President Trump last week signed legislation termed as the (Tibet) Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020. This determines the official United States policy on succession of Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including the Dalai Lama. It states that determining the successor of the Dalai Lama is solely for Tibetan Buddhists to decide, without interference from the Chinese government. Chinese officials who interfere in the process of selecting Tibetan Buddhist leaders would be subject to sanctions.
The Act also calls for the setting up of a US consulate in Lhasa, which China is unwilling to concede, as it could be the first step in recognizing Tibet as an occupied territory. Indian media, considering Chinese offensive actions in Ladakh, bullying tactics against its smaller neighbours and being the host of the Tibetan government in exile, supported the legislation wholeheartedly. It was also praised by the common Indian on social media sites.
The Chinese spokesperson at its embassy in Delhi, Ji Rong, issued a statement to say: ‘We hope Indian media take an objective and fair stance on issues concerning China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, grasp the highly sensitive nature of Xizang (Tibet)-related issues, look at Xizang’s economic and social progress objectively, do more to help ChinaIndia bilateral relations move forward instead of advocating playing Tibet card to meddle in China’s internal affairs and further damage the bilateral relations.”
This statement was undesirable and unwarranted. China is aware that the determination of the next Dalai Lama is crucial to its hold on Tibet.
In this context the spokesperson added, “the next Dalai Lama will be chosen within Tibet in compliance with Chinese laws and regulations and through a process that will have to be ratified by authorities in Beijing.”
The Chinese have also insisted that the current Dalai Lama and India cannot have any role in this process. The fear of a Tibetan uprising runs high within Beijing.