Category: NZ Court Documents
In pre-modern Tibet (before the Chinese takeover in 1949-59), there was no clear and unambiguous constitutional or legal framework which governed the recognition of reincarnate lamas. The situation was quite unlike e.g. the controversy in Australia over the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975 or that in the USA over the election of Bush as US President.
In these cases, there were disagreements about the legality or propriety of what happened but both the USA and Australia possessed a formal constitutional framework that specified the rules according to which such decisions should happen. There were no rules of this kind in pre-modern Tibet (the so-called laws of Songtsen Gampo certainly do not constitute a framework of this kind). In addition, while the Tibetan rulers (btsan-po or 'emperors') of the early empire (7th to 9th centuries), such as Songtsen Gampo, may have been rulers of more or less all the Tibetan population of the time, this has not been the case for subsequent Tibetan states, none of which have maintained effective control over more than a part of the Tibetan population.
In addition, various Mongol, Manchu and Chinese rulers (and one should probably add the Dogras and the British, in regard to Ladakh at least) have also exercised jurisdiction to varying degrees and for varying periods of time (the Mongols in the late C13 and early C14, the Manchu Emperors of China intermittently, but particularly in late C18 and early C19).
Affirmation of Professor Geoffrey Samuel.