Tibetans beat China in search for the boy-king

For more than five years the Chinese government and the Tibet's exiled leader, the Dalai Lama, have been engaged in a mysterious race to find a boy who had been born somewhere in the mountains or windy plateaus of Tibet. The child is the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, a powerful spiritual figure nearly as revered by Tibetans as the Dalai Lama.

The race ended this weekend, when the Dalai Lama announced from exile in Dharamsala, India, that a six-year-old nomad living in Nagchu, Tibet, was the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. It is a tradition for the Dalai Lama to recognise the Panchen Lama and vice versa. But exiled Tibetans say Peking was carrying out its own search for the boy in an attempt to divide Tibetan loyalties.

On Saturday the Dalai Lama broke from a long retreat for meditation. He was seen consulting three Tibetan oracles. Then he met his exiled cabinet before announcing the discovery. It ends speculation that Tibetan monks had known the boy's whereabouts but were waiting for a chance to spirit him away from China's grasp. The last Panchen Lama, kept under house arrest by the Chinese, died in suspicious circumstances in 1989 after denouncing China's invasion of Tibet and pledging loyalty to the Dalai Lama. Some called him a Chinese puppet but the Dalai Lama referred to him as a freedom-fighter.

With Peking preoccupied with the impending death of the supreme leader, Deng Xiaoping, it is difficult to forecast how the Chinese will respond to the Dalai Lama's recognition of the nomad boy as the Panchen Lama, according to Dharamsala sources. While the search was going on, the Chinese refused to let monks sent by the Dalai Lama search for the Panchen Lama in Tibet. Over the past six months the Chinese have intensified attacks on the "Dalai clique" in exile and have begun purging his followers in Tibet.

If the Chinese were seeking the Panchen Lama's reincarnation, they were handicapped: not only is it up to the Dalai Lama to find the Panchen Lama, but he uses tools unavailable to the average Chinese bureaucrat - dreams, omens and visions. "I have taken upon myself this historical and spiritual task with a strong sense of responsibility. Over the years, I have with great care performed all the necessary religious procedures for this purpose," he said.

"The search and recognition of the Panchen Rinpoche's reincarnation is a religious matter and not political. It is my hope that the Chinese government ...will extend its understanding, co-operation and assistance."

The first test of China's reaction will come soon. Traditionally, it is the Dalai Lama who enthrones the Panchen Lama. But certain traditions have already been stretched. As one Tibet expert said: "This may be the first time in many reincarnations that the Dalai Lama has recognised the Panchen Lama without first having physical contact with him."

Suggested Topics
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
News
A speech made by the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister urging women not to laugh in public in order to preserve morality has sparked a backlash on social media from women posting defiant selfies of themselves laughing at his remarks.
GALLERYWhy are Turkish women having a chuckle at the government's expense?
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP FICO SOLUTION ANALYST

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP FICO SOLUTI...

Data Analyst

£30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...

SAP PROJECT MANAGER

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MAN...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Developer

£50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A unique and rare opport...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star