Chinese cash seized from the Indian monastery of the top Tibetan
figure has underscored growing tensions between India and China --
and increased feelings of insecurity among the thousands of Tibetans
To his followers around the world, the Tibetan named Ogyen
Trinley Dorje is a "living Buddha" - an icon of purity and
But the discovery of a large stash of cash - some of it in
Chinese currency - at his Indian monastery has fueled suspicion in
India that the Tibetan figure widely considered next in line to the
Dalai Lama is a spy for the Chinese.
The furor has underscored growing tensions between India and
China over border issues and increased feelings of insecurity among
the thousands of exiled Tibetans living in India, where they have
been given asylum, though not citizenship.
On his recent visit to India, Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier,
acknowledged that the longstanding border dispute could "not easily
The neighbors clash intermittently over the north Indian state of
Arunachal Pradesh, part of which is claimed by China as "South
Tibet." In recent months, tensions between India and China have
escalated sharply. In the past, India has been sympathetic to
Tibetans: It gave sanctuary to many Tibetans who fled Tibet with the
Dalai Lama in 1959 after Chinese occupation. Now, as India is
frequently and increasingly riled by reports of Chinese border
incursions, it has begun to respond by strengthening its border
areas to secure the disputed territory.
Suspicious of Tibetans
But while India has long been somewhat wary about China's
territorial claims, Indian authorities appear to be increasingly
suspicious of Tibetan refugees on its side of the border - a group
previously only targeted by the Chinese. Indian police have begun to
step up the number of checks on Buddhist monasteries in and near the
On Jan. 27, Indian police found about $1.4 million in foreign
currency, some of it in Chinese yuan, stashed at the Karmapa Lama
Dorje's monastery in Dharamsala - the acting capital for Tibetans in
exile. The discovery was made during a raid after a large sum of
money was found in a car nearby. At least one of Lama Dorje's aides
has been arrested, and the Indian media has been quick to proclaim
Dorje a Chinese spy.
Who is Dorje?
Dorje is the Karmapa Lama - one of the three most senior figures
in Tibetan Buddhism, along with the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.
He has been viewed widely as the most likely political successor to
the Dalai Lama, who has indicated he is nearing retirement.
Supporters of the Karmapa Lama say the money was actually a
savings of unsolicited donations from the devotees around the world,
some of whom are Chinese Buddhists, and that it was going toward
building a new monastery. …