Stressing that the Tibetan Buddhists have successfully picked their spiritual leader for hundreds of years, a top US diplomat says China has no theological basis to pick the next Dalai Lama.
Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Samuel D Brownback said, "I travelled to Dharamshala, India to speak to the Tibetan communities that were assembled there in exile and to tell them that the US is opposed to China picking the next Dalai Lama”. that during a conference call during his visit to India in October. In a question asked by the media, he said, "They have no right to do that. They have no theological basis to do that. The Tibetan Buddhists have successfully picked their leader for hundreds of years, if not longer, and they have the right to do that now”.
Samuel D Brownback said the US supports that religious communities have the right to pick their own leadership. “That certainly includes the next Dalai Lama. So we've pushed back against that. We are going to continue to push back against that. We think that is completely wrong of the Chinese Communist Party to assert that they have that right," he said. The 14th Dalai Lama, now 85, has been living in India ever since he fled Tibet in 1959 following a Chinese crackdown on an uprising by the local population. The Tibetan government-in-exile operates from Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. Over 1,60,000 Tibetans live in India. Samuel D Brownback accused China of one of the worst religious persecution situations in the world today, if not the worst.