China’s ‘absurd’ interference in Tibetan succession


Global political and civil society leaders congratulated Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama (above) as he turned 85 on July 6. The National Endowment for Democracy’s President Carl Gershman addressed a virtual celebration (see below) on Tibet TV here.

But who chooses the next Dalai Lama? Beijing passed a law in 2007 stating reincarnations are “subject to an application for approval.” Last year, a Chinese official said reincarnations “must comply with Chinese laws and regulations,” notes analyst Gordon C. Chang.

“If that sounds absurd, well, frankly, that’s because it is,” said Matteo Mecacci, president of the Washington, DC-based International Campaign for Tibet. “A ghastly joke with horrible consequences,” long-time Tibet activist Maura Moynihan said.

China has a plan to crush the Tibetan diaspora, Chang writes for The National Interest. America’s interests and values coincide with the Tibetan Policy and Support Act. This legislation passed the House with overwhelming approval in January and now is now under consideration in the Senate.

Although forced evictions have been a persistent problem across China, the scale of recent wholesale relocations is reminiscent of long-running coercive settlement, resettlement, or home modernization policies aimed at nomadic and other ethnic minority groups in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Tibet, China Digital Times reports. The resemblance highlights broader concerns over the spread of draconian policies from China’s periphery to the rest of the country. Xinjiang, for example, has been described as a “frontline laboratory” for surveillance and securitization measures.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today held a hearing via webcast on “Religious Freedom in Tibet” with speakers Nury Turkel, commissioner of USCIRF; Tenzin Dorjee, former chair of USCIRF; and Dominic Nardi, supervisory policy analyst at USCIRF.

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