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Dalai Lama says no role for China in picking heir

LAST UPDATED: 3:12 a.m. HST, Jul 1, 2011

DHARMSALA, India (AP) — The Dalai Lama says China's Communist leadership can have no role in deciding who succeeds him as Tibet's religious leader upon his death.

The revered Buddhist monk turns 76 next week and has said the next Dalai Lama will be born in exile. China insists the leader of Tibetan Buddhism will be reincarnated in Chinese-controlled Tibet.

On Friday, he called China's meddling in the issue "a disgrace."

He told The in an interview in Dharmsala, India, he wanted to make clear: "As far as my own rebirth is concerned, the final authority is myself and no one else."

As part of planning for his eventual death, the Dalai Lama gave up his role as Tibet's political leader in favor of an elected exile government in May.

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