China has warned the Dalai Lama against interfering in the reincarnation process to select a successor after his death, saying this tradition of Tibetan Buddhism cannot be influenced by any group from abroad.
The warning came from Tibet's top Communist Party boss as tensions prevailed in Tibetan populated areas like Sichuan province where nine Buddhist monks and two nuns have attempted to set themselves on fire, demanding the return of Tibet's spiritual leader Dalai Lama from his exile in India.
Another monk set himself on fire in Nepal two days ago against Chinese rule in Tibet.
Chen Quanguo warned the exiled Dalai Lama group "not to interfere with living Buddhas' reincarnation affairs, a tradition of Tibetan Buddhism that also concerns who will replace the current 14th Dalai Lama, 76, once he dies," the official Xinhua news agency reported last night.
Chen is the newly-appointed secretary of the Communist Party of China Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
China has been insisting that the Dalai Lama does not have a right to choose his successor any way he wants and must follow the historical and religious tradition of reincarnation.
The report noted that China's State Administration for Religious Affairs had issued regulations on reincarnation of Tibetan living Buddhas in 2007.
It stated that the selection must adhere to the principle of upholding the national unity and solidarity of all ethnic groups and that the selection process cannot be influenced by any group or individual from outside the country.The reincarnation should respect the rituals and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism but reincarnated living Buddhas (Monks) are barred from retaining the old feudal theocratic powers, which have been abolished since Tibet's democratic reforms half a century ago, the report said.
The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, has been described by Beijing as a "splititst" seeking to destroy the unity of the country.
In 1995, after the Dalai Lama named a Tibetan boy as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama, the second highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism. However, Beijing put that boy under house arrest and installed another in his place.
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