From the Criticism of Heaven to the Government of Heaven
In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate.
Far from absurd or totalitarian, as Newsweek and the partisans of a return to Tibet's friendly feudalism would have you believe, this initiative might be regarded as another sign that the PRC is far ahead of the pack in carrying to its utmost consequences the precepts of what Foucault called "governmentality", stripping it of any residuum of transcendence. Chinese officials, after all, have defined their regulation of the Dalai Lama's inscrutable sovereignty as "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation."