Tibetan leaders convene in Dharamshala and warn the world that the CCP will designate a counterfeit reincarnation of the current Dalai Lama when he will die.
by Massimo Introvigne
On October 5, the 3rd Special General Meeting of the Tibetan people concluded in Dharamshala, India. The meeting was convened by the Kashag, i.e. the Tibetan government in exile, and the Tibetan Parliament in exile. At the center of the meeting was an urgent matter: the CCP’s plan to designate a new false Dalai Lama controlled by Beijing, when the current 14th Dalai Lama, who is 84 and has some health issues, will die.
Bitter Winter has reported in the past about the bizarre Order no. 5 of 2007, a Chinese regulation attributing to the CCP the exclusive right to designate which Buddhist lamas are authorized to reincarnate, to control the process aimed at identifying the reincarnations, and to authenticate reincarnations as genuine. That an atheistic party put itself in charge of reincarnation was easily ridiculed in the West, but the political aim of the measure was deadly serious. Reincarnated lamas occupy the highest hierarchical roles in Tibetan (and Mongolian) Buddhism. The surviving monks who were recognized as reincarnations of deceased high lamas before the Chinese invasion of Tibet are now all old. As they die, one after the other, the CCP wants to select their successors, by identifying the young boys who will be proclaimed as their reincarnations, and educate them to become loyal CCP puppets.
The CCP did this with the 11th Panchen Lama, the highest authority in the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama. The 10th Panchen Lama died in 1989, and in 1995 the current Dalai Lama recognized his reincarnation in a six-year-old boy called Gedhun Choekyi Nyima. The boy was kidnapped by the Chinese and has never been seen since, although both the CCP and the Dalai Lama say he is alive. The CCP then proceeded to recognize 5-year old Gyaincain Norbu, who was groomed to become the CCP-sponsored 11th Panchen Lama and one of the official voices for CCP-loyal Buddhism in China. A counterfeit Panchen Lama, but one touring the world and received as the genuine item by organizations and countries that cannot say no to China.
Since the Panchen Lama controversy of 1995, it became clear that the CCP’s ultimate aim was to install a Dalai Lama of its own after the death of the 14th Dalai Lama. Now, the General Meeting, attended by 340 delegates of the Tibetan diaspora from 24 countries, has warned that the CCP plans are ready, as are Beijing’s fellow travelers around the world. When the current Dalai Lama will die, the CCP will quickly identify a reincarnation of its own choice.
In fact, as the General Meeting noted, efforts are already under way to persuade India, where the current Dalai Lama resides, to accept the 15th Dalai Lama who will be selected by the CCP. Chinese “experts” have already warned the Indian government that, “If the Chinese government recognised the legal [successor] of the Dalai Lama while the Indian government refused to recognise [him], it would be a major political difference that would affect Sino-Indian relations. Since the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is an important issue for China, any friend of China wouldn’t interfere or meddle in this issue with China.” Dr Lobsang Sangay, president of the Central Tibetan Administration in exile, told the General Meeting that “China is continuously threatening India against interfering in the selection of next Dalai Lama. If they can threaten an emerging superpower country like India, then imagine the extent of their authority on other small nations.”
So far, only one country seems determined to resist the Chinese selection of a fake Dalai Lama. In the United States, in September 2019 U.S. Representative James McGovern (D-MA) and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, the Chair and Cochair respectively of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) introduced Tibet Policy and Support Act of 2019 (H.R. 4331 and S.2539), a legislation to update and strengthen the Tibet Policy Act of 2002. The bill states that CCP interference in decisions regarding the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation would amount to violation of the fundamental religious freedoms of Tibetan Buddhists and the Tibetan people. It further calls for sanctions against any Chinese government official who will be complicit in identifying and installing a fake 15th Dalai Lama, and mandates that no American public institution should recognize this CCP-controlled pseudo-reincarnation as the real Dalai Lama.
Other countries and Buddhist institutions, however, may lack the independence and resources to resist China, unless a global public opinion campaign against the CCP’s plan to install a counterfeit 15th Dalai Lama will start now and gain sufficient momentum.