In 1924, after a dispute between the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government, the Ninth Panchen Lama exited the region for China. After his death in 1937, his officials engaged a search for his successor. Traditionally, the new candidate needed to be confirmed by both the officials and the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama refused and the Panchen Lama’s officials forged an alliance with the GMD and then, after 1949, with the CCP, for whom he became a key ally.
This is an obvious parallel to the current dispute between Beijing and the Dalai Lama’s exile government over the 11th Panchen Lama. See:
Beijing-groomed Buddhists diss Dalai Lama
WW4 Report, March 19, 2008
His Holiness the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet