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. 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. It is vital that China understands that its plan will fail.
Text of petition:
The People's Republic of China has made clear its intention to appoint its own candidate as Dalai Lama when the current Dalai Lama dies. China has no right to interfere in the affairs of Tibetan Buddhism and its attempts to use the institution of the Dalai Lama for its political ends are unacceptable.
The current, 14th, Dalai Lama has clearly stated that no Dalai Lama appointed through any process other than the one he lays out will be legitimate. He has said
no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the People’s Republic of China.
The selection of the Dalai Lama is of the deepest importance to the Tibetan people and a fundamental issue of religious freedom. A Chinese government-appointed Dalai Lama will not be the leader of Tibetan Buddhism or its legitimate representative in the world.
I call on all religious, political, governmental and international authorities to state clearly their support for the exclusive right of Tibetan Buddhists to appoint the next Dalai Lama and to inform the government of the People's Republic of China that they will not recognise any Dalai Lama it appoints.