Rejecting the US’ assertion to select the next Dalai Lama by the Tibetan people, China said its approval is a must for choosing the next successor. Sam Brownback, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF), had hit out at China saying the Tibetan people have the right to choose their own religious leaders.
Brownback visited Dharamshala on October 28 to attend 60th Anniversary event honouring the Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts. “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,” said Brownback. The 84-year-old Dalai Lama has not been in the best of his health in recent times which has renewed speculations over his successor.
Reminded today of the rich history of the Tibetans. They are a beacon of hope for #religiousfreedom for all. They have not only endured but defied attacks by those who sought to revise, restrict, and erase their unique heritage. Today we stand in honor and celebration of them. pic.twitter.com/GdqBwRnYOp— Ambassador Sam Brownback (@IRF_Ambassador) October 28, 2019
Brownback shared his pictures with Dalai Lama on Twitter and in an apparent attack at China’s policy said, the Tibetan people have defied attacks by those who sought to revise, restrict, and erase their unique heritage.
Talking about the exiled leader, Brownback said, “He is living testament of the power of religious freedom to overcome hate, division, and intolerance. I’m stirred in my own faith to work harder for religious freedom for all, including Tibetans.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reacted sharply to Brownback’s comments and said it 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," said Geng.
“China firmly opposes any contact with the Dalai Lama by any foreign official. The words and deeds of a certain US official violate US commitment to recognise Tibet as part of China, and not to support Tibetan independence. China firmly opposes such words and deeds," he added.