How can this work? Can someone simply shed his religious and political power like an old coat he no longer needs? Doesn’t this make Tibet like a Vatican without a pope, a place robbed of its unique identity? These are not only religious questions. The struggle over the legacy of the Dalai Lama has to do with more than the reorientation of a government-in-exile. It involves questions of power and influence in one of the world’s most important and contested regions. It has to do with military bases in Tibet, new transportation routes for consumer goods, the world’s highest railway line, giant deposits of minerals, including zinc, copper and lithium, and the reservoir of water contained in the Himalayas.
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