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December 1: A Chinese official on Monday said that China would never give up the right to decide on the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. China has repeatedly claimed the prerogative despite opposition from the Tibetan exile government, rights groups and the Dalai Lama himself.

Stating it as a step to ensure victory over the anti-separatist struggle, Zhu Weiqun, Chairman of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee, wrote in the state-run Global Times, “The issue has never been purely a religious matter or to do with the Dalai Lama’s individual rights; it is first and foremost an important political matter in Tibet and an important manifestation of the Chinese central government’s sovereignty over Tibet.”

He also added that since the Dalai Lama is the first political leader of Tibet, ‘whoever has the name of Dalai Lama will control political power in Tibet.’ Therefore, China is not giving up in claiming the right to decide the reincarnation, Zhu wrote.

However, Dhundup Dorjee, Secretary of Department of Religion and Culture of the Tibetan exile government said, “Only His Holiness has the prerogative of choosing his successor and such bizarre and one-sided statement does not carry any weight and is baseless.”

The Dalai Lama has always maintained that it is the Tibetan people who will decide whether they need the institution of the Dalai Lama and that he would born in a free country to continue his legacy.

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