Yesterday the Chinese government officially denied that the Karmapa Lama, currently in exile in India, is a Chinese spy. The Karmapa (the third most important figure in Tibetan Buddhism) has been embroiled in controversy this past week after about $1.5 million in foreign currencies were found in his monastery in Dharamsala last Friday. Chinese yuan was among the cash found and subsequently sparked speculation that the Karmapa might be an agent for the Chinese government.
The Karmapa has claimed total innocence in the matter, supposedly because he is not involved with bookkeeping. His spokesperson has denied all accusations of corruption and conspiracy, and has flat out rejected the statement of denial from the Chinese government, saying that they don’t need or want China’s endorsement.
China, on the other hand, complains that the Indian press has been all to eager to foster the rumor (from Global Times):
“The speculation by India’s media, regard-ing the matter of the Karmapa as a Chinese agent or spy, shows that India is keeping its mistrustful attitude toward China.”
Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama spoke on the issue today and has accepted that although simple negligence may have been a factor, there are definite grounds for an investigation:
“Karmapa has many devotees including from China. Some money would have naturally been received by him. There has been some negligence. Better now have a thorough investigation.”
Investigations into the matter will be conducted by at least four different government departments in India and will likely stretch into the coming months.
Watch a presentation given by the Karmapa Lama at TEDIndia in Nov 2009: