The reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and other grand Living Buddhas has been subjected to approval by the central government since the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), claimed an official white paper issued by the Chinese government here.
“In 1793, after dispelling Gurkha invaders, the Qing government restored order in Tibet and promulgated the Imperially Approved Ordinance for Better Governance of Tibet, improving systems by which the central government-administered Tibet,” the white paper titled ‘Tibet Since 1951: Liberation, Development and Prosperity” said.
The ordinance stipulated that the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and other grand Living Buddhas had to follow the procedure of “drawing lots from the golden urn” and that the selected candidate would be subject to approval by the central government of China, the document said.
The 14th Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 following a Chinese crackdown on an uprising by the local population in Tibet. India granted him political asylum and the Tibetan government-in-exile has been based in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh since then.
The Dalai Lama is 85 years old now and the issue of his successor has gained prominence in the last couple of years due to his advanced age.
The Dalai Lama’s succession issue was in the limelight, especially in the last few years after the US has stepped up campaign that the right relating to the reincarnation of Dalai Lama’s successor should be within the exclusive authority of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people.
Chinese foreign ministry officials have been asserting time and again that while the institution of reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has been in existence for several hundred years, the 14th (present) Dalai Lama himself was found and recognised following religious rituals and historic conventions and his succession was approved by China’s central government.
The white paper said by 2020, a total of 92 reincarnated Living Buddhas had been identified and approved through traditional religious rituals and historical conventions for temples in Tibet. It also questioned the Dalai Lama’s proposals, called “the middle way” for Tibet to continue as part of China with autonomy for the province to run its affairs.
Referring to the talks between Chinese officials and the Dalai Lama representatives for several years, the white paper said the middle way “denies the fact that Tibet has been an integral part of China since ancient times; instead, it claims that Tibet was “an independent state”.
“It seeks to establish a “Greater Tibet” that has never existed at any time in history, claiming that Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu, Qinghai and other areas inhabited by compact communities of both Tibetans and people of other ethnic minorities should be incorporated into a unified administrative region, it said.
It demands “a high degree of autonomy” that is not subject to any constraint whatsoever from the central government, and denies the leadership of the central government and Tibet’s present social and political systems; it proposes to establish an “autonomous government” under which “Tibetans (in truth the Dalai group) take full charge of all affairs other than diplomacy and national defence, it said.
“It (middle way) opposes the central government’s right to garrison troops in Tibet. Despite its superficial agreement that the central government holds the authority over national defence, it demands that the central government “withdraw all Chinese troops” to turn Tibet into an “international zone of peace”, it said.
“The “middle way” does not tally with China’s history, national reality, state Constitution, laws and basic systems. Neither does it conform to Tibet’s history, reality and ethnic relations. Moreover, it runs counter to the fundamental interests of all the people of China, including the Tibetans”, it said. The white paper termed the demand for Tibetan independence as a product of imperialist aggression against China.
In the middle of the 19th century, the UK-led imperialist powers began to cultivate the idea of “Tibet independence,” intentionally undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, it said. It also slammed the Dalai Lama group for promoting “Tibetan independence”.
Over the years, the 14th Dalai Lama and his supporters have continued to try to promote “Tibetan independence” by provoking incidents to jeopardise peace and stability in Tibet, it said. After the failure of their armed rebellion in 1959, “the reactionaries of Tibet’s ruling class fled to India and subsequently began to campaign for “Tibetan independence” by force”, it said.
No country or government in the world has ever acknowledged the “independence of Tibet,” it said. China makes it mandatory to adhere to the ‘One China’ policy, recognising Tibet and Taiwan as an integral part of the country. Beijing has made the ‘One-China’ policy a prerequisite for countries to establish diplomatic ties with it.
About the incidents of over 100 Tibetans setting themselves on fire since 2011 demanding the return of the Dalai Lama from his exile, the white paper said the Dalai Lama and his supporters have incited Tibetan lamas into self-immolations.