Firing back on the US for saying that China has ‘no right’ to choose next Dalai Lama, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lijian Zhao on November 18 said that “religious freedom” is being used by several US officials including its Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “smear” other nations. Accusing America of turning “blind eye” to the racism prevailing in the nation, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement that Bejing urges Washington to stop taking the same pretext in a bid to interfere with the internal matters of other nations.
“Religious freedom” has become a frequently used pretext for Pompeo&some other US politicians to smear other countries while they turn a blind eye to the long-term, systemic racism in US. We urge them to stop taking this pretext to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. pic.twitter.com/JkbjEU1DXG— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) November 18, 2020
The United States on November 17 said that Beijing has no “theological basis” to pick the next Dalai Lama and asserted that the Tibetan Buddhists have been successfully picking up their own spiritual leaders for several years. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel D Brownback in a conference call with reporters recalled his trip to India when he spoke with the Tibetan community. On China’s involvement in the succession, US diplomat said that “they have no right” to do it.
“I travelled to Dharamshala, India to speak to the Tibetan community that were assembled there in exile and to tell them that the US is opposed to China picking the next Dalai Lama,” said Samuel D Brownback.
“They have no right to do that. They have no theological basis to do that. The Tibetan Buddhists have successfully picked their leader for hundreds of years, if not longer, and they have the right to do that now,” he added.
Brownback also said that the United States supports the religious communities in having the right to choose their own leadership without any intervention of governments. This “certainly” includes the next Dalai Lama, said the US diplomat. This is the reason Brownback cited for US opposing China on the matter and said that it is “completely wrong” for Chinese Communist Party to assert that they have the right.
“That certainly includes the next Dalai Lama. So we’ve pushed back against that. We’re going to continue to push back against that. We think that’s completely wrong of the Chinese Communist Party to assert that they have that right,” he said.
The 14th Dalai Lama, now 85, had fled Tibet back in 1959 following a Chinese clampdown to the local population, and since then he resides in India. Currently, the Tibetan government-in-exile operates from Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. With over 1,60,000 Tibetans living in India.