Extracts from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Regular Press Conference
Kyodo News: The Tibetan Policy and Support Act signed into law by the US President touched on the issue of the succession of the Dalai Lama. How does China decide on the reincarnation and the future Dalai Lama? And what is China’s comment on the U.S. signing into law of the relevant Act?
Zhao Lijian: Since you asked about the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, I would like to reiterate China’s position. Reincarnation of living Buddhas, as a unique institution of inheritance in Tibetan Buddhism, comes with a set range of rituals and conventions. The Chinese government implements the policy of freedom of religious belief. The reincarnation system is respected and protected by such legal instruments as Regulations on Religious Affairs and Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas. The institution of reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has been in existence for several hundred years. The 14th Dalai Lama himself was found and recognized following religious rituals and historical conventions, and his succession was approved by the then central government. Therefore, reincarnation of living Buddhas including the Dalai Lama must comply with Chinese laws and regulations and follow religious rituals and historical conventions.
China firmly opposes the U.S. Act on Tibet that you asked about. Tibet-related issues, as part of China’s internal affairs, bear on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and allow no interference by any external forces. The Chinese government is determined to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests. We urge the U.S. side to stop exploiting relevant issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs, and take no actions to implement articles in the Act that target China and hurt China’s interests, so as to avoid further damaging China-US cooperation and long-term development of bilateral relationship.