China media: Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama lives in exile in India Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Dalai Lama lives in exile in India

Papers highlight a top Chinese official's stern criticism of the Dalai Lama, accusing the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader of "betrayal".

Zhu Weiqun, the head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the national political advisory body, said on Wednesday that the Dalai Lama had committed "dual betrayal" by commenting on reincarnation, reports the Xinhua News Agency.

The 80-year-old spiritual leader has suggested that he may not have a successor, saying it would be better to end on a popular Dalai Lama rather than be replaced by a poor one.

In parallel he has put in place a system for electing a political leader for the Tibetan community in exile.

China, meanwhile, insists it will choose the next Dalai Lama.

"Politically speaking, he has betrayed his homeland… The reincarnation of the Dalai Lama must be approved by the central government," Mr Zhu says, adding that the spiritual leader had also "betrayed Tibetan Buddhism".

Mr Zhu's remarks come after a top Tibetan official on Monday accused the Dalai Lama of "blasphemy".

Agreeing with Mr Zhu, Xiong Kunxin, an expert in ethnic policies at the Minzu University of China, says the central government "could still set out to search for his reincarnation according to Buddhist rules and foster him".

"It's not up to the Dalai Lama to decide whether or not he will have a successor," the pundit tells the Global Times.

Asean chief

Elsewhere, papers criticise Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations) Secretary-General Le Luong Minh after he accused China of "complicating situations" in the South China Sea.

In an interview with Philippine media outlets, Mr Le reportedly said that Asean rejects China's policy asserting its sovereignty in the region.

The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan all have overlapping claims with China in the South China Sea.

China's foreign ministry said Mr Le's remarks were "highly inappropriate".

"One piece of advice for Mr Le is that he should do his job as the secretary-general and strictly abide by the neutral stance that the Asean takes on the South China Sea issue," says Hong Lei, the ministry's spokesperson.

A front-page commentary in the overseas edition of the People's Daily lashes out at Mr Le for being "unreasonable".

"As a secretary-general of an international organisation, he should speak only for the group… He should have some self-respect and abide by international regulations when he speaks," says the article.

"Secretary-General Le is being unreasonable. He is the one who is further complicating the situation in the South China Sea and that will affect the integration of the Asean," it adds.

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