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The Dalai Lama Card Reappears in Sino-Mongolian Relations

posted Mar 7, 2012, 11:20 AM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Mar 7, 2012, 11:23 AM ]
 

The Jamestown Foundation's China Brief reports on a "quiet series of chess moves involving the Dalai Lama and Mongolia", and the possibility that the Dalai Lama's "next reincarnation is discovered on Mongolian soil". 
 
From March 2, 2012:

By: Alicia Campi

The mid-November 2011 surprise four-day visit to Mongolia of the 14th Dalai Lama reignited simmering Chinese worries about how the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader is using and is being used by its northern neighbor and important mineral trade partner. From China’s perspective, the Dalai Lama’s Mongolian visit, appearing in the guise of a purely private matter to promote his teachings, actually is intertwined with Northeast Asian mineral resources politics as well as interference in Tibetan affairs—thus a deliberate ratcheting up of anti-Chinese sentiment along its borders. From the Dalai Lama’s perspective, who has made eight trips to Mongolia (the last in 2006), that nation increasingly is seen as an answer to how to handle the sticky question of his own succession and how to wrest it from the control of the Chinese Government. For over a year, rumors have persisted inside Mongolia that a new reincarnation might be found among genetically-Tibetan-blooded Mongols in the country’s Gobi provinces. The Dalai Lama reportedly wanted his successor chosen while he is still alive—an impossibility—and that the boy had been selected from among 300 children from Nepal, India, Mongolia and Kalmykia Russia (Undesnii Shuuden, September 15, 2011). Although the Mongolian boy’s name and location were not mentioned, the same newspaper correctly predicted the November visit.


This religious matter has become a significant factor in the diplomatic game Ulaanbaatar is waging to counterbalance Chinese economic monopolization, which has become a contentious and negative issue in domestic politics. At the same time, Mongolian political leaders appear willing to bet that Chinese public unhappiness over their support of the Dalai Lama will not damage their overall bilateral economic relationship. As the nation prepares for its June 2012 parliamentary elections, leaders of both main parties—the Mongolian People’s Party and the Democratic Party—are seizing upon the issue of religious freedom and historical solidarity with the Dalai Lama to project a defiant Mongolian nationalism toward increasing Chinese trade dominance.

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