Tibet appealing to Western countries over succession of Dalai Lama

The Tibetan government-in-exile is seeking European support on the issue of the succession of the Dalai Lama, reports Intelligence Online (June 6). With the 14th Dalai Lama (b. 1935) getting older, the question of his succession is turning into a crucial concern for the worldwide Tibetan community, which is anxious about keeping the Chinese government away from the process when the time comes. According to Intelligence Online, this was the key issue discussed during the recent European tour (in May) of Penpa Tsering, Chairman of the exiled Central Tibetan Administration. Tsering spoke at length on the subject of reincarnation at every stage of his European tour, including in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France. He would like to see European governments follow in the footsteps of the U.S., where in 2015, Congressional Resolution 337 called “on the United States Government to underscore that government interference in the Tibetan reincarnation process is a violation of the internationally recognized right to religious freedom.”

The 14th Dalai Lama in Antwerpen, Belgium, in 2006 (Yancho Sabev, Wikimedia Commons).

It is known that the Dalai Lama intends to speak on the topic just after his 90th birthday in 2025. While his plans for countering the moves of the Chinese Communist government are not yet known, it seems that support from the U.S. and Europe is deemed necessary for those plans to go ahead. While some officials whom Tsering met remained cautious about supporting a resolution on reincarnation, it should be noted that during the 39th session of the joint Human Rights Dialogue between the European Union and China, held in Chongqing (China) on June 16, the EU “stressed that the selection of religious leaders should happen without any government interference and in respect of religious norms, including in the case of the succession of the Dalai Lama” (EU Press Release, June 17).

(Intelligence Online, https://www.intelligenceonline.com/;,“China: 39th Human Rights Dialogue with the European Union took place in Chongqing,” https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/china-39th-human-rights-dialogue-european-union-took-place-chongqing_en)