China is accusing Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, of violating Buddhist religious tradition after he suggested recently that he might appoint his successor before his death, instead of relying on reincarnation.
China's foreign ministry Thursday said such an arrangement would violate Tibetan religious rituals and historic conventions.
last month, the Dalai Lama said his successor might be chosen by a group of senior monks could be chosen like the Pope, or that he may decide to declare his own successor before he dies.
The Dalai Lama repeated those remarks this week in an interview with a Japanese newspaper (Sankei Shimbun) and said the Tibetan people would not support a Chinese-appointed successor.
China and the Dalai Lama have long argued over the succession and control of Tibet's spiritual leadership. Earlier this year, China issued a regulation that required all reincarnations including the Dalai Lama be approved by the government.
Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking political independence for Tibet. But the exiled spiritual leader says he is only seeking autonomy.
China has ruled Tibet since 1950. At the end of the decade, the Dalai Lama fled the region to live with followers in India.
Since the 1980s, The Dalai Lama has been struggling to negotiate an autonomous status agreement for Tibet.