Dalai Lama’s heir: Chinese draw red line

Lhasa/ Beijing: The successor of the Dalai Lama has to be decided within China and any interference by India on the issue will impact bilateral ties, Chinese authorities have said. In a first clear assertion on the sensitive issue, senior Chinese officials and experts said the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama must be approved by the Chinese government and the selection should take place within the country based on a 200-year-old historical process.

The Dalai Lama is 84 years old now and the issue of his successor has gained prominence in the last couple of years in the wake of his health issues."The Dalai Lama's reincarnation is not decided by his personal wish or by some group of people living in other countries," Wang Neng Sheng, an official of the rank of vice minister in Tibet, told a small group of Indian journalists in Lhasa. Wang, the director general at the government of Tibet Autonomous Region, said the current Lama was recognised by Beijing and his successor must be found through the "draw of lots in golden urn process" within China.

The 14th Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 following a crackdown on an uprising by the local population in Tibet. India granted him political asylum and the Tibetan government-in exile is based in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh since then.India has maintained its stand on the Dalai Lama.

Wang said the process of selecting the next Dalai Lama must follow two clear steps: "It must be as per draw of lots in the golden urn and the reincarnation must be recognised by the central government".

He said the "centrality" of the central government must be recognised and that any personal move by the current Dalai Lama on the issue is not going to be recognised by Chinese government or religious followers in Tibet.

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