Press Releases


Religious freedom in Tibet

The Chinese government is planning to appoint the next Dalai Lama

On the occasion of World Religion Day – this year on January 15 – the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warns that the Chinese government is planning to appoint the successor to the 87-year-old Dalai Lama, in its own interest. “The Chinese government aims to install its own Dalai Lama in the region of Tibet in order to gain even more control over Tibetan Buddhism. This is part of its strategy to Sinicize – and, thus, to force in line – all religions in the country. Germany, Europe, and all other states that uphold religious freedom should make it clear to Xi Jinping that they will not accept any interference by the Chinese state when it comes to appointing the successor of the 14th Dalai Lama,” stated Hanno Schedler, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, in Göttingen on Friday. “Throughout almost seven centuries, China has been trying to break Tibetan Buddhism – by destroying thousands of monasteries, by ruthless indoctrination of nuns and monks, and defamation against the 14th Dalai Lama. However, the Tibetans are still worshipping him. His message of non-violence and religious tolerance stands in stark contrast to the Communist Party of China, which does not approve of any religion outside of its ideology.” The 14th Dalai Lama is one of the best-known political refugees in the world. He fled from Tibet to India in 1959, and he hardly leaves the country any more, due to his age. More than ten years ago, he had stated that he would take care of appointing his successor himself while he is still alive.
The Panchen Lama will play in important role in connection with the appointment of the next Dalai Lama. The current Dalai Lama had made out Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as a reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama, making him the 11th Panchen Lama. “Shortly after, on May 17, 1995 – at the age of six – he was abducted. Since then, there has been no sign of life from the now 33-year-old.” His family was kidnapped as well,” Schedler added. “Together with other like-minded states, Germany should try to ensure that the fate of the Panchen Lama will be clarified.” After his abduction, the Chinese state had appointed a boy named Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama. He serves Beijing as a puppet, to give the impression of religious freedom in the country. The regime will also use him to try and appoint a government-loyal Dalai Lama.
According to a report by the organizations “Tibet Justice Center” and “International Tibet Network”, China’s propaganda is aimed at trying to present the installed Panchen Lama as a representative of Tibetan interests. According to the report, it is getting more and more difficult for young monks to religious education in the remaining monasteries. More and more of them are educated in Chinese schools, as a means of cutting their connection to their own culture and to Buddhist values.