China accuses Dalai Lama of violating Buddhist traditions

by Isabelle Duerme, AHN, Nov 23, 2007

BEIJING, China --  The Chinese government accused the Dalai Lama of disrespecting Buddhist traditions for saying he may name his successor before he died.

"The reincarnation of the living Buddha is a unique way of succession of Tibetan Buddhism and follows relatively complete religious rituals and historical conventions," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

The Tibetan spiritual leader proclaimed that Tibetans would not accept a spiritual leader selected by China upon his death, a proclamation that incited the anger of the Chinese government.

Jianchao furthered his statement by stressing respect for the reincarnation process.

"The Chinese government respects the religious rituals and historical conventions of the reincarnation of Buddhas and has made that clear in the just promulgated measures on management of reincarnation of Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism," Jianchao said.

This conflict between Tibet and China adds to the already-growing tension between the two regions.

The Dalai Lama, who has been seen as a thorn on China's side for his separatist ideals, has for years fought for the autonomy of Tibet, which China considers a colony, much to the protests of Tibetans.

According to the Independent, the Chinese government has accused the Dalai Lama of fanning the flames of the Tibetan people in their push for independence, causing the Chinese government to prevent him from entering the nation's borders.

In turn, Tibet has accused China of merely awaiting the death of the spiritual leader, with them seeing it as an opportunity to install an appointed successor, further tightening their grip on Tibet.