Chinese authoritarians now trying to issue rules governing ... reincarnation

It’s probably best not to even try making sense of Beijing’s pronouncements on the 14th Dalai Lama and other Tibetan spiritual leaders: you’ll only make your head hurt. Last week the officially atheist Chinese government’s State Administration for Religious Affairs disclosed plans to enact a new law forbidding the 75-year-old Buddhist deity to be reborn anywhere but on Chinese-controlled soil, and giving final say to Chinese authorities when the time comes to identify his 15th incarnation.

That might seem to pose a dilemma, given the exiled leader’s earlier promise that he will never again be reincarnated in Tibet as long as his homeland remains under China’s heel.