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Sat, Oct

The national flag of Tibet is one of the most recognizable symbols of Tibet’s independent past and Tibetan national identity. However, the flag is banned in Tibet under Chinese rule. Photo: UK Tibet Society

There is something deeply unpleasant about the way China is conducting its foreign policy. After centuries of slumbering, the world’s Rip Van Winkle has awoken, discovered its strength, and is now throwing it around.

A Tibetan in exile praying at the Tsuglagkhang Temple near Dharamsala, India, on Saturday, the day before the vote. Credit Tsering Topgyal/Associated Press

It is often said that the lower the stakes, the more vicious the politics. And so it might be said of the just-concluded campaign for political leader of the Tibetan government in exile, which, given the exalted status of the Dalai Lama, was a bit like voting for the vice president to a sitting president.