While attention shifted to the US Senate, countries in Europe began to speak out against China’s interference in the Dalai Lama’s succession. In Germany, Niels Annen, minister of state at the Federal Foreign Office, responded to a question from Member of Parliament Margarete Bause by saying that, “The Federal Government is of the opinion that religious communities may regulate their affairs autonomously.” Annen added: “This includes the right to determine their religious leaders themselves.”

Earlier, Belgian Foreign Affairs and Defense Minister Philippe Goffin had said, “It is logically up to the Tibetan religious community to designate [the Dalai Lama’s] successor without interference from the temporal authorities.” And Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Stef Blok declared that, “The position of this cabinet is that it is up to the Tibetan religious community itself to appoint a future successor to the Dalai Lama.”