The Chinese government has to date held nine rounds of talks with the representatives of His Holiness, without any meaningful breakthrough. It is now waiting silently for the passing of His Holiness, after which it will attempt to reintroduce the Golden Urn method of the Manchurian (Qing) Dynasty, to nominate the next Dalai Lama in a manner similar to the archaic nomination of his tenth reincarnation. This, China believes, will solve the Tibetan issue once and for all.
His Holiness' decision of March will certainly disrupt the Chinese government's political strategy, forcing it to amend its policy of rejecting any contact with the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Publicly, the Chinese government says there is no Tibetan issue - only the Dalai Lama issue. Thus, negotiations between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Dalai Lama have always been held between the private envoys of each party. Now that His Holiness has renounced political authority, China has no necessity to negotiate with him and, if it stays true to previous policy, will not negotiate with Dr Lobsang Sangay, the newly elected Kalon Tripa (leader) of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
The CCP has been dominant in previous negotiations with His Holiness and it has used force in its treatment of Tibetans in Tibet. His Holiness has said on several occasions that he still has confidence in the Chinese people but that he has lost his trust in the CCP government. After 50 years of His Holiness living in exile, Tibet still faces the same abysmal situation. Nothing has changed.
His Holiness' statement in March aimed to break the deadlock and promote change. It will trigger more changes, forcing China to review and change its obstinate stance.
Is it really true that there is no Tibetan issue other than the Dalai Lama issue? Obviously, this claim is self-deception on China's part. If the Tibetan issue remains unaddressed, the international community will increase its focus on it. The CCP will continue to face internal disagreements regarding international diplomacy and its political muscle will be weakened.
The political game will then reverse. Incumbent Tibetan political leaders-in-exile will have unprecedented powers and responsibilities, and their initiation of political change will come in only a matter of time. It won't be long before the CCP returns to the table with those Tibetan leaders, even if their negotiations are phony and fruitless. Tibetan exile communities now have an established, progressive democratic system, which will set the trend for future change in Tibet and China.
His Holiness has revealed that he will live for another 37 years in this incarnation. Anyone who knows anything about Buddhism knows the life and death of an enlightened monk is not decided by natural ageing or illness but, failing external accident or misfortune, by the monk himself, as long as the world still needs him. Obviously, His Holiness is competing for time with the CCP. Is it possible the CCP will win?
His Holiness' declaration of September 24 regarding his future reincarnation was another major revelation, which triggered more speculation about the Tibetan issue in the international community, and will doubtlessly have a profound effect on Tibetan culture, Tibetan Buddhism and the future of Sino-Tibetan relations.
His Holiness is an enlightened being in this world, with unequalled wisdom. Since he has indicated clearly how much time will pass before his demise, he will naturally be aware of the Chinese government's potential for political conspiracy. It is fairly unusual for His Holiness to make public declarations twice during a six-month period regarding his political status and reincarnation.
The September 24 statement was firm and strong. It provided a profound insight into changes to come. It was a horn heralding the march of the Bodhisattvas, who may have to resort to force to rescue sentient beings from another, intractable force.
In his statement, His Holiness refuted the Golden Urn method as a valid selection method. The writer of this article had not previously realised it was the product of Manchurian hegemony, rather than a Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Hence, any attempt by the Chinese Central Government to appoint the next Dalai Lama will be historically groundless and illegitimate.
His Holiness expressly stated that, "Reincarnation consists of the reincarnator's own karma and goodwill, as well as his/her personal fate. This process is free from the oppression of external forces."
The message is clear to the world: Tibetans and international Tibetan Buddhist organizations shall neither admit nor accept the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama without the word and sanction of the incumbent incarnation.
His Holiness' two statements this year have further confused the CCP's proposed strategies regarding his reincarnation - shattering its dreams to disrupt and destroy the authentic future Tibetan leadership and impose a planted puppet leader, as they attempted to do with their appointment of a fake Panchen Lama.
Change in China over the next eight years looks set to be beyond comprehension, and various sources have suggested the current Chinese political system will not be able to withstand the challenges of the future.
For the CCP, the only way to eliminate the Tibetan issue is to exterminate Tibetan culture and Tibetan Buddhism, and assimilate Tibetans in terms of culture and identity. It seems the CCP believes that any other path will leave China at large haunted by the Tibetan issue.
Of course, Tibetans have believed in Buddhism for over a thousand years. There is no distinction between believers and non-believers. All have a devout faith intrinsic to being Tibetan, with the only differentiation being between laypersons and monks and nuns. If such a rich and ancient culture should vanish, it would be the most horrific, tragic loss to the rich diversity of global humanity.
There is an old song called Ode to the Republic of China, which was sung by Deng Lijun. It includes the lyric: "As long as the water of the Yangtze and the Yellow River flows on and on, The Republic of China, the Republic of China, will endure aeons long.' How solemn and moving this song is! It was composed during the leadership of Chiang Ching-kuo - a man who insisted the Republic of China would endure. The incumbent Ma Ying-jeou government lacks the spirit to build an enduring China, with security, stability, ethics, wisdom, respect and sustainability.
Was His Holiness' September 24 statement the expression of a strong and far-sighted spirit, looking to sustain the future of the Tibetan people and give them the confidence to continue with their fearless mission to retain their culture and religion? Or did it depict a humble but invincible force?
I felt it did both.
The United Nations for a Free Tibet (UNFFT) works to raise awareness of gross human rights violations committed against Tibetans in their homeland by the Chinese army, which has occupied Tibet for more that 60 years. Our mission is to educate the public and to advocate for an end to the oppression and atrocities brought by the Chinese occupation. With over 35,000 members spread across the globe, we are a strong ally of Tibet. UNFFT is registered in the United States as a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.