The Lamas are the leaders of the Tibetan Buddhist sect. Tibetans believe their Lamas are reincarnated from those who have died dating back to the 12th Century. Usually the living Lamas are involved in finding and identifying a new Lama when one passes away. Usually a baby born at the same time or slightly after the old Lama dies is thought to be a candidate.

Now the Chinese government demands to be in control of choosing a new Lama even though they obviously don’t even believe in the religion. The Beijing government issued a 14-part order purporting to regulate the reincarnation of Tibet’s Buddhist leaders. The following are two statements from the order:

“The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid.”… “The process cannot be influenced by any group or individual from outside the country.”

Traditionally the Dalai Lama would be involved in choosing new Lamas. In 1995, the Chinese government seized the Panchen Lama chosen by the Dalai Lama and replaced him with one of their own choosing.

Kate Saunders, spokeswoman for the International Campaign for Tibet, responded to the new government regulations:

“The system of reincarnation is one of the core beliefs of the Tibetan religious tradition. These new measures are nothing less than a violation of one of the fundamental tenets of Tibetan religious life. It is a source of deep resentment among Tibetans that an atheist state has claimed the legitimacy to preside over a centuries-old religious practice.”

Obviously, the Chinese government continues to violate the basic rights of their own citizens and denies them freedom to practice the religion of their choice. This flies in the face of all the promises made to the Olympic committee that they would be more diligent in guaranteeing basic rights in their country.

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