May 23 marked the 70th anniversary of the Seventeen Point Agreement, signed under duress on March 23, 1951 by the delegates of the Dalai Lama after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950.

For the May 23 anniversary, China has published yet another White Paper on Tibet. It uses the Seventeen Point Agreement to claim that the Tibetan delegates acknowledged in 1951 that Tibet had always been part of China. Even if they signed under Chinese pressures, this is a tendentious interpretation of the text.

And the Seventeen Point Agreement also stated that, “The central authorities will not alter the existing political system in Tibet. The central authorities also will not alter the established status, functions, and powers of the Dalai Lama. Officials of various ranks shall hold office as usual.”

Obviously, China did not respect that part of the Agreement.

Apart from repeating well-known historical lies, and painting a propaganda view of how happy and free the Tibetans are under the CCP, the White Paper insists that the officially atheistic Beijing regime should control which lamas should be authorised to reincarnate, and informs us that, “by 2020, 92 reincarnated Living Buddhas had been identified and approved” by the CCP.

The document announces that the next reincarnations of high lamas, including the Dalai Lama, will be selected by the CCP through the “Golden Urn” system. This is a method imposed in 1792 by the Qing Qianlong Emperor (1711–1799) through which the names of the candidates were introduced in a specially forged urn, and a lottery system was used. The system was used only between 1793 and 1825 for roughly half the major reincarnation searches and was heavily criticized because of Chinese manipulation.

In 1936, Nationalist China tried to resurrect the system for its own purposes and the CCP effectively reintroduced it in 2007. Tibetans have long since rejected the system, as in practice it means that the powers that be in Beijing control the reincarnations.

The White Paper tries to prepare the world for the fact that the CCP will pick up its own Dalai Lama when the current one will die, as it did after the 10th Panchen Lama passed away in 1989. As it happened with the Panchen Lama, there will thus be two Dalai Lamas, one recognised by the Tibetan Central Authority in exile and most of the Tibetans, and one by the CCP. As in the case of the Panchen Lama, the false CCP-designated Dalai Lama will not persuade many Tibetans, but will be deployed abroad as an agent of Chinese propaganda.

The democratic world should state by now that no such “Golden Urn” Dalai Lama will be accepted, and that he will be declared persona non grata and prevented from appearing abroad in CCP’s propaganda shows.

This article has been republished with permission from Bitter Winter.

Massimo Introvigne is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new...