The Chinese government extended its tight control over Tibet by announcing that its State Council will decide who will be selected as the next Dalai Lama. No member of the senior monk group which is known as “living Buddhas” can be involved in the process of identifying a child who will eventually become the Dalai Lama. The new regulations also specify that no one living outside of Tibet can be involved in making the selection — this obviously is directed at the current Dalai Lama.
It is unusual, but not surprising, that an atheist entity, the State Council, will be the deciding force in determining the selection of a religious figure. China continues fearing any action by individuals or private groups that challenge the all encompassing authority of the Chinese government. This is rather sad, given China’s dramatic economic boom. Democracy still lies dormant in China.