US to oppose China’s move to impose its own Dalai Lama on Tibetans
THE US has hinted that it will oppose any move by China to impose its own Dalai Lama on the Tibetan people as Washington believes that the decision to pick the successor to Tibet's current top Buddhist leader should be as per religious traditions and the state has no role in it.
China has grown increasingly wary about who will succeed the 14th Dalai Lama, who lives in India on exile. The current Dalai Lama, who is 83, was designated by high priests as the next Dalai Lama when he was just 2. According to Tibetan Buddhist tradition, when the current Dalai Lama passes away, he will reincarnate as another person. China has maintained that it has the authority to appoint the successor to the 14th Dalai Lama, who is loyal to Beijing.
Explaining the Trump administration’s stand to lawmakers on Tuesday, Laura Stone, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said, "The United States has a very clear position that decisions, religious decisions, should be made within religious organisations, that this isn't the role of the state.”
Stone was responding to a question from Senator Cory Gardner at the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy. “China has said that they will pick the next Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Policy, actually in 2002, mandated that American officials visit Tibet on a regular basis. I want to get into both of these. If China proceeds and tries to impose a Dalai Lama what will the US response be?” the senator had asked.
Stone said that the senator asking such a question was an important signal in itself to the Chinese government that this was the kind of issue that the US was watching very closely. While Beijing views the Dalai Lama as a separatist who seeks to split Tibet from China, the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate says he only seeks greater rights for Tibetans, including religious freedom and autonomy.