In defiance of the deeply held wishes of the Tibetan people, China's government plans to appoint its own candidate as the next Dalai Lama. The role has historically been filled by identifying the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama after his death. The current (14th) Dalai Lama has made clear that no Chinese appointed Dalai Lama will be the legitimate leader of Tibetan Buddhism.
China already punishes Tibetans for practicing their religion as they choose. Its aim is to force a puppet Dalai Lama on Tibetans to neutralise Tibetan Buddhism's independence and cement its hold on Tibet. It also hopes to undermine worldwide support for the Tibetan cause by introducing to the world a "pro-China Dalai Lama". Interfering in the selection of the Dalai Lama is a political act, a profound insult to the Tibetan people's culture, desires and beliefs and a gross abuse of their religious freedom.
China has done this before. In 1995 China kidnapped a six-year-old boy who had recently been identified as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama (the second most important figure in Tibet Buddhism) and replaced him with their own appointee. Now, in order to further increase their control over every aspect of Tibetans' lives, they intend to do the same with the Dalai Lama.
It is vital that China understands that its plan will fail.
Breaking China's grip on religion in Tibet
We are calling on governments across the world to reject China's plan, support the Tibetan people and ensure that no Chinese-appointed Dalai Lama will be given recognition anywhere in the world. To do this we need supportters to contact their religious leaders and asked them to sign up our statement on religious freedom in Tibet.
To get involved, contact your local religious leaders and ask them to sign up to our statement on religious freedom in Tibet. Whether it is your local church, synagogue or mosque, Buddhist centre or temple, whether you are a regular practioner of religion or just want to get involved, anyone can take part. If we can bring enough religious voices behind our statement, national governments will take notice.
Don't have a religious leader?
If you aren't a person of faith, or don't have a religious leader in your community who can help us, you can still sign our petition for the general public. This petition will be combined with our religious leader statement to make an even stronger message of support for religious freedom in Tibet.