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Expert: Tibetan "government-in-exile" still a theocratic power

Source: Xinhua | 04-29-2008 11:06

Special Report:   The Dalai Lama
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BEIJING, April 28 (Xinhua) -- The Tibetan "government-in-exile" in fact is still a theocratic power, an integration of church and "state" with the Dalai Lama at the top, according to a senior Tibetologist.

Under its claim of power division, the Tibetan "government-in-exile" sets up its legislative framework (the Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies), executive body (the Kashag), and judiciary (the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission), but the Dalai Lama is still at the top with a firm grip on religious and executive power, said Bi Hua, senior researcher with China Tibetology Research Center.

The nature of its "integration of church and state" remains unchanged, she said. "It's just another medieval church of Europe under the disguise of present-day western democracy."

The Dalai Lama is the holy representative of Tibetan religious worship, however, both the "government-in-exile" and its constitution considers him the top leader, which shows that under the guise of power division and democratic politics, the "government" in fact features strong religious and feudal factors, she said.

"Its ridiculousness is self-evident, as an incarnated Lama who represents holy rule is considered a representative of civil rights and a fighter for democracy," she said.

In the "government-in-exile", both the Speaker of the Assembly and the Kalons (Ministers) in the Kashag are subject to the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is both the "holy" and the "ruler" as he has the final say over resolutions of the Kashag and the Assembly and "government" officials appointment, she said.

The Dalai Lama even has the power to decide the suspension or the dates of the sittings of the Assembly meetings, she added.

The Dalai Lama's supreme power over religion and politics is enshrined in the constitution of the "government-in-exile", which is an important characteristic of its long-held tradition that integrates both politics and religion, said the expert.

The Dalai Lama is a religious figure but meanwhile performs his executive duty as a "head of state". His brothers DamCe Tubdainnorb and brother Dainzin Qoi'gyai are all living buddhas, but are appointed as officials in the "government", she said.

A number of monks also take posts in the "government-in-exile ",she noted, adding that the current Kalon Tripa (Chief Minister of the Cabinet) Samdhong Rinpoche is a living buddha.

The "government-in-exile" wants to secede Tibet from China, aims to restore its rule with political and religious power under the Dalai Lama's control, she said.

Both the 1963 constitution and 1991 amendments admit the supreme status of the Dalai Lama in the "government", said Zhu Xiaoming, a research fellow with China Tibetology Research Center.

The 1991 edition of the constitution merely added such words including "freedom", "democracy" and "peace" from its previous version, but in fact the two Constitutions are fundamentally the same as their spirit is to seek Tibetan independence, he said.

The Dalai Lama's backers' claim to reign over the "Greater Tibet", which covers an area of 2.4 million square kilometers and boasts Tibet, Qinghai and large areas in Sichuan, Xinjiang, Yunnanand Gansu, is groundless and seek the support of anti-China forces, he said.

As an important feature of theocracy, the Dalai Lama also practised cronyism when appointing officials, experts said.

The Dalai Lama's second eldest brother Gyalo Toinzhub held important posts in military, diplomatic and financial departments, Losang Samdain, the third eldest brother, now is in charge of health section, while his younger sister Jezuin Bai'ma is the chief of the education department. His brother-in-law was also "minister of security" 18 years since 1968. And many of relatives have held important posts in his "government."

As a result of theocratic rule, internal faction, religious persecution and assassinations have been rife in the history of his exiled "government." Many monks were expelled from monasteries just for believing in different gods.


Editor:Zhang Ning