Dalai Lama, during his visit to Tawang

Gyangbung Rinpoche, the Abbot of Tawang monastery in Arunachal Pradesh, said that China has no business in choosing the next Dalai Lama.

He said that the Chinese government doesn’t believe in religion and it is a spiritual matter for the Tibetan people.

“The Chinese government does not believe in religion. How can a government that does not believe in religion decide the next Dalai Lama. The succession plan is a matter of religion and faith; it is not a political issue,” Rinpoche was quoted as saying in an interview by PTI.

The head of the Tawang monastery which is the second largest monastery in the world after the Potala Palace in Tibet’s Lhasa, said only the current Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people have the right to decide about the succession of the Tibetan spiritual leader and China has no role to play in the matter.

Rinpoche further said that the Tibetan people would never accept any decision on the issue by China and that Beijing’s attempt to get involved is part of efforts to “capture” the Tibetan heritage and “hold control” over the Tibetan people.

He also hinted that the support for Tibetan people from countries like India is crucial.

“It will be difficult for China to win the hearts of the people of Tibet. China is tightly controlling Tibet. The authorities do not even allow people from outside to meet Tibetans. There are so many restrictions. It is important that countries like India support the Tibetans,” Rinpoche said.

The issue of a successor to the 14th Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile in Dharamshala in India since 1959, gained traction as he turned 86 in July.

China has been insisting that the selection of the next Dalai Lama has to be decided within Chinese territory and that it has to have a say in the matter.

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