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Dalai to decide at 90 on reincarnation, no China say
DHARAMSHALA, India, Sept 24 (AFP) Sep 24, 2011
Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Saturday said he will decide when he is "about 90" whether he should be reincarnated, adding firmly that China should have no say in the matter.

The Dalai Lama made the statement in a 4,200-word document issued after a gathering of leaders of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamshala.

"When I am about 90, I will consult the high lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public, and other concerned people who follow Tibetan Buddhism, and re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not," he said.

"On that basis we will take a decision," he said.

"Apart from the reincarnation recognised through such legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the Peoples Republic of China," he added.

Under Tibetan tradition, monks identify a young boy who shows signs he is a reincarnation of a late leader.

But the Dalai Lama has signalled a willingness to break with custom by choosing a successor before his death or among exiles outside Tibet. He has also said he might be open to electing the next Dalai Lama.

Many predict China will simply appoint its own successor, raising the prospect of two Dalai Lamas -- one recognised by China and the other chosen by exiles or with the blessing of the current Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. He later founded the government in exile in Dharamshala after being offered refuge by India.

China vilifies the Dalai Lama as a "separatist" who incites violence in Tibet, while the Dalai Lama insists his sole focus is a peaceful campaign for greater autonomy for his homeland.

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