Tibet's top official warns Dalai Lama group not to meddle with reincarnation

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The top official of Tibet Chen Quanguo on Saturday warned the exiled Dalai Lama group not to interfere with living Buddhas' reincarnation affairs, a tradition of Tibetan Buddhism that also concerns who will replace the current 14th Dalai Lama, 76, once he dies.

China's State Administration for Religious Affairs in 2007 issued regulations on reincarnation of Tibetan living Buddhas, stating that the selection must adhere to the principle of upholding the national unity and solidarity of all ethnic groups and that the selection process cannot be influenced by any group or individual from outside the country.

The reincarnation should respect the rituals and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism but reincarnated living Buddhas are barred from retaining the old feudal theocratic powers, which have been abolished since Tibet's democratic reforms half a century ago, according to the regulations.

Chen, newly appointed secretary of the Communist Party of China Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region, told a regional congressional meeting held in Lhasa that the authorities in Tibet will continue to protect religious activities, religious venues, and the legitimate rights of religious followers in accordance with the country's laws.

Chen also stressed the importance of building the Tibet Buddhist Theological Institute into an institute that trains well-educated monks and nuns for Tibetan monasteries across the country and explains the doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism in ways that can keep the religion at pace with the times.

The institute, Tibet's only regional-level Buddhist theological academy, opened in the county of Quxu near Lhasa in October. One hundred and fifty people from various sects of Tibetan Buddhism were enrolled to study religion, culture, and law courses as the first batch of students.

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