China has no theological basis on which to choose the next Dalai Lama, according to a leading US diplomat, claiming that Tibetan Buddhists have successfully selected their spiritual leader for hundreds of years.
“I went to Dharamshala, India to speak to the Tibetan community in exile there and tell them that the US is against China choosing the next Dalai Lama,” said Ambassador General for International Religious Freedom, Samuel D. Brownback , told reporters Tuesday during a conference call commemorating his visit to India in October.
“You have no right to do so. You have no theological basis for it. The Tibetan Buddhists have successfully chosen their leader for hundreds of years, if not longer, and they have the right to do so now,” he replied to a question.
Samuel D Brownback said the US supports that religious groups have the right to choose their own leadership.
“That will certainly include the next Dalai Lama. So we resisted it. We will continue to oppose it. We think it is completely wrong for the Chinese Communist Party to claim that they have this right,” he said said.
The 14th Dalai Lama, now 85, has lived in India since fleeing Tibet in 1959 after the Chinese put down a local uprising. The Tibetan government in exile operates from Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. Over 1,60,000 Tibetans live in India.
Samuel D. Brownback accused China of having one of the worst, if not the worst, religious persecution in the world. “It won’t help them in the fight against terrorism,” he said, adding that the Chinese are trying to sell to the world that this is an attempt to prevent terrorism, but they will create more terrorists.
“The answer to terrorism doesn’t imprison everyone. The answer to terrorism is freedom of religion, which allows people to practice their beliefs freely, and they won’t fight you as much. If the Chinese weren’t at war with the belief , they would. ” would have a more open society, but they would also have a happier citizenship trying to practice their faith and be left alone and in peace, “he said.
He called on China to end the war against the faith, which will not be successful anyway, but against the Uyghurs, against the Tibetan Buddhists, against the Christian domestic church, against the Catholic Church, against Falun Gong.
“They pursue all faiths. And the big one that we announced today was this effort to really roll back the use of technology to create these virtual police states to persecute religious beliefs. This is something they have done in Tibet that we want to prevent that this is spreading to other parts of the world or more to other parts of the world, “said Samuel D Brownback.