Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is giving up his political duties as he plans a shift to democracy. But one model he doesn’t want to emulate is the British constitutional monarchy.
“A ceremonial role? I don’t like it, to be like the British sort of queen,” the Dalai Lama told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview.
“Of course, I personally very much admire her. Wonderful. But the system? If you carry some sort of ceremonial head, then you should do something!” he said with a laugh.
“Otherwise, I would just be a figurehead. A statement is written by someone, then I just read? I know the word — a puppet,” he said.
The Dalai Lama, who fled Chinese rule for India in 1959, announced in March that he was giving up his political role and would focus on spiritual duties. Tibetans in exile elected a prime minister in charge of the political side.
The 76-year-old monk said that his delegation of power to an elected leader would reduce problems for his successor, who will be the 15th Dalai Lama.
“By my resignation, I already made the role separate from the political world. So it will be much safer for the next Dalai Lama,” he said in the interview.
In a break with precedent, the Dalai Lama hopes to control the process for the selection of his successor out of fear that China will try to select a replacement who will become a puppet.
The Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, says he accepts Chinese rule and is seeking greater rights for Tibetans, but Beijing accuses him of being a “splittist” bent on dividing the country.