Image: Shutterstock: Richard Majchrzak

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso turns eighty-nine next month. For sixty four years, he has led a non-violent opposition to the illegal annexation of Tibet by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 1959.  Since then, he and a faction of other Tibetans who have fled have spiritually led Tibet in exile from Dharamsala in India.

The reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has been a contentious issue as the Chinese government wants to use a new leader to increase its control over the Tibetan people.  In contrast, the exiled government wishes to use the new Dalai Lama to continue their peaceful opposition.

As of now, both parties have proclaimed that they will pick their own Dalai Lama, which will create competing heads of a religion.

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