by Caroline Nath
World Press Review
Vol. 43 No. 2 Feb.1996 P31
Copyright by World Press Review
Section: REGIONAL REPORT: ASIA/PACIFIC
The Chinese government's heated battle with the Dalai Lama over which
6-year-old boy is the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama [World Press
Review, September] is oven At least for the present.
In a recent ceremony in Lhasa's Johkang Temple, Beijing's choice as the
11th Panchen Lama, the second holiest Tibetan leader after the Dalai Lama,
was officially announced. He is Gyaincain Norbu, a poor boy from Tibet's
northeast. In May, the Dalai Lama, in exile in India, had chosen another
6-year-old boy, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, as the reincarnation of the 10th
Panchen Lama, who died in 1989.
According to the government-owned China Daily, Beijing authorities and
religious representatives have said they will not recognize the Dalai
Lama's choice, which the paper called a "fraud" that "violated the cardinal
principles of Buddhism."
Writing in Hong Kong's independent newsmagazine Asiaweek, Ajay Singh
reports that Beijing authorities claim the right to intervene. He says
Beijing has "produced a pact signed in 1792 between Tibetan monks and Qing
dynasty leaders that says China has the right to pick Tibet's lamas." Tashi
Phuntsok, the spokesperson for the Dalai Lama, was quoted: "We are
outraged. . . . They are politicizing our religious matters."
By putting its own Panchen Lama in place, China hopes to influence the
choice of the next Dalai Lama and thus control Tibetan Buddhism. According
to Himanshu Joshi of the independent Weekend Observer of New Delhi, the
Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama traditionally approve each other's
By CAROLINE NATH