The power of Communist apparatchiks should extend to matters of the afterlife.
At least they think so.
Chinese Communist Party leaders are afraid that the Dalai Lama will not have an afterlife. Worried enough that this week, officials repeatedly warned that he must reincarnate, and on their terms.
The 14th Dalai Lama is pushing 80, and the government in Beijing would like to tighten its hold on Tibet when he dies.
Officials have amplified their argument that the Communist government is the proper guardian of the Dalai Lama’s succession through an intricate process of reincarnation that has involved lamas, or senior monks, visiting a sacred lake and divining dreams.
Party functionaries were incensed by the exiled Dalai Lama’s recent speculation that he might end his spiritual lineage and not reincarnate. That would confound the Chinese government’s plans to engineer a succession that would produce a putative 15th Dalai Lama who accepts China’s presence and policies in Tibet.
Zhu Weiqun, a Communist Party official who has long dealt with Tibetan issues, told reporters in Beijing on Wednesday that the Dalai Lama had, essentially, no say over whether he was reincarnated. That was ultimately for the Chinese government to decide, he said.
Funny stuff, especially in a nation whose top ranks are, as the New York Times puts it, “committed to atheism.”
For a solid piece on the reincarnation/succession of the various Dalai Lamas, with much historical context, go here.
(Image via Reddit)