The Dalai Lama, in exile from Tibet, has shaken up the government of Mainland China once again. When the 79-year-old Dalai Lama passes away, he's supposed to be reincarnated, and China wants to choose his successor — as a way of affirming control of Tibet. But the religious leader has cast doubt on his own afterlife. In December, he told the BBC, "The Dalai Lama institution will cease one day. These man-made institutions will cease. There is no guarantee that some stupid Dalai Lama won't come next, who will disgrace himself or herself. That would be very sad. So, much better that a centuries-old tradition should cease at the time of a quite popular Dalai Lama."
Yesterday, Chinese officials fired back.
Robert Barnett, who directs the modern Tibetan studies program at Columbia University, has more on the latest dispute about the Dalai Lama's reincarnation.