India-China relations to see a rockier turn with Dalai Lama unveiling US-born reincarnation

The Dalai Lama’s move to anoint the 10th Khalkha has caught Beijing by surprise; experts say the decision is an internal affair of the Dalai Lama-led Tibetan religious order

The Dalai Lama

Tibetans have always zealously guarded their religious hierarchy, something China considers to be its private preserve.

In a recent interview with Japan’s Kyodo News, Penpa Tsering, president of the Tibetan government-in-exile, warned China not to interfere in selecting a successor to the Dalai Lama, the current spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists. “No government should have a role in this spiritual matter and I think it is much wiser for China not to interfere,” he cautioned.

Tsering’s words could well have been prophetic. On March 27, the 14th Dalai Lama, the frail 87-year-old, announced the reincarnation of the third-most-senior Lama or spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and the head of the Gelugpa school in land-locked Mongolia.

The tenth Khalkha, Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoche, was anointed by the Tibetan spiritual head in a ceremony attended by some 600 Mongolians, who travelled to Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh to attend an event that has huge ramifications in this running battle between the Dalai Lama and the Communist Party of China, and for the survival of Tibetan Buddhism.

While India may have no role to play in this decision, Beijing believes that by giving shelter to the Dalai Lama, New Delhi is interfering in Beijing’s internal matters. China openly meddles in all matters related to the Dalai Lama and Tibetans, and an already strained bilateral relationship between India and China may get even bumpier.

“I don’t think the Chinese would be surprised by this decision. His Holiness (the Dalai Lama) has said different things about his successor, including a lady successor, at different times, so it is not for anyone to decide who will be taught the scriptures, other than the head of the order,” Gautam Bambawale, former Indian ambassador to China, told Moneycontrol.

Calling the Dalai Lama’s decision on Monday an ‘ace of spades’, the ex-Indian envoy to Beijing said that neither the Indian government nor the people of India have any role to play in the choice, which is strictly speaking, not tantamount to announcing a successor. “I don’t think there is any reason for either China, the US or any other country to object because it is purely an internal decision of the Tibetan Buddhist order,” he said.

The Dalai Lama believes that he will live up to the biological age of 113 and has no immediate plans to announce his reincarnation as head of the influential Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Communist Party of China has traditionally called him a ‘splittist’ as President Xi Jinping pursues his policy of Sinicisation of Tibet with Beijing abrogating the power of official reincarnations of high lamas of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Yet, at this advanced age, the cancer survivor managed to stump Beijing with his decision to anoint the tenth Khalkha this week.

US-born Lama

According to unofficial reports, the eight-year-old boy, who was born in the US in 2015, was anointed as the Tenth Khalka in a ceremony at Mongolia’s Gandantegchinlen Monastery, the country’s biggest monastery, at the end of February. It was attended by the Abbot of the monastery and the high Lamas of Mongolia.

However, experts state that the eight-year-old was accorded legitimacy after he was declared a reincarnation on March 8, at the culmination of the exercise that the Dalai Lama undertook when he visited Ulan Bator in 2016.

The tenth Khalkha is one of the twin boys named Aguidau and Achiltai Attanmar. He belongs to one of the richest business and political empires in Ulan Bator. The Dalai Lama institution in Dharamshala declined to comment over the real identity of the new Mongolian Tibetan leader as they feel he would be targeted by the Chinese regime.

Sandwiched between allies Russia and China, Mongolia has played a key role in the Dalai Lama Institution — often under intense pressure — as it was the Mongolian King Altan Khan who offered the title of Dalai Lama (Ocean of wisdom) to the third Gelugpa, Lama Sonam Gyatso, who in return conferred the title of `Brahma’, the king of religion, on Khan.

Former Indian ambassador to China Vijay Nambiar believes the nomination of the Khalka is a natural decision. “Given that China has taken unilateral decisions regarding Tibet, the Dalai Lama’s decision is to be expected. It is an essential part of the autonomy of the Tibet religious hierarchy,” he told Moneycontrol.

Nothing to do with New Delhi

Asked if it could lead to worsening of already-strained bilateral relations between India and China, he said that while “it would tighten relations between India and China, New Delhi has nothing to do with this decision, which is an independent one.”

China, Nambiar said, has nominated its own Panchen Lama as the man to succeed the Dalai Lama, “but let us also remember that the Dalai Lama has in the past said that he may not have a successor so let us not see this appointment as necessarily his successor.”

Tibetan exiles have traditionally worried that China might just simply appoint its own successor. In 1995, after the Dalai Lama named a boy in Tibet as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama, the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, China put that boy under house arrest and installed another in his place. Many Tibetans spurn the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama as a fake.

That the Dalai Lama’s decision could have surprised China is being attributed to the fact that Beijing is yet to offer a reaction a full 24 hours after the anointment.

According to a tibetologist, contemporary Tibet shows signs of development.

According to a scholar at the China Tibetology Research Center, the industrialization of Tibet represents Chinese urbanization, and the growth of Tibet and ethnic groups has always been a top priority for the central government.

According to a China Daily piece written by Kelsang Drolma, the central government established a strong base and provided the legal assurance for Tibet’s development by implementing steps for the freedom of social output.

According to the tibetologist, Tibet is currently a communist society where all employees have identical rights and independence in all facets of life.

The Communist Party of China has led the Chinese people, including members of all ethnic groups, in promoting socialist modernization and adopting a modernization path with Chinese characteristics based on the reality of the situation since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, particularly since the launch of reform and opening-up, according to the article.

The development of Tibet has progressed in the right path and over time acquired its own traits. The economic framework of Tibet has experienced a significant change with the long-term backing of the central government and the help of other regions, according to Kelsang Drolma.

The scholar also mentioned how Tibet’s economic foundation is steadily getting better. More than 90% of the population lived as serfs and were subject to extreme economic abuse prior to Tibet’s calm independence in 1951. The Tibetan people were guided by the central government in achieving development through communist industrialization practices, which enabled them to escape destitution and seek high-quality development, in order to improve the situation.

By ensuring that all 74 counties in Tibet, the only contiguous province in China that is plagued by poverty, were lifted out of poverty by the end of 2019, the poverty alleviation program helped the Party realize its promise to leave no one behind on the path to moderate prosperity. According to the story, this also assisted China in achieving its first centennial objective of creating an all-around fairly affluent society.

The Qinghai-Tibet and Sichuan-Tibet roads were built after Tibet was peacefully freed, significantly reducing the distance between Tibet and the rest of the nation. According to Kelsang Drolma in the story, the opening of new schools gave the inhabitants of the region a window into a world of contemporary education.

It further stated that these democratic changes made in the wake of Tibet’s independence contributed to the toppling of the previous order and allowed the Tibetan people to live with respect, practice their freedom of action, and embrace contemporary lifestyles in a communist democratic nation. Today, their requirements are fulfilled and their rights are safeguarded by national laws and rules.

More than 80% of Tibet’s budget is spent on enhancing people’s lives in order to increase the feeling of gain and contentment of the Tibetan people. In actuality, the standard of living for Tibetans has been rising more quickly than the national and central-western averages.

The piece claims that the improvement of healthcare, education, and other areas has particularly enhanced the material and spiritual well-being of the Tibetan people. According to the researcher, Tibetan cultural texts written in the Tibetan script are permitted to be disseminated not only through books and classrooms but also through television and the internet thanks to laws and regulations regarding the protection and development of ethnic languages and scripts included in China’s Constitution.

The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau has the hardest topography and most peculiar species spread in the entire globe. The Tibetan central government has been encouraging environmentally friendly and sustainable growth in order to preserve this beautiful land. According to Kelsang Drolma, it has also started massive environmental protection initiatives, such as converting farmlands into woods and meadows, and given model funding support for Tibet’s green growth.

According to the researcher, Tibet is indeed making significant progress toward modernization that is in tune with nature and adheres to the new Tibet governance policy of the central government, which upholds the Party’s leadership, the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and the system of regional ethnic autonomy while fostering ethnic unity.

Tibet had the longest streak of double-digit GDP development in the nation at the end of 2017, at 24 years. The traditional barriers to industrial development have been removed, green development enabled by industrial empowerment has accelerated, digital industrialization has evolved rapidly, and technological innovations have become a driver of the region’s development as a result of Tibet’s increased focus on high-quality development since 2018, according to Kelsang Drolma.

The scholar went on to say that while Tibet’s development successes were made possible by the cooperation and diligence of all the ethnic groups residing in the independent region, Tibet’s industrialization serves as an excellent illustration of what the Chinese modernization model is capable of.

Who is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism

Dalai Lama, who is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, has appointed a Mongolian monk named Khamba Lama as the head of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia. This move is seen as a strategic move by the Dalai Lama to challenge China’s influence in the region, as Mongolia is a close neighbor and ally of China.

China has long been sensitive to any activities that it perceives as challenging its authority in Tibet, which it considers a part of its territory. The appointment of a Mongolian head of Tibetan Buddhism is likely to be viewed by China as a provocative act, as it could be seen as an attempt to expand the influence of Tibetan Buddhism beyond Tibet and into China’s sphere of influence.

The article also notes that the Dalai Lama has been in exile in India since 1959, and has been a vocal critic of China’s policies in Tibet, including its treatment of Tibetan culture and religion. The Dalai Lama has also been a strong advocate for Tibetan autonomy, which China has consistently opposed.

Overall, the appointment of a Mongolian head of Tibetan Buddhism by the Dalai Lama is likely to be seen as a move that will further strain China’s already tense relations with the Tibetan spiritual leader and his supporters.

Leader of Tibetan diaspora begs China not to select a new Dalai Lama

The present spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, will be replaced, but the president of the Tibetan government-in-exile has cautioned China not to meddle in the process.

In a recent interview with Kyodo News, Penpa Tsering stated that “no government should have any role in this spiritual matter and I think it is much wiser for China (not to interfere),” adding that the 14th Dalai Lama will eventually decide on the successor.

Tsering questioned “how can China have a hand in that” given that the Tibetan government-in-exile has “nothing to do” with the choosing procedure. But he added that he hadn’t “directly” questioned the Dalai Lama about it.

Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, escaped to India in March 1959, shortly after an unsuccessful revolt by Tibetans against China’s rule over the Buddhist area high in the Himalayas. Later, he created an administration in exile in Dharamsala, India.

One of the main points of contention between Tibetans and Beijing, which views the Dalai Lama as a rebel who seeks to split Tibet from China, is who will succeed the 87-year-old spiritual leader. Tibetan Buddhists believe that the chosen replacement will be a rebirth of the spiritual leader.

As part of a heritage left by its rulers, China claims to have the unique power to determine who the reincarnations of Tibetan Buddhist religious leaders, including the Dalai Lama, are.

The Tibetans, however, will not accept a replacement chosen by China, according to the Dalai Lama.

Tsering, who was chosen to serve as the government-in-exile’s second president in 2021, repeated his demand for communication with the administration of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who was recently voted to an unprecedented third term as president.

Tsering also emphasized the significance of the Dalai Lama’s “middle way approach,” which wants a nonviolent settlement of the Tibet problem with the Chinese government by identifying a basis for coexistence.

Through a “17-point agreement,” Tibetans and the Chinese government have been attempting to settle the dispute over Tibet’s position within China since 1951, but little has been accomplished.

Tsering stated that according to his government, Xi’s policy only prioritizes “economic development” and ignores the “aspiration of their own people.”

Tsering continued that it is critical now more than ever to educate the foreign world about Tibet’s past. We modified our strategy because, in light of current Chinese rhetoric, everyone believes that Tibet has been a component of China for a very long time.

Tibet’s Environment at Stake

The natural resources and environment of Tibet have frequently been misused. Peace and tranquillity in the formerly sovereign nation have rapidly deteriorated ever since China’s government conquered Tibet without authorization in the 1950s.

In a world where environmental issues are currently the most threatening, Tibet is also dealing with serious environmental issues, but instead of getting the proper attention, the issues are dismissed as a straightforward territorial conflict.

The world has ignored the environmental degradation that has occurred there as well as the reality that Tibetans lack the rights to even speak out against issues hurting their own land and way of life due to China’s authoritarian rule in Tibet and their depiction of Tibet as a part of themselves. There are serious environmental issues that Tibet will soon have to deal with. Beijing is currently splintering and destroying Tibet’s nature-dependent systems for their own gain, utilising it as a dumping ground and wreaking environmental havoc. According to Tibet Press, China, which currently rules Tibet, views the area as a dump rather than a safe haven and does not give Tibet the resources it needs to safeguard this extremely fragile yet important ecosystem and distinct biome. Through environmental destruction and degradation encouraged by Beijing’s policies, Tibet has been forced to confront the grim truth of climate change. According to reports, major lithium and nuclear (uranium) mines have an impact on the monsoon cycle in addition to having a significant carbon footprint due to hydrocarbon emissions into the atmosphere.

Sikyong Penpa Tsering of the Central Tibetan Administration attended the opening of the oneday seminar organised by Smt. Ruby Mukherjee, the Regional Convenor of Eastern Region III, Core group for Tibetan Cause-India, at the EZCC Hall (Salt Lake-Kolkata). The PRC’s abuse of human rights in Tibet, the destruction of Tibet’s environment (deforestation, illegal mining, dam construction—violation of the right to water), the awarding of the Bharat Ratna to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the veracity of China’s border with India, and the liberation of Kailash Mansarovar were the main topics of the seminar. On January 4, a traditional Bengali dance performance in Sikyong’s reception marked the start of the day-long lecture. The chief guest and other dignitaries on the dais were given ceremonial Tibetan khatags after Smt. Ruby Mukherjee’s introductory remarks. Sikyong Penpa Tsering, the principal guest of the occasion, spoke to the crowd and emphasised the long-standing historical and cultural ties between Tibet and India that date back to the seventh century. In his lecture, he focused on Tibet as a preserver of ancient Indian traditions, emphasising the introduction of Buddhism from India after Tibetan letters were derived from Devanagri.He also informed the audience of China’s violations of Tibetans’ human rights and cultural practises, such as the establishment of colonial boarding schools to keep young Tibetans away from their traditions, the use of a grid-lock system to
restrain Tibetans, the collection of DNA samples and iris scans to track down dissidents inside Tibet, among other alarming issues. Furthermore, “almost 80% of Tibetan youngsters were made to attend colonial-style Chinese boarding schools where they were not taught the Tibetan language or culture but rather were instructed in the Chinese mentality.

Sikyong also criticised China’s aggressive strategy of “consolidating the idea of a single Han national identity,” which tries to eradicate and Sinicize Tibetan identity and has prompted Tibetans inside Tibet to self-immolate as a method of peaceful protest. The PRC’s environmental degradation on the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) in Tibet, which jeopardises Assam and Bangladesh’s water security and could even trigger a natural disaster in these riparian areas, was also brought to their attention. In 2018, muddy water was witnessed pouring from Tibet down the Brahmaputra, which was presumably brought on by upstream construction. To transport water from the Brahmaputra to the parched areas of western China, the Chinese government is building a tunnel more than 1,000 kilometres long.

The tunnel will extend from close to Tsangmo in Tibet to the Taklamakan desert in Xinjiang. For more than 50 years, Chinese activities in Tibet have raised concerns within India’s security establishment. However, a recent development has increased the threat to Indian interests to entirely new heights. China has started a number of large-scale development projects to grow its economy. Now, the Chinese government is said to have started a brand-new project amid the towering peaks of the Tibetan plateau that is extravagant even by China’s lavish standards. China is reportedly working to construct the longest tunnel in the world, a project that might seriously harm the north-eastern provinces of India’s agriculture.

According to media reports, the Chinese government is constructing a 1,000 km long tunnel to transport water from the Brahmaputra to the dry parts of western China. The tunnel will extend from close to Tsangmo in Tibet to the Taklamakan desert in Xinjiang. Two of the largest rivers in the Indian subcontinent, the Brahmaputra and the Indus, originate in Tibet. The Indus River travels through Pakistan before entering the Arabian Sea via northwest India. Before it meets the Bay of Bengal, the Brahmaputra flows through northeastern India and Bangladesh. Both rivers rank among the biggest in the world. The Brahmaputra river’s course has been changed by China for a long time. The Brahmaputra River, which runs through Tibet before passing through the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam on its way to Bangladesh, is known in China as Yarlung Zangbo. In Xinjiang, there is a serious water deficit. China plans to import water from Tibet to help with the water deficit. This makes the tunnel that carries water from Tibet to Xinjiang all the more unique. Building it will cost $147.3 million per kilometre. Through this tube, almost 300 billion gallons of water can be sent annually. The tunnel China is constructing has raised more worries throughout the rest of the world.

Experts have really already issued warnings that this tunnel will obliterate Tibet’s wildlife. A further
risk that the project will enhance is earthquake activity. Such grandiose undertakings have reportedly been attempted in the past, but their outcomes were disastrou


 China’s growth at the dawn of the 21st century was poised to be one based out of global collective values. It was stated that the upcoming years of development would be led by a peaceful Chinese nation, that intended to overturn the global order in favour of the developing world from that of the developed world. However, in a complete opposite, the Chinese rise to the top, seems to be causing significant worry to the developing world more than any it has ever faced in the previous decades. Excessive examples in the Chinese neighbourhood have brought forward the true intensions of the Chinese Communist Party in achieving a hegemonic position in the global world order. A prominent strategy in the process, thus, as seen by the CCP, is to encapsulate many if not all the disputed regions under its own stronghold. Such aspirations however in the Chinese view can only be achieved through Sinicizing regions that have been causing trouble in assimilating into Chinese culture.China’s attempt of Sinicization, in any case, in the Tibetan Buddhist identity is no hidden secret to the world. The billion-strong nation’s wider plan of integration of disputed regions, is based out of a sinister minded plot of Sinicizing regions into its own culture.

Sinicization is known as the process in which non-Chinese communities are forced under the influence of Chinese culture, specifically in the language and their cultures. The Chinese Communist Party has been attempting to declare a successor to the Dalai Lama for years but has been unsuccessful in doing so as well. The succession plans of the 14th Dalai Lama are an integral aspect of China’s approach of integrating the Tibetan region into China. Yet, in recent times, Chinese prospects have seemed to intensify in order to capitalize on an inevitable future where a successor would have to emerge either by the CCP’s directions or through the preaching’s of the Buddhist religion itself.

Recently, two internal documents recovered by Tibetan researcher revealed the extensive plans of the CCP’s to control the reincarnation of the next Dalai Lama. Although the 14th Dalai Lama has made it clear that the reincarnation process would only initiate within the value systems and preaching’s of Buddhism; and any attempt to superficially name a successor by the CCP would remain discredited within Buddhist communities around the world as well as in the Tibetan region. However, China has been reaching out tot other international Buddhist communities through financial investments as well as facilitating renovation of important Buddhist sites and financing construction of monuments with Buddhist linkages.The investments in the regions, specifically in Southeast Asia, which has a majority Buddhist population, has been invariably linked to the multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative.

Yet, for the CCP, the plans on the succession are part of an integral resolution to their Tibetan issue once and for all. The CCP views the next selected Dalai Lama to be a part of their outreach ofquenching the Tibetan question while also curbing the growing animosity within the region by installing a leader of their choice and not through the religious process of Buddhism. This in itself is a significant cause for concern for regions and countries that value human rights and have constantly voiced their worry on the same.

The report published by the International Tibet Network and Tibet Justice Centre in a similar understanding as that discussed above, examined elaborately the Chinese preparations for a ‘Post Dalai Era’. The specific connotation of an era post the 14th Dalai Lama, the report states is adopted in order to convey China’s plan to capitalize on the succession race once the 14th Dalai Lama is no more.

It is quite evident that the CCP is concerting all its efforts to exploit the inevitable passing of the Dalai Lama to cement its stronghold upon the disturbed region. This invariably addresses many issues for the CCP in one go itself. Firstly, it addresses a long-standing debate on who rules over the Tibetan region; China’s legitimacy has always been questioned due to the presence of the Dalai Lama in India. Secondly, it helps the Chinese administration to quell human rights violations in the region by asserting dominance in the region through a self-installed Dalai Lama over the Autonomous Tibetan region. Finally, the succession also has worldwide implications in terms of Chinese hawkish aspirations in and around its neighbourhood.

China’s repeated attempts of human rights violations has been criticized globally and has deterred China’s plans in the Xinjiang region.However, it would not be an over statement to claim that China is willing to use its iron-fisted approach, ignoring global calls for restraint in Tibet, if the situation intensifies due to its succession plans.The ultimate goal of reshaping the Tibetan history is of topmost priority for the CCP as noted by many scholars. This may perhaps be due to various reasons, yet as the official channels of the Chinese Communist party describes it, it is stated thatsuch plans are a part of ‘China’s strategy to achieve long-term social stability’. Of course, the official narrative on the ill-intended Sinicization of the Tibetan culture is veiled through the motive of achieving long-lasting peace; yet it requires no decoding that Tibet is part of a larger plan of encapsulating regions that have been disputed for decades.

In any case, it is important to call out Chinese strategies for what they truly stand to mean; from Xinjiang to Tibet to Taiwan, Chinese intentions are a cause for concern to the world, for the buck shall not stop at Tibet if at all it manages to name the next Dalai Lama based on its self-interest; all the while discrediting the philosophical roots of the Buddhist culture. Hence it is important that vital stakeholder view any Chinese action with caution, for Chinese ploys are at the verge of causing severe instability not only in the Asian continent but also in the western world with its expansionist approach looming large all over the world.

China targeting Tibetan Buddhists since Mao’s Cultural Revolution

Lhasa, Tibet: According to the global think tank, China’s oppression on Buddhists in Taliban is not new, it’s been going on since Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Xi Jinping continued it.

This continued persecution has curtailed the little space available for religious freedom and is contrary to the Chinese government’s claim of religious freedom in Tibet.

According to think tank Global Order, the Chinese Communist Party has employed many methods to eradicate Tibetan Buddhism not only within Tibet but also outside Tibet. “In many locations, Tibetan monasteries have been demolished or restrictions on the number of monks and nuns have been severely increased,” the think tank said.

Earlier this month, media reports had said Chinese authorities in Sichuan province were arresting Tibetan monks and beating them over suspicion that they informed outside people about the destruction of the 99-foot tall Buddha statue in the country’s Luhuo county (Drago).

The Buddha statue in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Region was demolished in December by officials who said the statue had been built too high, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported citing Tibetan sources.

Local monastery monks and other Tibetan residents were forced to witness the destruction, and action experts called part of an ongoing campaign to eradicate Tibet’s distinct national culture and religion, the RFA report said.

Chinese officials so far have arrested 11 monks from Drago’s Gaden Namgyal Ling monastery on suspicion of sending news and photos of the statue’s destruction to contacts outside the region, RFA reported citing a source.

“As of now, we have learned that Lhamo Yangkyi, Tsering Samdrup and four other Tibetans have been arrested for communicating outside Tibet,” RFA quoted the source as saying citing contacts in Drago.

Religious believers in China can not rely on legal or constitutional safeguards of their faith, said Sophie Richardson, China director for New York-based Human Rights Watch after the arrest of monks over-sharing news of statue demolition.

Richardson also said that Beijing in its current phase of “ultranationalist and statist ideology” gives all power to the state, and regards civil society with suspicion and contempt.

‘Will you file a case against Ambedkar?’: Congress ridicules BJP over anti-conversion bill

Reacting to the Karnataka government’s decision to table an anti-conversion bill during the Winter session of the Assembly, Congress MLC CM Ibrahim questioned whether it would file a case against Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. On October 14, 1956, Ambedkar had converted to Buddhism along with lakhs of his followers. Speaking to the media in Belagavi, Ibrahim stressed that conversion cannot be forced and cited the example of former Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board chairman Waseem Rizvi who recently embraced Hinduism.

Congress leader CM Ibrahim remarked, “Conversion can’t be forced. Babasaheb Ambedkar converted to Buddhism. Will you file a case against him? Did he (convert) after taking permission from the Deputy Commissioner? You simply don’t know what conversion is. Now a Muslim has become a Tyagi. This happened because it was his wish. So, should I go outside his house and outrage over why a Muslim has (converted)? If he has gone, let him go”. Congress has vowed to oppose this bill tooth and nail.

#WATCH | Belagavi, Karnataka: Conversion can’t be forced. BR Ambedkar converted to Buddhism, would you file a case against him? (Wasim) Rizvi converted to Tyagi, it’s his wish…, should I go outside his house for this?: Congress MLC CM Ibrahim on anti-conversion bill — ANI (@ANI) December 13, 2021

BJP’s push for anti-conversion law

Interacting with the media on December 12, Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai clarified that this bill was only aimed at preventing religious conversions by inducements. Moreover, he assured that there would be no hindrance to the worship and religious practices of people belonging to any religion. At the same time, Bommai stressed, “The poor and the vulnerable sections of society should not fall for it. Conversions bring problems within the families. So, the bill is being proposed”.

On Monday, Bengaluru Archbishop Peter Machado commented, “I’m sad that CM has stated that he’ll be going ahead with the tabling of the anti-conversion bill and that Christians need not be afraid. It’s a little sarcastic on his part because he knows the dangers we’re going through. A priest was attacked in Belagavi”. He also alleged that Bibles were burnt in the previous two days in north Karnataka.

So far, BJP-ruled governments in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have already passed stringent laws banning forced conversion. For instance, an individual who forcefully marries a girl for the sheer purpose of converting her religion can face a punishment of up to 10 years in jail under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Act. However, the Gujarat government recently faced a setback as the Gujarat HC stayed certain provisions of The Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021. Meanwhile, the Centre has ruled out enacting a nationwide anti-conversion law.


Since modern China came into existence as “Republic of China” in 1912 under its
great leader Sun Yatsen, it has expanded its geographic area to more than double of its original
size. After occupation and assimilation of South Mongolia (1919), Manchuria (1945), East
Turkistan viz. ‘Xinjiang’ (1946-49) and Tibet(1950-51) into the present day “People’s Republic
of China” these regions account for far above two thirds of entire China’s natural resources. Since
Manchuria stands almost completely absorbed, both ethnically as well as linguistically, into
China’s Han identity, the rest of three countries account for only 2.1percent of China’s total
population. As per PRC’s own official demographic accounts the Hans accounts for about 92
percent of Chinese 1.4 billion population today while the remaining 55 ‘nationalities’ account for
little less than 8 percent – all put together.
Going by common human nature, the rulers of China should have been very ‘happy’, ‘content’ and
‘proud’ over such a ‘great achievement’. But still, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and its
supreme leader Xi Jinping find this size of ‘minorities’ in today’s China as too big and too
threatening. For past many years they are going overdrive in crushing and erasing these identities
with the aim of establishing a “strong and united” dominion of “one language, one culture and one
people under a one-party rule”. Recent international alarms over widespread establishment of mass
incarceration and brain washing camps across Xinjiang and ban on teaching of Tibetan language
across Tibet schools were only the initial signs of the new zeal of President Xi and his CPCto
ensure a ‘united’ and ‘homogenous’ society with ‘Chinese socialist characters’.
Latest news about China establishing a vast network of boarding schools in Tibet have raised new
alarms where Tibetan children, as young as four years, are being forced to be admitted and kept
away from their parents and community in order to mold them into Chinese speaking and Chinese
cultured ‘patriotic’ citizens of future China. The latest report, titled “Separated From Their
Families, Hidden From the World : China’s Vast system of Colonial Boarding Schools Inside
Tibet” has been released by Tibet Action Institute, a Dharamshala based intelligence center. This
center’sspecializations includes compiling of information on latest developments from across
Tibet and China. It says that the new policy of Chinese administration in Tibet aims at “forcing
three out of every four Tibetan students into a vast network of colonial boarding schools.” The
state run schools are especially focused on separating Tibetan children from their families and the
Tibetan social environment from the earliest possible age. According to this report about 800
thousand (8 lac) to 900 thousand (9 lac) Tibetan students, aged between six and 18 are already
admitted in these special schools. In many cases the families have been coerced to part with their
four year old children on the promises of ‘good education’.
On 31st October the local Chinese authorities demolished a Tibetan Buddhist school in the Drakgo
(Chinese name ‘Luhuo’) county and all school children, belonging to poor family of villages
around the school, were forced to return to their homes. The school management’s only fault was
that they were parting education in Tibetan language and dunning it privately on people’s
For past seven decades, since China occupied Tibet in 1951, especially after Dalai Lama was
forced to escape to India following a popular uprising of Tibetan people against the Chinese rule
in 1959, bosses of CPC and their official ruling Tibet had a free hand to implement their policies.
But it has been a matter concern for the communist masters of Tibet that Tibetan masses are still
under the influence of Buddhism and Dalai Lama still remains the greatest binding force among
the Tibetan masses. It was in late 1980s, following the latest bout of mass uprisings in Lhasa and
other places across Tibet against the Chinese rule, that the CPC and its United Front Work
Department decided to change their strategy. The new policy focused on controlling Tibetan
Buddhism from within and use it to tame the Tibetan masses. In the Chinese communist system it
is mainly the responsibility of the United Front to deal with all colonized societies and minorities
of China and to keep them under discipline.
Prior to this realization about the Tibetan mind the CPC and Chinese rulers of Tibet have been
working religiously on late Chairman Mao’s maxim that a Tibetan minus his or her faith in religion
would produce a patriotic Chinese citizen. Following this policy most of the Tibetan monasteries
were destroyed and religious practices, even visiting a temple or holding a prayer wheel and beads
was strictly banned among ordinary Tibetans across Tibet for decades. It was following the
adoption of the new policy on religion that such rules about religious practice were made less
rigorous. In 1992 and 1995 the CPC and the United Front sponsored two search teams of Tibetan
Buddhist monks to find out the reincarnations of two prominent late Tibetan Gurus – the Karma
Pa and the Panchen Lama respectively. Each of this search team worked under the command of a
senior communist official.
Later in 2007 the Chinese government introduced a new law, titled ‘Order-5’, in the Chinese
constitution which has placed the process of search and enthronement of every incarnate Tibetan
Lama, termed as ‘Living Buddha’ in Chinese parlance and ‘Tulku’ in the Tibetan system, under
the exclusive domain of the CPC. In practical terms each ‘Living Buddha’ will have to seek written
official permission and approval of the CPC before the process of his birth, search and installation
starts. Under this law China has already declared that the next incarnation of present Dalai Lama
will be the exclusive prerogative of CPC. Since Comrade Xi Jinping took over China’s leadership
he has extended this policy of mind control to the education of Tibetan children also.
In July this year when President Xi made a surprise visit to Tibet to oversee China’s military
preparations along Indian borders and to inaugurate the new Lhasa-Nyingchi section of railway
connecting Chengdu to Lhasa, he instructed the Chinese and Tibetan cadres to pay special attention
to education in Tibet. As the People’s Daily later reported, Xi asked the cadres and officials in
Tibet to “implement the party’s strategy for governing Tibet in the new era and write a new chapter
in long-term stability” of Tibet.
Xi called for the ‘Sinicization’ of Tibetan Buddhism to replace it with ‘Tibetan Buddhism with
socialist character’. In persuasion of Xi’s instructions, all steps are being taken to erase the Tibetan
identity, represented by Tibetan language, culture, education and Buddhism. It is under this context
that the Chinese rulers in Tibet have put new emphasis on controlling the minds of new Tibetan
generation through a new education policy.

Cultural Genocide in Tibet on Rise

China has marked the 70th anniversary of the Chinese invasion of Tibet with a call to adopt the rule of the Communist Party of China (CCP) by learning the Chinese language and culture. Chinese leader Xi Jinping asked Tibetans to learn Mandarin, the official Chinese language and demanded a “new modern socialist” Tibet, as well as the “sinicization” of the Tibetan people

The CCP is committing cultural genocide in the Himalayan region with iron hands. To ensure mass compliance, the CCP has implemented a string of new policies in the supposedly autonomous region. In Tibet, banned activities and practices now include visiting temples and the use of rosary beads, any other religious objects.

According to the Policy Research Group (POREG), Beijing “has appointed special agents in each office and community to report on Tibetan cadres and officials who break these laws.” Any person found to have engaged in any of the banned activities or practices faces “sacking from their government jobs, denial of all special entitlements, and even arrest.”

To eradicate the country’s cultural DNA, the Tibetan language is no longer being taught in schools. Instead, Mandarin is now the new language of instruction. Buddhist monks are also being persecuted and punished for fabricated crimes. According to Human Rights Watch, two monks recently received 17- and 15-year sentences, respectively, simply for arguing with the cadres during the education session.

On 10 December Go Sherab Gyatso, a Tibetan writer and educator, was sentenced to a decade behind bars. His crime? He refused to denounce the Dalai Lama. It should be noted that 10 December was Human Rights Day, a fact that added an extra layer of cruelty to the prison sentence.

China has ruled the Himalayan region since 1951 after its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded and took control of Tibet which it calls a “peaceful liberation”. Human rights activists and analysts believe such moves towards cultural assimilation spell the demise of Tibet’s traditional Buddhist culture.

“Judging by developments in Tibet over the past 70 years, the Tibetans people have no cause for jubilation, as Chinese policies have turned Tibet into an open-air prison with restrictions on all aspects of Tibetan life,” says International Campaign for Tibet, the US-based organisation in a statement. “After 70 years of oppression, the only thing the Tibetan people need peaceful liberation from today is China’s brutality,” the group further added.

Beijing brands the current Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist and instead recognizes the current Panchen Lama, put in place by the Communist Party, as the highest religious figure in Tibet. The Dalai Lama has been a symbol of the struggle of the Tibetan people for freedom, challenging the communist rule of China.

For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), controlling the selection of the next Dalai Lama is critical for the sinicisation of Tibetan Buddhism. The project to sinicise Tibetan Buddhismhas consistently received attention from the top echelons of the party, including President Xi. “Tibetan Buddhism should be guided in adapting to China’s socialist society and should be developed in the Chinese context,” Xi has said last year.

In May this year, China had also issued an official white paper that any successor of the Dalai Lama has to be approved by Beijing. As per White Paper, it would choose the successor to the Dalai Lama through “drawing lots from the golden urn” with the candidate subject to the approval of the Communist Party China (CPC)-ruled central government.

China’s biggest fear is that the Dalai Lama may choose his successor outside Tibet within the Tibetan community in India. If the Dalai Lama finds a successor outside Tibet, the successor that China may appoint will not enjoy legitimacy and the spiritual authority required to exercise effective influence in Tibet.