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China says its approval is 'must' for choosing Dalai Lama's successor

China says its approval is must for choosing Dalai Lamas successor

Beijing: China on Tuesday said its approval is must for choosing the successor to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, rejecting the US' assertion that the next-in-line to Tibet's exiled leader will be selected by the Tibetan people themselves and not by Beijing.

US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, who met the Dalai Lama in Dharmshala on Monday, hit out at what he called China's persecution" of the Tibetan people's faith and said they have the right to choose their own religious leaders.

The role of picking a successor to the Dalai Lama belongs to the Tibetan Buddhist system, the Dalai Lama, and other Tibetan leaders. It does not belong to anybody else, not any government or any entity, Brownback was quoted as saying by Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Brownback made the remarks while speaking at a conference hosted by the Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts in Dharamshala — the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Concerns over the health of 84-year-old Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India following a failed 1959 Tibetan revolt against Chinese rule, have renewed uncertainties over his possible successor after his demise. China claims control over the selection, asserting that the successor to the Dalai Lama has to be endorsed by it.

Asked for his reaction to Brownback's comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media here that the envoy's comments amounted to interference in China's internal affairs.

The 14th Dalai Lama is in political exile who has long been carrying out anti-China activities overseas under the pretext of religion," Geng said.

China firmly opposes any contact with the Dalai Lama by any foreign official. The words and deeds of a certain US official violates US commitment to recognise Tibet as part of China, and not to support Tibetan independence. China firmly opposes such words and deeds," he said.

Geng said the present Dalai Lama who is the 14th in the line of top Tibetan spiritual leaders himself has been approved by the Chinese government. The reincarnation of Living Buddhas as a unique institution of succession in Tibetan Buddhism is governed by fixed rituals and conventions," he said. Agencies

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