Geneva: Chinese authorities have developed an elaborate public relations strategy to end international support for Tibet after the death of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, which includes installing a puppet leader in his place, according to a new report by the International Tibet Network (ITN), media reports said.
In the 30-page report ITN found evidence of China’s plans to use the Dalai Lama’s passing as a “strategic” and “historic” opportunity to firm up its control of the region, based on two, previously unseen Chinese policy documents, RFA reported.
Central to the plan is China’s intention to co-opt the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and name a pro-Beijing leader in his place, said the report, which was launched at a side event of the 51st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, sponsored by the US and cosponsored by the UK, Canada, Czech Republic and Lithuania.
In one paper, ITN researchers found references to the death of the Dalai Lama as an opportunity for China to “escape its passive situation in communicating on Tibet,” while another states that the reincarnation issue “will be unavoidable but should also be seen as an opportunity” and acknowledges a possibility that the event may lead “hostile Western forces [to] make ever more noise about the ‘Tibet issue.'”
ITN said the two policy documents “reveal an ominous strategy designed to appropriate and control matters at the heart of the Tibetan religious identity,” citing language in the papers which lays out Beijing’s goal to “secure authority in Tibet and build influence across the Tibetan Buddhist world.”
Concerns over the advancing age of the Dalai Lama, now 87, have renewed uncertainties in recent years over his possible successor after he dies, with Beijing claiming the right to name his successor and the Dalai Lama himself saying that any future Dalai Lama will be born outside of China, RFA reported.
Tibetans remain bitter about Chinese intervention in the selection 25 years ago of the Panchen Lama, who died in 1989.
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was recognised on May 14, 1995 at the age of six as the 11th Panchen Lama, the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 10th Panchen Lama.
The recognition by exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama angered Chinese authorities, who three days later took the boy and his family into custody and then installed another boy, Gyaltsen (in Chinese, Gyaincain) Norbu, as their own candidate in his place.
The Panchen Lama installed by Beijing remains unpopular with Tibetans both in exile and at home, RFA reported.