The United States believes that the decision on picking the next Dalai Lama should be as per Tibet's religious traditions and that it is not a role of the state, a top Trump Administration official has told lawmakers, hinting that it will oppose any move by China to impose its own Dalai Lama.
"The United States has a very clear position that religious decisions should be made within religious organisations and that this isn't the role of the state," Laura Stone, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific and International Cybersecurity Policy during a Congressional hearing.
Stone was responding to a question from Senator Cory Gardner.
"China has said that they will pick the next Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Policy, actually in 2002, mandated that American officials visit Tibet on a regular basis. I want to get into both of these. If China proceeds and tries to impose a Dalai Lama what will the US response be?" the senator had asked.
Gardner said it was clear that this Congress would not recognise a Chinese imposition.
Stone said the senator asking such a question was an important signal in itself to the Chinese government that this was the kind of issue that the United States was watching very closely and at very senior levels.
"I wouldn't want to prejudge exactly how this, a future scenario, would roll out but I would like to lay a marker that that is the clear position of the United States government and, I think, widely supported within the American society, that those are the kinds of decisions that should be made by religious communities on their own and without outside interference," she asserted.
In his remarks, Gardner said the crackdown in the Tibet Autonomous Region was intensifying while Beijing continued to refuse negotiations with the Central Tibetan Administration.
"Human rights defenders are routinely jailed, tortured, and otherwise deprived of liberty. A genuine freedom of speech and assembly are nonexistent. Corruption and abuse of power are rampant. The judicial system is a tool of the state and the party and not an impartial arbiter of legal disputes," he said. -- PTI