Dalai Lama’s Reincarnation Makes An Appearance In Coronavirus Spending Bill

By Susan Ferrechio December 23, 2020 | Image Source: Washington Examiner

The 5,500-page coronavirus aid and government funding package Congress plans to pass Monday was just uploaded for review, and it includes hundreds of add-on provisions, including a statement of policy “regarding the succession or reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.”

The provision is a “statement of policy” for the United States aimed at deterring China from attempting to name a successor to the Dalai Lama, which would interfere with Tibetan Buddhism.

The measure is buried in the massive spending and virus aid package that is also loaded up with hundreds of other provisions that will be part of the last bill to pass in the 116th Congress. The Dalai Lama language is part of the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020.

China, according to the provision, “has repeatedly insisted on its role in managing the selection of Tibet’s next spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama,” which violates the international right to religious freedom.

The Chinese government has meddled in the process in the past and has attempted to install a successor decades ago. In March 2019, the Chinese Ministry of Affairs spokesperson “reiterated that the ‘‘reincarnation of living Buddhas including the Dalai Lama must comply with Chinese laws and regulations and follow religious rituals and historical conventions.”

The policy statement embedded in the bill calls for the U.S. to hold Chinese government officials responsible for trying to interfere in picking the next Dalai Lama.

The 14th and current Dalai Lama is 85 years old.

In November 2019, Amitabh Mathur, a retired adviser to the Indian government on Tibetan affairs, explained to NPR why China wants to control succession of the Dalai Lama. “The Dalai Lama’s reincarnation is a civilizational struggle between China and Tibetans over who controls Tibetan Buddhism,” Mathur told NPR. “It’s not merely about one individual. It’s about who truly heads the Tibetans.”

Author: Susan Ferrechio

Source: Washington Examiner: Dalai Lama’s reincarnation makes an appearance in coronavirus spending bill