Why Do the Atheists in Beijing Say They’ve Got the Final Word on the Dalai Lama’s Reincarnation?

The Dalai Lama has been in exile since 1959, but he remains revered in Tibet.
 (Image: Christopher Michel/Flickr)
The Dalai Lama has been in exile since 1959, but he remains revered in Tibet. (Image: Christopher Michel/Flickr)

The Chinese Communist Party’s tensions with the Dalai Lama are nothing new. Now though, it appears that the CCP is afraid that the Dalai Lama won’t reincarnate.

Yes, you read that right, the government, which is inherently antithetical to anything divine and which has persecuted all spiritual and religious movements since it’s inception, is trying to control reincarnation. The 79-year-old Dalai Lama has recently made the public statement that he may be the last Dalai Lama.

The comment caused quite a stir at the annual gathering of China’s leaders in Beijing over what will happen after the Dalai Lama dies, and who succeeds him as Tibetan Buddhism’s leader.

Chinese officials are taking the hardline stance that the Communist government is the rightful guardian of the Dalai Lama’s succession, which has traditionally centered around a process of reincarnation that involves an intricate process with senior monks.

So now, Party officials are upset over the Dalai Lama’s comments because it ruins their plan to hand pick their own 15th Dalai Lama, who would accept China’s dominance and restricting policies in Tibet.

The Dalai Lama as a boy. (Wikipedia Commons)

The Dalai Lama as a boy. (Image: Wikipedia Commons)

Zhu Weiqun, a Communist Party official, told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday that the Dalai Lama has no say over whether he will be reincarnated. Zhu claimed that it was ultimately for the Chinese government to decide: “Decision-making power over the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, and over the end or survival of this lineage, resides in the central government of China.”

Zhu leads the ethnic and religious affairs committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference,  which is an advisory body that meets at the same time as the Legislature, or National People’s Congress. He accused the Dalai Lama of trampling on his own sacred traditions: “In religious terms, this is a betrayal of the succession of Dalai Lamas in Tibetan Buddhism.”

For human rights activists everywhere, these comments are ridiculous.

The Chinese Communist Party has systematically commercialized Tibet, pushed out any resemblance of religious freedom,  and has a history of brutally persecuting anything considered spiritual and outside of its own control. For them to accuse the Dalai Lama of betraying his own religion is absurd. Not to mention the fact that since it’s inception, the Communist Party has been committed to atheism. Every leader from Mao to Xi Jinping have pledged their unwavering loyalty to the Marxist ideology of the Party as their only God.

The Dalai Lama has yet to respond to China’s recent comments, but Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of the Tibetan government currently in exile, derided the CCP’s agitations. “It’s like Fidel Castro saying: ‘I will select the next pope and all the Catholics should follow.’ That is ridiculous,” Sangay told Reuters.

He went onto to say that it’s none of “the Communist Party’s business, mainly because Communism believes in atheism and religion being poisonous.” Tibetan followers have long said that they would never recognize a leader appointed by the Chinese government, and still continue to have faith that the Dalai Lama will reincarnate.

Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of the Tibetan government currently in exile. (Gen Kanai/Flickr)

Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of the Tibetan government currently in exile. (Image: Gen Kanai/Flickr)

 

Why Are Many Garment Workers in Cambodia Getting a Raw Deal?
Model Photo of the Tiananmen Tank Man Emerges, Then Gets Censored