21 November 2022
Dr. Zoe Bedford
Australia Tibet Council
Ph: 0408 262 576 or
Mr Kalsang Tsering
President Tibetan Community Association
Australia, 0447 053 599
Australian Government called upon to reject any Chinese State selected Dalai Lama
That is the message that Tibetans are bringing to Parliament house on Tibet Lobby Day Monday 21 November 2022
What: Tibet Lobby Day 2022
When: 21 November 2022 (all day)
Where: Parliament House
Who: Australia Tibet Council and Tibetan delegates from across Australia will be meeting with over 30 Australian MPs and Senators for Tibet Lobby Day.
China is accelerating an elaborate strategy to co-opt the reincarnation of one of the world’s best-loved and most deeply revered spiritual leaders, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Researchers have found evidence of China’s plans to use the passing of His Holiness as a ‘strategic’ and ‘historic’ opportunity for Beijing to end international support for Tibet. Two, previously unseen, influential Chinese policy documents reveal an ominous strategy designed to appropriate and control matters at the heart of Tibetan religious identity and target not only the Tibetan people but also the broader international community as a means to “secure authority in Tibet and build influence across the Tibetan Buddhist world.”
The importance of the 14th Dalai Lama to the future of Tibet is well understood by China’s leadership and these newly discovered papers give a clear insight into the Chinese Communist Party’s anxieties over the ability to maintain stability in Tibet, and the insecurities behind Beijing’s aggressive stance as they double down on oppressive control measures that aim to sinicize Tibet.
Given the Chinese government’s atheist stance it may have been expected that Beijing would attempt to end the institution of the Dalai Lama entirely. However, they have instead developed a strategy to exert control over the Tibetan Buddhist reincarnation system including the insistence that it is the prerogative of China to recognise the next Dalai Lama.
Since invading Tibet China has destroyed thousands of monasteries, burnt religious texts, tortured religious teachers, and forced them to undergo “patriotic re-education” and “hard labour”.
After over 70 years of occupation China continues in its attempt to annihilate Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet by demolishing religious structures, enforcing ideological education on the monks, and unleashing its virulent campaigns against the Dalai Lama. Yet support for the Dalai Lama in Tibet, amongst Tibetans in exile and across the world has never faltered.
Since the Dalai Lama fled into exile in 1959, the CCP has banned his image. Carrying or possessing a photo of the Dalai Lama brings with it harsh penalties, including imprisonment. The enforcement of the photo ban continues with increased zeal with Tibetan monks and nuns as well as laypeople being arrested and tortured for expressing loyalty to the Dalai Lama in occupied Tibet.
“It is quite galling that the ‘atheist’ Chinese Government has announced Measures of the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism” States Dr Zoe Bedford of the Australia Tibet Council, “they have decreed that all reincarnated lamas must have Chinese government approval. The measures reveal the CCP’s agenda to undermine and supplant the Tibetan religious hierarchy and weaken the authority of legitimate Tibetan religious leaders including the Dalai Lama.”
“His Holiness turned 87 in July this year. To think that the Chinese Communist Government wants to have a say and interfere in the process to identify his reincarnation is not acceptable.” Says Tibetan delegate Tsering Deki “That’s why this Lobby Day, I want to urge the Australian Government to pass a resolution that it will only recognise a Dalai Lama appointed via Tibetan Buddhist traditions and practices, without interference by the Chinese Government.”
Australia has a stake in this issue as the 2021 Census found that Buddhism is a growing religion in Australia with more then 600,000 practitioners. Australia’s constitution also protects freedom of religion and as such should stand against China’s moves to control the next Dalai Lama.
“The Dalai Lama himself has said he could be reincarnated in a “free country” Says Kelsang Tsering, President of the Tibetan Communities of Australia and a delegate on Tibet Lobby Day.
Over 1,000 Australians have signed a pledge “to only recognise a Dalai Lama appointed via Tibetan Buddhist traditions and practices, without interference by the Chinese Government.”
Australia’s Parliamentarians and the Australian Government need to act now, to ensure the Chinese Government understands that Australia also will only recognise a future Dalai Lama appointed by Tibetan Buddhist traditions and practices, without interference by the Chinese Government.
For background information about this issue see the following reports: