the Dalai Lama’s own plan for his succession and will in no way accept China’s claim to determine who his reincarnate is, a key Congressional body that oversees US policy in Asia was reported to have been told on Apr 9.

“Let me be very clear: The United States Congress will never recognize a Dalai Lama that is selected by the Chinese,” Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) was quoted as saying at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Asia Subcommittee of which he is the chairman.

Senator Cory Gardner at the hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy, 9 April 2019. (Photo courtesy:

During an earlier hearing in Dec 2018 also, Gardner had said Congress would reject China’s choice of a Dalai Lama. At that time Laura Stone, a senior official in the State Department, made the point that the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation is “the kind of issue that we are watching very closely and at very senior levels.”

And during the Apr 9 hearing, Gardner has said the US will follow the Dalai Lama’s 2011 statement about his succession, which was stated to have been introduced into the record at the hearing by Bhuchung K Tsering, vice president of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), Washington, DC.

Sens. Edward J Markey (D-Mass.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) were also reported to have spoken in support of the Tibetan people.

It was earlier reported by Reuters that the Dalai Lama had cautioned China against trying to appoint its own next Dalai Lama, saying, “in case you see two Dalai Lamas come, one from here, in free country [India], one chosen by Chinese, then nobody will trust, nobody will respect [the one chosen by China].”

China insists, however, that the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation must follow China’s laws and regulations, citing an imperial legacy of dubious credentials and legitimacy.


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