Global community called upon to reject any Chinese State selected Dalai Lama

[GENEVA] China is accelerating an elaborate strategy to co-opt the reincarnation of one of the world’s best-loved and most deeply revered spiritual leaders, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. 

In a new 30-page report, ‘Tibet, the Dalai Lama, and the Geopolitics of Reincarnation’, [1] researchers found evidence of China’s plans to use the passing of His Holiness as a ‘strategic’ and ‘historic’ opportunity for Beijing to end international support for Tibet.

Two, previously unseen, influential Chinese policy documents reveal an ominous strategy designed to appropriate and control matters at the heart of Tibetan religious identity and target not only the Tibetan people but also the broader international community as a means to “secure authority in Tibet and build influence across the Tibetan Buddhist world.”

A duel of political and religious forces are being mapped out by China and set the stage for an intensifying geopolitical power contest that has largely been overlooked and is linked to Beijing’s elaborate plans to install an imposter Dalai Lama. 

The importance of the 14th Dalai Lama to the future of Tibet is well understood by China’s leadership and these newly discovered papers give a clear insight into the Chinese Communist Party’s anxieties over the ability to maintain stability in Tibet, and the insecurities behind Beijing’s aggressive stance as they double down on oppressive control measures that aim to sinicize Tibet.

One paper states that the Dalai Lama’s passing presents China with an opportunity to “escape its passive situation in communicating on Tibet” [2] another paper states that the reincarnation issue “will be unavoidable but should also be seen as an opportunity” [3] and further acknowledges a possibility that “hostile Western forces will make ever more noise about the ‘Tibet issue’ and the international weight of the Tibet issue is unlikely to lessen because of the passing of the Dalai era.

The report was launched today at a side event of the 51st Session of the UN Human Rights Council, sponsored by the US, and co-sponsored by the UK, Canada, Czech Republic and Lithuania.  Introductory remarks were given by US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, Uzra Zeya, the United Kingdom’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Fiona Bruce, and US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, Michele Taylor, followed by a panel discussion. [4]

Xi Jinping’s hardline strategy toward controlling the Tibetan reincarnation system can also be evidenced in the recent posting of Wang Junzheng as the Tibetan Autonomous Region Party Secretary. Wang is one of a handful of Chinese leaders to be sanctioned by the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union, and Canada [5] linked to his previous role as head of security in East Turkistan (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) where he presided over ‘re education’ camps across the region involving mass arrests, torture, and rape.

Given the Chinese government’s atheist stance it may have been expected that Beijing would attempt to end the institution of the Dalai Lama entirely. However, they have instead developed a strategy to exert control over the Tibetan Buddhist reincarnation system including the insistence that it is the prerogative of China to recognise the next Dalai Lama.

Since invading Tibet China has destroyed thousands of monasteries, burnt religious texts, tortured religious teachers, and forced them to undergo “patriotic re-education” and “hard labour”.

After over 70 years of occupation China continues in its attempt to annihilate Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet by demolishing religious structures, enforcing ideological education on the monks, and unleashing its virulent campaigns against the Dalai Lama labelling him as a “splittist” and a “wolf in monk’s robes”. [6]

Gloria Montgomery of Tibet Justice Center said “China sees this as an end game for Tibet, believing that by imposing their own Dalai Lama candidate they will have completed their ‘sinicization’ plans, and will be a step closer to controlling Tibet and reshaping the Tibetan identity. The international community must urgently take a strong stand against Beijing’s ruthless attack on Tibetans’ right to freedom of religion. Tibetan authority over their own religious practices must be preserved at all costs.”

Lhadon Tethong, Co Chair of International Tibet Network said: “China’s interference in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s succession has far reaching, global implications. Governments’ careful consideration and engagement with the key recommendations in this report could not be more vital.”


Gloria Montgomery, Tibet Advocacy Coalition, +44 (0)7541362001 

Mandie McKeown, International Tibet Network, +44 (0)7748158618


  1. ‘Tibet, the Dalai Lama and the Geopolitics of Reincarnation’, International Tibet Network and Tibet Justice Center, 4 October 2022:
  2. ‘Escaping a predicament: thoughts on the opportunities and considerations for communicating on Tibet in the “post-Dalai era”’, Wang Jiaqua, Xinhua News Agency, 2009:
  3. A study into new changes and countermeasures against Tibet independence splittist activities in the post-Dalai era,” Wang Yanmin, People’s Public Security University of China, 7 April 2017:
  4. The panel was moderated by journalist Barbara Demick, and composed of:
    Kate Saunders, Tibet expert, researcher and report author
    Kalon [Minister] Norzin Dolma,Department of Information and International Relations, Central Tibetan Administration
    Claire Denman, Christian Solidarity Worldwide
    Robert Barnett, Tibet academic
  5. ‘China promotes its most sanctioned official to Tibetan Communist Party chief’, South China Morning Post, 19 October 2021: