- Biden appoints Azra Zia as special coordinator for Tibet affairs
- Azra Zia’s grandfather was a freedom fighter in India, has been stationed in Delhi
- Azra Zia to talk to Dalai Lama, report to Biden
America has once again given air to the Tibet issue to burn China. President Joe Biden has appointed Indian-origin diplomat Azra Zia as his Special Coordinator for Tibet Affairs. One is China’s second, American interference in it and thirdly the appointment of an Indian-origin diplomat is sure to make the dragon chilly. An influential group of US Republican and Democratic lawmakers were already pressuring the Biden administration to intervene in the Tibet issue and talk to the Dalai Lama.
What will Azra Jiya do?
Joe Biden has tasked Indian-origin diplomat Azra Zia to advance concrete talks between China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives for an agreement on Tibet. This was demanded a few days ago by an influential group of US lawmakers with two parties. The lawmakers demanded that the US need to create a policy that recognizes Tibet’s distinct political, ethnic, cultural and religious identity. The US Parliament has already enacted the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 on Tibet and the American Policy and Support Act (TPSA) on Tibet of 2020.
Azra’s grandfather was a freedom fighter in India
Zia had told lawmakers during the hearing related to the confirmation of her name for the post that her grandfather was a freedom fighter in India. Jia graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Zia, who was also posted in New Delhi during her diplomatic career, resigned from the Foreign Service in 2018 against the policies of the then US President Donald Trump. She is also the Under Secretary for Civil Defense, Democracy and Human Rights.
China suppressing Tibet’s cultural and religious freedom
China is accused of suppressing cultural and religious freedom in Tibet. However, China denies these allegations. The Tibet issue between the representatives of China and the Dalai Lama has not been discussed in recent years. Chinese President Xi Jinping has adopted a tough policy to increase security controls on Tibet since taking office in 2013. Beijing has been cracking down on Buddhist monks and followers of the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama, despite being exiled from Tibet, remains a major spiritual leader there. China considers the 86-year-old Dalai Lama a separatist.
Two countries face to face over Dalai Lama’s successor
The US and China are already at loggerheads over the selection of the 14th Dalai Lama’s successor. China wants to make someone special as the 15th Dalai Lama, so that its hold on Tibet can be strengthened. Not only this, America has been continuously raising its voice regarding the suppression of Tibetan culture. It has been claimed in many media reports that China has sent Tibetan people to work in different parts of the country as bonded laborers. In such a situation, this latest appointment of America is also likely to deepen the controversy.
China itself wants to choose the next Dalai Lam
China has indicated that China will choose the successor of the Dalai Lama. Seeing these tricks of China, the Dalai Lama has already told that he can choose his own successor, breaking the tradition. The US has already demanded to put this issue in front of international institutions. America and India are already eyeing this whole matter. Last year, US envoy Sam Brownback met the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. After meeting the 84-year-old Dalai Lama, Brownback said the two had a lengthy discussion on the successor.
Why is it important to choose the successor of the Dalai Lama?
Tenzin Gyatso, better known as the 14th Dalai Lama, turned 86 in July this year. Amidst his aging and deteriorating health, there is also a ruckus over the election of the next Dalai Lama. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is considered a living Buddha who is reborn after his death. Traditionally, when a child is chosen to be the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, he or she studies the religion properly to fulfill their role. The current Dalai Lama was identified at the age of two.
Joe Biden, Azra Zia and Xi Jinping