Articles

  • Hopeful of an early meeting between Trump, Dalai Lama: Sangay   By Elizabeth Roche (Live Mint) Lobsang Sangay, ‘prime minister’ of the Tibetan government in exile in India, says he is encouraged by US president elect Donald Trump’s recent statement ...
    Posted Jan 2, 2017, 8:36 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • CTA: Tibet Not Part of China but Middle Way Remains Viable Solution   By Central Tibetan Administration  The Central Tibetan Administration on 17th December, launched a report titled ‘Tibet is Not a Part of China but Middle Way Remains a Viable Solution.’ The ...
    Posted Jan 2, 2017, 8:37 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Dr. Tenzin Dorjee appointed new Commissioner of USCIRF   By Tibet.net  Dr Tenzin Dorjee, a renowned Tibetan professor at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), has been appointed as new Commissioner of US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF ...
    Posted Dec 19, 2016, 8:43 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • A Plea to Britain: Don't forget Tibet in your dealings with China   By Sikyong Lobsang Sangay When it comes to its dealings with China, the UK is at a critical juncture. Following the Brexit vote, the debate on Chinese investment in Britain ...
    Posted Nov 4, 2016, 10:06 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Hope Endures When Truth is Upheld   By Sonam Wangdu (Chairman, US-Tibet Committee, New York)  Those who know me know that I have never wavered in my advocacy for an independent Tibet.  But what is not ...
    Posted Sep 26, 2016, 8:56 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Yuthok's Rejoinder to the Noodle Maker   By Jigmie Dorji Yuthok  (Photo: Depon Yuthok Tashi Dhondup and D-Tshap Taring Jigme, Lhasa 1937)  Mr. Gyalo Thondup’s book, The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong, has already been the ...
    Posted Aug 29, 2016, 8:52 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Hollywood's Latest Whitewash: What Dr. Strange's Casting of Tilda Swinton means   By Gelek Badheytsang    If you're not white, chances are when you're watching a movie or a TV series, you'll catch yourself on the lookout for anyone who ...
    Posted May 9, 2016, 8:13 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Entangled China: Not New. Revival.   By Tsewang Norbu (Germany) Second largest economy, only next to USA, China is the rising super power in world order, like it or not. But China's rise is not ...
    Posted May 9, 2016, 7:57 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Shugden issue used to be just a religious one   By Woeser: Author Tsering Woeser uses her blog "Invisible Tibet," together with poetry, historical research, and social media platforms, to give voice to millions of ethnic Tibetans who are denied ...
    Posted Apr 13, 2016, 8:35 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Appeal letter from Shokjang   By Drukar Gyal (a/k/a Shokjang) The following appeal was written by Tibetan blogger Shokjang and translated by International Campaign for Tibet:To the Qinghai Higher People’s Court ...
    Posted Apr 11, 2016, 8:52 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Precious Little Space for Uyghur or Tibetan Grievances   By Elliot Sperling  It’s already been many years since anyone seriously asserted that continuing political liberalization would be the certain result of economic growth in post-Mao China. One ...
    Posted Apr 10, 2016, 8:03 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibet: a victim of India-China conflict   By Tenzin Lhadon  In light of the recent news on one of the write-ups in Hindi journal "Congress Darshan" blamed Nehru for the state of affairs in Kashmir, China ...
    Posted Mar 26, 2016, 7:11 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibetan Democracy and the Freedom Movement   By Lhadon Tethong Many Tibetans around the world are anxiously monitoring the results of the March 20th elections for the Tibetan government in exile. Our democratic system is far from ...
    Posted Mar 23, 2016, 8:35 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Untangling the Kalachakra Fiasco   By Phurbu Rinzin  The Speaker of Tibetan Parliament in exile, who is also one of the Sikyong/Prime Ministerial candidate for the upcoming election allegedly says that he knew Kundun ...
    Posted Mar 23, 2016, 8:29 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibetan Parliamentary Elections in Exile: Glitches and Prospects   By Apa Lhamo The energized debates and intensive discussions among the public seem to have lost their spark after the preliminary elections. What led to this development? Should this be ...
    Posted Mar 22, 2016, 3:49 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Sikyong Candidates on Women's Leadership Courtesy of Canada Tibet Committee Excerpt of interview of Lobsang Sangay and Penpa Tsering conducted by the Canada Tibet Committee. The precise question asked to both candidates was: "How would ...
    Posted Mar 22, 2016, 3:31 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Why I Won't Vote in The Final Sikyong Election   By Choenyi Woser In this year’s election for the post of Sikyong, we have had five candidates. Out of them, Lukar Jam stood for Tibetan independence. The rest of ...
    Posted Mar 17, 2016, 4:01 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Ten Reasons Why Penpa Tsering is Unfit for Sikyong Seat   By Minyak Kunga Tashi and translated by Tensung (Penname) Recently on Khabdha, an online Tibetan news website, an article titled “Ten Reasons for why Hon. Dr. Lobsang Sangay is unfit ...
    Posted Mar 17, 2016, 3:43 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Statement by Kasur Dicki Chhoyang By Kasur Dicki Chhoyang  6 March 2016 On February 28, 2016, I resigned as Kalon of the Central Tibetan Administration so I could participate in the discussions leading up to ...
    Posted Mar 16, 2016, 4:03 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Five Suggestions for Improving the Tibetan Electoral Process   By Tenzin Palkyi With just over a month left until Tibetans queue at voting booths around the world to elect the Sikyong and Members of Parliament, I think it is ...
    Posted Feb 23, 2016, 4:46 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The 'Great Leap Forward' to Impunity   Burying Universal Jurisdiction in Spain and Returning to The Paradigm of Human Rights as "domaine reserve" of StatesBy Jose Elias Esteve Malto Abstract Since the Pinochet case the Spanish ...
    Posted Mar 2, 2016, 6:28 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Primary - Exile Tibetans Elect Their Prime Minister and Members of Parliament   By Tsewang Norbu (Berlin) On October 18, 2015 nearly 54 percent of almost 90,000 registered voters of exile Tibetans have taken part in the preliminary election of the Prime ...
    Posted Feb 22, 2016, 3:23 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Lion and the Tiger, The Big Two in Exile   By Pam Tenzin (alias Doring Tenzin Phuntsok) In Tibetan case, a religious man can take the role of political leadership while the otherwise wouldn’t be possible to a layman ...
    Posted Feb 15, 2016, 4:24 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • China's Dalai Lama: Another Miscalculation?   By Apa Lhamo Although the Communist Party of China officially proclaims its firm adherence to atheism in its ideology, in its promotions and rankings, and in its policies, it also ...
    Posted Feb 15, 2016, 4:07 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Origins of Students for a Free Tibet and Its Bright Future   By John Hocevar I understand there have been some questions around the origins of Students for a Free Tibet (SFT). As one of the founders of the organization and the ...
    Posted Feb 11, 2016, 4:19 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Setting the Record Straight By North America Chithue Candidate Tashi Namgyal I am glad that Tibetan Political Review has come out with an editorial on the North American Chithue race and in particular focused ...
    Posted Feb 4, 2016, 1:03 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tyranny of the Tibetan Majority By Kaysang Our exile system of government claims to be a democracy, but recent events have proven it to be quite the opposite. Yes, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has ...
    Posted Jan 5, 2016, 6:16 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Will Tibetans in Exile Accept ‘Democracy with Tibetan Refugee Characteristics’? Cartoon by Tenzin Dorjee (Tendor) -- Article by Neil Steedman    This article has been written for publication in German in ‘Tibet und Buddhismus’ issue 113/2015, to be distributed on 22nd ...
    Posted Dec 1, 2015, 6:00 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • An Open Letter by 52 Individual Tibetans to the Election Commission of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile   An open letter to the Election Commission of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile by 52 individual Tibetans living in various countries, including US, Switzerland, France, Nepal, Belgium and India. The ...
    Posted Nov 29, 2015, 7:53 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Open Letter from TNC to Election Commission, 20 Nov. 2015 [Tibetan version below] November 20th, 2015 Dear Mr. Chief Election Commissioner Sonam Choephel Shosur la: As you know, on August 26, 2015, I wrote to the Election Commission (EC) on ...
    Posted Dec 1, 2015, 5:46 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
Showing posts 1 - 30 of 835. View more »

Hopeful of an early meeting between Trump, Dalai Lama: Sangay

posted Jan 2, 2017, 8:36 AM by The Tibetan Political Review

 
By Elizabeth Roche (Live Mint)


 Lobsang Sangay, ‘prime minister’ of the Tibetan government in exile in India, says he is encouraged by US president elect Donald Trump’s recent statement that his administration does not need to be bound by the One China policy.

Sangay is also hopeful of an early meeting between Trump and the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Sangay was of the view India should also make Tibet as issue for talks with China given that China already considers it a “core” issue with India. On the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, Sangay said the institution of the Dalai Lama would not end but continue after the eventual passing of the 14th Dalai Lama. Edited excerpts from an interview.

The “Middle path” (autonomy for Tibet rather than independence) that the Dalai Lama and you have been advocating seems to be yielding no returns. Is there a chance of a rethink on this?

No. I think, if China grows strong and it’s growing stronger, China needs to think. If they really want to be respected in the international community, you have to earn that respect. And with all the money and military power you cannot buy or force respect, you have to earn it by demonstrating an action and solving the issue of Tibet will earn that respect for them. There is an argument on the Chinese side that if you are weak and you give concession, others will take advantage. Now they are strong. If they give concessions, they will be giving concession from the space of strength.

US president-elect Donald Trump recently said the new administration does not need to be bound by the One China policy. The context was with reference to Taiwan. But does this give you hope as well?

That was a very bold commentary coming from president-elect Donald Trump. We do think that boldness with substance is the right approach with the Chinese government. It looks now that his team has done research on Taiwan, that what he said was deliberate, after substantive research. Similarly, we would appreciate if he would also do something similar for Tibetan people. US presidents George W Bush and Barrack Obama have met his Holiness the Dalai Lama four times each. We remain hopeful that Donald Trump will support the Middle Way approach and meet His Holiness and strongly encourage that the envoys of His Holiness meet with Chinese envoys to resolve this issue of Tibet peacefully.

There have been no talks between the Tibetan envoys and China for six years now. What is it that you think will give an impetus to restart dialogue?

The Trump administration, the European Union, India, Japan, Australia—all governments must have a coordinated effort to press the Chinese government to solve the issue of Tibet peacefully. It should be a coordinated effort and consistent effort.

You were invited to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing in ceremony (in May 2014). That was seen as a message to China. But then, the Modi government seemed to be making efforts to build a relationship with China. Now, irritants in the relationship have surfaced—China’s objections to India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership being one. We now see clearance for His Holiness to visit Arunachal Pradesh in 2017. Do you see a consistent policy towards Tibet from the Indian government?

Recently, President of India, Pranab Mukherjee hosted the Dalai Lama. This is a bold gesture from the government of India which we really appreciate. The Indian government is formulating its policy towards China which is showing all the right trends. India has done the most for Tibet. The largest number of Tibetans are in India. The Tibetan government in exile is based in India. I can’t think of any other place where this could be based. But we always request and appeal that Tibet be treated as one of the core issues (of India with China). China already does that. India has the moral high ground to speak for Tibet.

His Holiness has said the institution of the Dalai Lama might end with him because of fears that the Chinese government will foist its own Dalai Lama onto the Tibetan people. At the same time, he has also said that the next Dalai Lama could be born outside Tibet—among the populations in exile. How do you see the future?

The institution of the Dalai Lama will not end. He is the 14th Dalai Lama. For 14 times the Tibetan people have asked him to come back and we will ask him again for the 15th time. When Tibetans asked him to come for 14 times, we had an independent country. Now when we are in exile and we are leading this freedom struggle, all the more reason that we have to ask him to come back. So he will come back.

Source: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/OSobAx7IJROrYYQFk7GetJ/Hopeful-of-an-early-meeting-between-Trump-Dalai-Lama-Lobsa.html





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CTA: Tibet Not Part of China but Middle Way Remains Viable Solution

posted Jan 2, 2017, 8:18 AM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Jan 2, 2017, 8:37 AM ]

 
By Central Tibetan Administration

 

 The Central Tibetan Administration on 17th December, launched a report titled ‘Tibet is Not a Part of China but Middle Way Remains a Viable Solution.’ The flagship report which is CTA’s comprehensive report on the situation inside Tibet under Chinese occupation was published today in three languages- Tibetan, English and Chinese.

Along with Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, former diplomat and MP, Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar attended the release of the report held at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi.

Chinese colonialism on Tibet referred to as roof of the world, has been the biggest disaster the Tibetan people had to confront in thousands of years of its history. The occupation caused not only widespread dismay and disappointment for the Tibetan people but also led to a massive destruction of its culture, religion and language as a result of the failed policies adopted by the government.

However, despite more than fifty years of Chinese brutality and repression, the fact remains that China has failed in its attempt at capturing the heart and soul of Tibet. This is evidenced through the peaceful protests that the Tibetan people have continued to stage over the years particularly the wave of self-immolation protests that have rocked Tibet since 2009.

These evidences point to the fact that contrary to what the Chinese government claims, Tibet is far from the socialist paradise that they have promised and remains one of the most repressed places in the world plagued by a series of unjust policies.

Piqued by these protests and the violent reactions reciprocated by the Chinese government, Tibet has once again began to capture the imagination of the world with its non-violent movement and its realistic Middle Way Approach to resolve the issue.

To buttress its point and to quench the increasing international demand for concise information on the key points of the Tibet issue, the Central Tibetan Administration today released a comprehensive report titled ‘Tibet is Not a Part of China but Middle Way Remains a Viable Solution’.

The 107-page report directly addresses the many areas of concern, in particular the fundamental question on the historical status of Tibet, the reincarnation issue with regard to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the deteriorating environmental situation of the Tibetan plateau and repression masquerading as urbanisation and economic development inside Tibet.

The report also profoundly illustrates the Central Tibetan Administration’s flagship policy—the Middle Way Approach to resolve the issue of Tibet amicably with China.

The report, described as readable, and brutally informative and poignant at the same time, is CTA’s latest attempt to correctly inform the real situation inside Tibet to the world after a gap of at least 7 years. The last comprehensive report on Tibet ‘Proving Truth from Facts’ was published in 2009 by DIIR.

“As far as the Chinese government is concerned, truth has always been a malleable entity, subverting and twisting at will to suit its agenda. However, this report promises to stick to the truth in its most authentic form and tear China’s pathological obsession with control of information,” Ms Dhardon Sharling, Information Secretary of DIIR said.

“The report vividly documents the unfolding disastrous consequences of China’s atrocities in Tibet and the Central Tibetan Administration’s repeated attempts to ameliorate the situation through dialogue,” she added.

The report also features some bold proclamations and expose the jarring contrast between the Tibet of Chinese propaganda and the Tibet which continues to remain – at least in the popular imagination – a separate entity distinct from what the Chinese government attempts to portray.

Lauding the Central Tibetan Administration for its earnest efforts, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar said, “The Tibetan proposal to resolve the Tibet issue conforms closely with India’s own efforts to resolve its border disputes with China. Nehru’s vision was in complete harmony with the current approaches proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” he said.

He also encouraged the Tibetans to continue their efforts and said that he remains hopeful and optimistic for a quick resolution of the Tibet issue.

“It is easier to be a pessimist than an optimist but the fact that there is dialogue, it gives the Tibetan movement a measure of stability and progress,” he remarked.

He further added that India and Tibet know China is not easy to deal with. “However, our efforts also lets China know that Tibet and India are also not easy foes either. Empty military threats doesn’t work anymore,” he said.

To emphasise this particular strain of truth, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, said at the release of the report today “China has time and again made every effort to create a pristine image of Tibet that is out of touch with reality. Soon after its formation in 1949, the People’s Republic of China occupied Tibet under the guise of ‘liberation.’ Since then, people inside Tibet have expressed their deep resistance against China’s Tibet policies through numerous peaceful protests. It is quite clear that issues such as the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the degradation of Tibet’s ecosystem, the rapid urbanization of Tibetan rural areas have a direct impact on the world at large.  Therefore we are releasing this publication in three languages to present the current situation inside Tibet under the Chinese rule and share our position on these issues in order to draw international attention and generate public discourse on the best way forward to resolving the issue of Tibet, that is through the Middle Way Approach.”

Ms Jaya Jaitly, recalled the time when George Fernandes, former defense minister of India and a staunch Tibet supporter, organised the first international conference on Tibet in August 1989. “Though I would like India to open its door to Tibetans, I hope your own country will open its door for you first,” she said.

The comprehensive report on Tibet received enthusiastic reception from the audience present, which included Tibetologists, researchers, politicians, scholars and journalists.

“The report, particularly the spirit in which it is compiled, is startlingly relevant today and is bound to draw the attention of the world towards the occupation of Tibet and the Tibetan administration’s repeated efforts to resolve the issue,” Lobsang Yangtso, PHD, JNU, said at the release.

“The non-violent and peaceful approach of reconciliation with Tibet’s invaders by the Tibetan people based on the middle way approach is exemplary and illuminating.” she added.




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Dr. Tenzin Dorjee appointed new Commissioner of USCIRF

posted Dec 19, 2016, 8:43 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

 
By Tibet.net


 Dr Tenzin Dorjee, a renowned Tibetan professor at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), has been appointed as new Commissioner of US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).The appointment was announced on 8 December 2016.

The appointment was made as per a recommendation from Ms Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Leader in the US House of Representatives, according to a press release issued by USCIRF.

“USCIRF welcomes Dr Tenzin Dorjee as our newest Commissioner,” said USCIRF Chair Rev Thomas J Reese, SJ.

“He will be a great asset to our Commission as we work to fulfill our mandate of highlighting serious threats to religious freedom throughout the world and making policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress on behalf of the cherished right of freedom of religion or belief and its fuller integration into U.S. foreign policy.”

‘Speaking exclusively to Tibet.net, Dr Tenzin Dorjee  thanked the commission for honoring him with the prestigious responsibility and expressed his wholehearted commitment to work towards safeguarding religious freedom all over the world.

“Personally, it’s a great honor and privilege to be appointed on the USCIRF by the democratic leader Honorable Nancy Pelosi. As a commissioner, I have global responsibility to work with other colleagues on the commission for religious freedom around the world. As a Tibetan, it’s my karmic responsibility and a great platform to advocate for religious freedom in Tibet and discuss current religious issues such as Larung Gar destruction and forceful expulsion of thousands of monks and nuns from the academy.”

“I have miles to go before I sleep,” he said.

Dr Tenzin Dorjee is an Associate Professor at the Department of Human Communication Studies, California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). His primary teaching and research interests are in intergroup, intercultural, intergenerational communication, identity issues, peace building, and conflict resolution. He has authored and co-authored peer-reviewed articles and chapters on Tibetan culture, identity, and communication, nonviolence and middle way approaches to Sino-Tibetan conflict, intergenerational communication context, and others. He is also a published author of articles and translated works of Tibetan Buddhism and culture into English. He is a co-author of the forthcoming scholarly book Communicating Across Cultures (2nd Edition, Guilford Press) with Professor Stella Ting-Toomey. He worked as a translator at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, India, for over 13 years. He is former Member-At-Large in the Executive Council of the Western States Communication Association (WSCA), Chair of WSCA’s Distinguished Teaching Award Committee, Basic Course Director of the Department of Human Communication Studies, CSUF, and President of the Tibetan Association of Southern California. In the summer of 2013, he volunteered over two months at the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala and in the summer of 2016, he volunteered teaching intercultural communication and research methodology at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah, India, and the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education, Bengaluru, India.

Comprised of nine commissioners, USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal body that is principally responsible for reviewing the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and making policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress. The President and leadership of both political parties in the Senate and House of Representatives appoint USCIRF Commissioners.




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A Plea to Britain: Don't forget Tibet in your dealings with China

posted Nov 4, 2016, 10:06 AM by The Tibetan Political Review

 
By Sikyong Lobsang Sangay


 When it comes to its dealings with China, the UK is at a critical juncture. Following the Brexit vote, the debate on Chinese investment in Britain, and unfavourable media coverage of President Xi Jinping’s lavish reception last year, the challenge for the British leadership now is to develop a new strategic engagement with Beijing. It is vital in doing so that the UK stands its ground, alongside other like-minded governments, and promotes an approach that balances its business, trade and diplomatic interests with a respect for the rights of the Chinese and Tibetan people. It must hold fast to its commitment to upholding the democratic values that shape the spirit of this great country.

I have recently been elected to serve a second term as the sikyong, or political leader, of the Central Tibetan Administration, based in exile in India. Our democracy, which is a source of great pride among Tibetans everywhere, was a culmination of the vision and actions of His Holiness the Dalai Lama – who has emphasised the importance of democracy and education since his escape from Chinese-occupied Tibet in 1959.

Britain has been an inspiration to Tibetans not only as one of the world’s oldest democracies and a bastion of free speech, but also because of its has a special relationship to Tibet. Prior to the Chinese invasion in 1949, Britain was the only country to formally recognise Tibet as an independent nation. This is because British representatives were stationed in Lhasa from 1904 to 1947 to liaise with the Tibetan government. In 1949 Mao Zedong, the newly victorious leader of the Chinese Communist party, announced over the radio waves his intention to “liberate” Tibet from this “foreign imperialism”. Over the past 60-plus years, of course, Tibet has been anything but “liberated” by the Chinese Communist party.

In 2008, Britain rewrote the historical record on Tibet. An apologetic statement by the then foreign secretary David Miliband stated that Britain now recognised Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China, after almost a century of recognising Tibet as “autonomous”, with China having a “special position” there.

This was a major shift in position, and signalled the beginning of a more accommodating stance. But it only led China to push for more concessions, limiting the UK’s leverage still further. After David Cameron met with the Dalai Lama in 2012, China subjected him to censure, consigning him to the diplomatic deep freeze. Last year, the UK’s red carpet reception of Xi was widely criticised, with sinologists pointing out that standing up to China is not only preferable for moral reasons but is also in the interests of Britain’s economy and national security.

How much better, instead of struggling in the face of China’s efforts to divide and rule, if those governments that China coerces stood shoulder to shoulder, bound by their common values. Failing to do so only endorses China’s efforts to impose its narrative on the rest of the world – a discourse that is anti-democratic, in which the law is viewed as a tool to maintain power and not to achieve justice, and one that is hostile to any views that do not accord with the official party line. The need for such a joined-up approach is becoming ever more urgent – regardless of Brexit – as the Chinese government continues to oversee an unprecedented crackdown on basic human rights and civil society, and steps up its efforts to subvert and undermine the values of western democracies.

In Tibet, China asserts its control through policies of intensified militarisation, hyper-securitisation, enhanced surveillance and ideological campaigns. Given Tibet’s importance as the “roof of the world”, source of most of Asia’s major rivers and epicentre of climate change, this should be of profound concern to us all. China’s disregard for fundamental freedoms is demonstrated in the continuing large-scale demolitions at the internationally renowned Tibetan Buddhist institute Larung Gar – the largest Buddhist academy in the world.

In recent months we have seen two initiatives where governments have joined together to tackle China about major issues of concern; the first a letter signed by four governments and the EU, telling China that its new laws on cyber-security, counter-terrorism and control of foreign NGOs go too far, and an unprecedented joint statement by 12 governments at the United Nations human rights council, criticising China over its detention of lawyers and disappearances of Hong Kong booksellers.

As China seeks to bend the rest of the world to its anti-democratic principles, such collective statements can only be in the interests of the UK and other European nations, as well as serving the Chinese and Tibetan people who struggle for peaceful reform of a one-party state.

British people are among the most staunch supporters of our Tibetan cause; tens of thousands of them joyfully sang happy birthday to the Dalai Lama at Glastonbury last year. So many have expressed their profound sadness at the unprecedented wave of self-immolations that has swept Tibet since 2009 – a terrible act that is testimony to often unbearable oppression as well as an expression of the desire for freedom, and for the Dalai Lama to return home.

As new alignments form and the ramifications of Brexit become clearer, it is time for a re-evaluation of Britain’s engagement with China. There may have been a change in language on Tibet, but the historical and cultural connection between the British people and Tibetans is irrefutable.

The UK should take a leading role in reaching out to other like-minded governments, to act together from a position of strength to confront the Chinese leadership. A united front can be used to push for a meaningful dialogue based on the Central Tibetan Administration’s middle way approach to resolve the longstanding issue of Tibet. It cannot allow Brexit to distract or damage relationships with other EU nations that will be needed if change is to be secured.

Originally published at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/31/britain-tibet-china-business-trade.



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Hope Endures When Truth is Upheld

posted Sep 26, 2016, 8:55 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Sep 26, 2016, 8:56 PM ]

 
By Sonam Wangdu (Chairman, US-Tibet Committee, New York)


 Those who know me know that I have never wavered in my advocacy for an independent Tibet.  But what is not known to them is that my stance was inspired and shaped by my time with the Tibetan Government in Exile (TGIE).  In 1960, when I joined the TGIE as a young interpreter, my elder TGIE bosses made it clear that their stay in India was only temporary, and that their goal was to return to Tibet and restore His Holiness the Dalai Lama to His rightful place as Head of State.  I remember clearly how dedicated those officials were to the cause of Tibet.  These elder statesmen’s tireless focus on accomplishing the will of the Tibetan people was profoundly moving, and it made a deep impact on me as a young man. 

 When it became clear that our return to Tibet was not as imminent as we had all thought, there was an urgent drive to tend to our fellow Tibetans who were pouring into India as refugees.  His Holiness and his devoted government officials, with tremendous support from the Indian government as well as from foreign aid agencies, focused on addressing the needs of this growing number of displaced Tibetans: our refugee families were resettled in various resettlement camps across India; their children were given a Tibetan and Western education at the Tibetan Homes Foundation, The Tibetan  Refugee Schools, and the Tibetan Children’s Villages (TCVs); and our monks were rehabilitated into monastic centers to help preserve our religion. 

 During those early time of exile, His Holiness reformed the Tibetan Government to be consistent with a democratic system of government that existed in the world outside.  The three regions of Tibet, U-tsang, Kham and Amdo were equally represented in the Chitue Lhenkhang (Tibetan Parliament) even though the people of U-tsang were by far in the majority.  The Chitue Lhenkhang represented all of Tibet.  As a parliament-in-exile it was unencumbered by the usual competing regional issues, and in those early days, there was a deep unity and focus, and most important of all, a sense of common purpose: the regaining of Tibet’s independence. 

 The departments were headed by Tibetan Government officials who had accompanied His Holiness into exile.  I was amazed how those old officials worked in complete unison to plan and implement His Holiness’ vision.  As a young Khampa, it was an incredible time of learning and bonding with many of those officials including my own bosses, Foreign Minister Sawang Thupten Tharpa Liushar and Lord Chamberlain, Thupten Wodhen Phala.  Practically all of those dedicated officials have now passed on, but the memories of them still linger in my heart with great fondness and gratitude for what I learned from them.  The selflessness of their wish to escort His Holiness the Dalai Lama back to Tibet still moves me and inspires my commitment to the cause of Tibet.  

 As the months turned into years, and the years into decades, the brutal suffering of the people in Tibet continued, as did their resistance to Chinese rule.  In 1979, Gyalo Thondup, the elder brother of His Holiness, was told by Deng Xiaoping that, “But except for independence, everything is negotiable. Everything can be discussed” (Gyalo Thondup, The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong (2015), p. 258).  This declaration was quickly proven evident when in 1980 His Holiness and the TGIE sent 3 separate “Fact Finding Missions” to survey the current conditions inside Tibet.  The Chinese government promptly terminated the missions when they realized how strongly the Tibetan people sided with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  Undaunted, numerous delegations were sent to China for a number of years to initiate talks.  Subsequently, due to a lack of China’s meaningful response, on September 21, 1987 His Holiness addressed the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus and unveiled The 5 Point Peace Plan with these basic components: 

 

1.       Transformation of the whole of Tibet into a zone of peace;

2.       Abandonment of China’s population transfer policy which threatens the very existence of Tibetans as a people;

3.       Respect for the Tibetan people’s fundamental human rights and democratic freedom;

4.       Restoration and protection of Tibet’s natural environment and the abandonment of China’s use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of nuclear waste;

5.       Commencement of earnest negotiations on the status of Tibet and of relations between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.                            

 On June 15 1988, His Holiness’ address to the members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, which came to be known as the “Strasbourg Proposal”, and was the origin of the Middle Way Approach (MWA) which clarified the 5th point of the 5 Point Peace Plan.  Here are some of it’s major condition:

 

1.       The whole of Tibet known as Cholka-Sum (U-Tsang, Kham and Admo) should become a self-governing democratic political entity founded on law by agreement of the people for the common good and protection of themselves and their environment, in association with the People’s Republic of China; 

2.       The Government of the People’s Republic of China could remain responsible for Tibet’s foreign policy;

3.       The Government of Tibet should be founded on a constitution of basic law.  The basic law should provide for a democratic system of government entrusted with the task of ensuring economic equality, social justice and protection of the environment.  This means that the Tibetan government will have the right to decide on all affairs relating to Tibet and the Tibetans; 

4.       A regional peace conference should be called to ensure that Tibet becomes a genuine sanctuary of peace through demilitarization.  Until such a peace conference can be convened and demilitarization and neutralization achieved, China could have right to maintain a restricted number of military installations in Tibet.   

 Deng got what he wanted “except for independence, everything is negotiable.”  In spite of Deng’s betrayal, His Holiness made every effort to resolve the tragic situation in Tibet.  In response to China’s indifference, in 1992, His Holiness called on His people to come up with suggestions on the path to take.  In the mid-1990s, the Chitue Lhenkhang undertook a referendum which later was called a polling of public opinion” with a series of goals, such as: Middle Way Approach (MWA), self determination, self rule and complete independence.  The result of the polling was announced that 64% of the exiled Tibetan public wished His Holiness to continue to handle the Sino-Tibet relationship.  In my opinion, the Tibetan people in exile failed His Holiness by throwing the problem back into His corner instead of coming up with viable suggestions.  At that point the stewardship of the MWA policy changed hands from His Holiness to the Tibetan people.

 So therefore, in my view, the Chitue Lhenkhang, as the representative of the Tibetan people, is now the steward of the MWA policy, and whatever action taken by His Holiness was and is at the directive of the Chitue Lhenkhang.  Over the years the terms of the MWA proposal have changed significantly at the hands of the elected officials.   It is my strong belief that His Holiness did not guide these changes, and as a result, the MWA has now become a problem rather than a solution.  The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) often claims that the MWA is a win-win” situation – but the question is for whom?  I have not seen any positive results for the Tibetan people in Tibet.  In fact, the situation in Tibet has grown worse because in exile we are divided and therefore weak.  Attempts by MWA supporters to silence Rangzen advocates from having a voice in Tibetan politics (e.g. the barring of Lukas Jam’s talk during the recent  Sikyong election process) does chill free speech and adversely affects Tibetan democracy in exile.  As a result, unfortunately, we have betrayed the aspirations of those hundreds of thousands of Tibetans who have died struggling for Tibet’s freedom.  Rangzen advocates will never forget their sacrifice and we pay homage to those still in Tibet who reject Chinese rule and desire their homeland to be independent of China. We will never forget the 150 young self-immolators who have never experienced an independent Tibet, yet who have put their lives in harm’s way to keep the issue of an independent Tibet in the foreground.  The moral strength of Tibetans in Tibet should be a call to us Tibetans who live comfortably in exile.  Please remember that Tibetans in Tibet are not setting themselves on fire because they want to live under China’s rule or under the current MWA.

 My memory of the devotion and commitment of the early government officials in Mussoorie and Dharamsala to returning to an independent Tibet, as well as the continued examples of courage of Tibetans inside Tibet are the main reasons why I accepted the invitation to attend the International Rangzen Conference in New York City on July 1-3, 2016.  My other pertinent reasons were:

 

1.     I shared the same aspirations of these young Tibetans who honestly believe that Tibet was an independent nation and that the need to restore Tibet’s historical sovereignty in their lifetime was paramount or, in the very least, the importance of keeping this issue alive for our future generations to continue the struggle;

2.     It was remarkable to observe the bravery and unbreakable spirit of these young Tibetans who, on their own initiative, organized the conference when the issue of Rangzen continues to be under attack and the folks supporting this struggle were being labeled anti-His Holiness the Dalai Lama and anti-CTA.  It was very gratifying and hopeful to observe young Tibetans take the issue of Tibet’s true freedom seriously into their hearts and not be afraid to stake their claim; and

3.     I saw this event as an opportunity to clarify to the Tibetan world that Rangzen supporters are real people with real feelings for their people in Tibet, a nation under foreign occupation for decades, and not war-mongers, putting Tibetan lives in Tibet in harm’s way.   

 There is a great need to understand the Rangzen movement.  I do not accept the notion that Rangzen advocates are disrespectful to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and are anti-CTA or that they advocate armed resistance against China.  These are false charges that serves no useful purpose for the freedom of Tibet other than to purposefully fulfill the wishes of the PRC, i.e. to divide our people and strengthen China’s hand in her oppression of Tibet.  The CTA claims to have a democratic form of government but the recent Sikyong election process proved otherwise.

I further believe the culture of mean-spiritedness caused the false accusations that were placed on Lukar Jam for his use of ‘Gyatsongpa’ and ‘La-Gen’.  Let’s start with ‘Gyatsongpa,’ or treason.  First of all, Lukar Jam has completely denied he had ever used the term much less, using that word to blame His Holiness!   Secondly, Tibet is under complete Chinese rule so how can anyone “sell” or commit treason at the expense of Tibet?   ‘La-Gen’ is a term used by a disciple to refer to his/her teacher.  It is not a term used as a put down of one’s teacher.  The purposeful accusation and misinterpretations of these terms were only to create mischief and again divide our people. 

 His Holiness divested Himself of His political authority in 2011.  Therefore, technically, the Sikyong is the political leader of CTA.  So if the CTA maintains that the MWA is its policy then it must take full ownership of it and not hide behind His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s cloak. 

 To reiterate: the current MWA is not His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s proposal as announced in 1988.  Lobsang Sangay’s interpretation of the Middle Way is dramatically different from what His Holiness had proposed.  I say this because I have never heard His Holiness say that He embraces the Communist Party rule; or that He does not seek democracy for Tibet; or that He approves militarization of Tibet.  Therefore, the claim that this MWA policy is His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s position is completely false.  Moreover, the revised MWA puts the CTA at odds with the growing number of Chinese who are opposed to the rule of the Communist Party and who are demanding democratic reforms in China.  China is changing very fast, and it is inevitable that China will adopt a democratic system of government.  The spread of Buddhism in China is a good thing and our religious institutions will benefit from the financial support of their Chinese followers, but politically, we must advocate for the sovereignty of Tibet or we will close the door on any future hope and basis on which to reclaim our country.  The voice for an independent Tibet should be allowed to remain loud and strong until Tibet is free.

 I believe it is also very important to make the Tibet issue relevant to current global concerns, such as security and climate change.   (1) Tibet is not an isolated region that has no consequence to two growing world powers in Asia: i.e. India and China.   It is central to the Sino-Indian relationship. The continued Chinese occupation of Tibet puts India’s national security at risk as we witnessed it in 1962 when China invaded India from occupied Tibet.  This is why to restore and develop Tibet’s status as a buffer state between China and India is paramount to regional and global peace and security.  (2) China’s direct misuse and environmental destruction of Tibet’s once pristine land and water is now showing global consequences in the well-documented frequency of devastating typhoons, hurricanes and floods

 Therefore, I am profoundly inspired by having borne witness to the passionate selflessness of our government officials during the early years of exile; by the moral strength of our brothers & sisters in Tibet who still courageously reject Chinese rule; and by our young Tibetans in exile who refuse to accept Chinese rule of their homeland.  I am confident that Tibet will be free if we are united on the truth of Tibet, that Tibet must be returned to its original status as a free and independent nation.  Let us not berate and divide.  Instead, let us stand side by side, and show an unbreakable chain of devotion to our history, to our future, and to humanity, that reaches all the way to Tibet.





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Yuthok's Rejoinder to the Noodle Maker

posted Jul 30, 2016, 4:12 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Aug 29, 2016, 8:52 PM ]

 
By Jigmie Dorji Yuthok

  (Photo: Depon Yuthok Tashi Dhondup and D-Tshap Taring Jigme, Lhasa 1937)

  Mr. Gyalo Thondup’s book, The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong, has already been the subject of much criticism, and rightly so. Indeed, even his co-author, Anne Thurston, expresses grave doubts about the veracity of his story in the Introduction to the book, before you hear a word from Mr. Thondup. Again, in the book’s uncommon “Afterword” section, she notes that some Tibetans who had read the manuscript — and her editors as well — were suspicious of the motivation behind Mr. Thondup’s many allegations against fellow Tibetans and his portrayal of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s views on Tibet. And how does one excuse Mr. Thondup’s deliberately arrogant disrespect toward the 10th Panchen Lama, who — once he began to see the real nature of China’s brutal occupation — spoke against it and paid a very heavy price in the form of many years of imprisonment and torture. Such gratuitous criticism coming from someone who kept himself safely out of harm’s way was shocking and embarrassing to most Tibetans. So, before publication, the co-author and publisher were at the very least suspicious that Mr. Thondup’s version of history was tainted with bias and the twin motivations of self-aggrandizement — a trait he has exhibited throughout his life — and clearing his name in a
nancial scandal by casting stones at everyone else. Nonetheless they went ahead and published the book, defending Mr. Thondup’s right to tell his story, and probably hoping that allegations that were known to be “controversial and provocative” would sell books.

So it is that I must join those who have stepped forward to set the record straight. Mr. Thondup’s The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong calls the then Tibetan Government incompetent and ignorant, maligns the good name of many Tibetan patriots — including my late father, Kalon Yuthok Tashi Dhondup (http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/tibet/biography_282.html)— and has inaccuracies which cannot be left to stand without correction. This response is based on my personal experience and documents, and it will concentrate on the things I know from having been at several of the events that Mr. Thondup has portrayed, as well as those documents in my possession which provide a more accurate and less egocentric account of this critical period of Tibetan history.

I will begin by addressing a general theme that pervades the book, the portrayal of Tibet’s government of the period prior to China’s invasion as “absolutely incompetent.” Mr. Thondup proclaims himself “ashamed of my government” and further states “the people running Tibet were incompetent – not just ordinarily incompetent but absolutely incompetent.” The use of such harsh and cruel language not only maligns those who were in ofce before and during the Chinese invasion of Tibet, it indicts a system of government that in spite of its many aws when judged through the lens of modern democracy had in fact been quite successful in assembling, managing and defending a nation for more centuries than most modern democracies have existed. His gratuitous dismissal of such accomplishments betrays an arrogance that might be justied if it came from someone with a stellar record of competence himself, but such is hardly the case. In Kundun, H.H. the Dalai Lama says of his elder brother, Mr. Gyalo Thondup, “He did some good things, but he also made many mistakes. He is stubborn and he creates controversy wherever he goes.”[1]

Now let’s get down to specics.

Mr. Thondup claims to have been in contact with many Indian government ofcials during the period between Chinas invasion and His Holiness’ escape to India when, in fact, he was blissfully unaware of all the decisions that were taken by the Tibetan government. So when Mr. Thondup claims that the Tibetan government “never asked the Indians or Americans for help,” he couldn’t be more mistaken

The following are examples of the many occasions, before China's invasion, when Tibetan delegations were sent abroad to bolster support for Tibet's status as an independent nation. In 1946, the then Tibetan government sent a delegation to congratulate the Allied Nations for their victory in World War II.[2] In early 1947, a Tibetan Delegation was invited to participate in the Inter Asian Relations Conference by India’s Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.[3] The Tibetan delegation attended the conference as a sovereign nation carrying the Tibetan national flag. In 1948, a Tibetan Trade Mission was sent by the Tibetan Government to establish trade and diplomatic relations with India, China, the United States and Great Britain. The delegation visited all countries with Tibetan passports.[4] Then in July 1949, the Chinese Mission in Lhasa was served by the Tibetan Government with an order for the immediate departure from Tibet of all its staff and all Chinese nationals residing in Tibet.[5] Clearly Tibet was ending its historic isolation, attempting to ward off China and gain international allies as the decade came to an end.

(1950 Tibet Trade Mission: Left to Right, Kenchung Losang Tsewang, Yuthok Jigmie Dorji, & Rimshi Surkhang Lhawang Tobgye)

In 1950, I was called by the Tibetan government to serve as an English interpreter to the Tibetan Trade Mission.[6] I was 18 years old and studying at St. Joseph’s North Point, Darjeeling. The officials in the Trade Mission were Rimshi Surkhang Lhawang Tobgye and Kenchung Lobsang Tsewang. We met with India’s Prime Minister Nehru. This “Tibet Trade Mission” was in reality a secret mission to request military arms from India, a request that Prime Minister Nehru turned down. Later, Mr. Thondup, while virtually running the Tibetan government in the 1960s, was equally unsuccessful in obtaining anything more than token outside support, so he should have known rst-hand that such support was hard to come by. Cold War political realities made intervention in a remote and inaccessible Tibet a very low priority on the world stage. But whether one is speaking of the 1960s, or the preceding decades, not achieving positive results does not constitute a lack of effort or a lack of competence.

In March 1959, when we received word that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had ed Lhasa, my father, Kalon Yuthok, and I were in Kalimpong. Some Kalimpong Tibetans – Kalon Yuthok, Drunyik Chenmo, Alo Chongze, and myself among others but not Mr. Thondup – immediately went to Delhi to petition the Government of India to help Tibet and to ensure that His Holiness did not fall into the hands of the Chinese. The petition was submitted to Prime Minister Nehru, again to no avail. After waiting for a reply which was never to come, we returned to Kalimpong. Again no one had the appetite to get into a hot war with China on the Tibetan plateau, not a nascent India, nor more powerful and stable nations halfway around the world such as Great Britain and the United States.

Later in the book, Mr. Thondup speaks about the April 1959 statement by His Holiness upon his arrival in Tezpur, India. In his zeal to portray everyone but himself as incompetent, Mr. Thondup alleges that His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s rst statement to the international news media, who had assembled there following His Holiness escape from the Chinese, was read to the press by an Indian ofcial, implying Nehrus people had even drafted it just as the Chinese Communist Government accused. He is mistaken on both counts. The English translation of the Tibetan-language Tezpur statement was read to the press corps by a Tibetan, namely me, not by a nameless “Indian ofcial as Mr. Thondup alleges.

Upon His Holiness’ arrival, the Government of India arranged temporary residence for the Dalai Lama in Mussoorie. Khenchung Tara and I, as the English-speaking secretary, took care of the Tibetan Government documents and correspondence as well as His Holiness’ private correspondence. On June 20, 1959, His Holiness gave a statement to the media and held his first western-style “news conference.” I had prepared an English version of his statement which I then read to the media (A&E Biography 1997: “Dalai Lama The Soul of Tibet” Part 3 of 5) (https://youtu.be/Lklgq0yU9Wk). During the questions and answers session of the press conference I was assisted by another English speaking Tibetan official, Sandutsang Rinchen.

The next glaring inaccuracy of The Noodle Maker that I can correct concerns the vastly exaggerated loan request that Tibet was alleged to have made to India. To begin with, when Prime Minister Nehru came to see His Holiness in Mussoorie in April 1959, the subject of loans of any amount never came up. Mr. Thondup’s suggestion that Kalons Surkhang Wangchen Gelek (http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/tibet/biography_65.html) and Yuthok Tashi Dhondup had advised His Holiness to approach Prime Minister Nehru for a loan of 200 million Indian rupees is ludicrous on its face. As a matter of fact, Kalon Yuthok was not in Mussoorie at that time. Perhaps the subject of a loan for 200 million Indian rupees did come up during Mr. Thondup’s private discussion with the Indian diplomat, P.N. Menon. That would explain why no one else ever heard of it.

Returning to reality, the Kashag, the executive body of the Tibetan government, with the approval of His Holiness, later did decide to approach the Government of India for a loan of just over 6.4 million rupees. Kalon Surkhang, Kalon Liushar — and myself as their interpreter — travelled to Delhi to ask India’s Foreign Secretary Subimal Dutt for this loan, which was unfortunately refused by him. Mr. Thondup, who did not occupy any ofcial role, was allowed to accompany us only as an observer. And it is particularly important to note that at this time, Mr. Thondup, who was educated in China and in the Chinese language, was not uent in English. I translated the discussions back and forth between English and Tibetan and I well know what the amount of the loan request was, and Mr. Thondup was so informed on the spot.

When one talks about the inuence of an elder brother of someone such as His Holiness, on government and politics or even in the realm of nancial matters, it is in a context that people everywhere probably understand. Add to the political power of the person in question the religious and spiritual signicance of Tibet’s Dalai Lama and it is easy to understand how a family member might try to maneuver himself into a position of power. For this reason, during an incarnation of a Dalai Lama, it was Tibet’s tradition that family members — while well provided for — were usually kept out of the government, and their inuence was limited. The Chinese invasion and His Holiness escape to India provided an opening for change, and Mr. Thondup did not miss this opportunity to assert himself into Tibetan politics.

After the invasion, as the 1960s began to unfold, Mr. Thondup, as His Holiness’ elder brother — and purporting to represent His Holiness’ wishes — began to control all aspects of the reconstruction of the Tibetan Government in Exile. He even founded a political organization called Chikdril Tsogpa (United Party) to support his political agenda. Few dared to criticize Mr. Thondup because he was the elder brother of His Holiness, and those who did challenge or question Mr. Thondup were ostracized. As a result, Kalons Surkhang and Yuthok, along with Dzasa Pangdatshang (http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/tibet/biography_201.html), were not included in the formation of the Tibetan Government in Exile. Having no ofcial responsibilities, the three decided to officially resign from government service and do what they could to advance Tibet’s interests as private citizens. Little could they have imagined that Mr. Thondup, who whole-heartedly berates Tibet’s leaders for failing to develop relations with foreign nations that might have come to their aid when China invaded, would “do a one-eighty” and attack them for going out into the world and attempting to attract allies to the Tibetan cause. But that is exactly what Mr. Thondup does.

But before returning to this subject, there is the little matter of the missing Tibetan gold and silver that Mr. Thondup goes to such great lengths to blame on others, despite his responsibility as a trustee of these funds. I have some direct knowledge that touches on this important issue.

First let me say that I personally believe that the reason that Kalons Surkhang and Yuthok and Dzasa Pangdatshang have been targeted by Mr. Thondup is because all of them were members of the Tibetan Government that, in the lead-up to the Chinese invasion of 1949, had expelled all Chinese nationals from Tibet: a decree that applied to Mr. Thondup’s Chinese wife. And there were several other issues where Mr. Thondup had clashed with the Tibetan government both before and after the Chinese invasion, beginning with the Kashag’s displeasure with Mr. Thondup’s going to school in China instead of India. “At this time, sending one’s children to China to attend school was unheard of in the aristocracy. Those families who chose to send their children for a modern education (which was not possible to obtain in Tibet) all sent them to India. … … China, which, it should be noted, was ostensibly Tibet’s enemy.”[7] After His Holiness’ and Mr. Thondup’s father died, the Kashag also appointed trustees to sort out the family’s finances, much to Mr. Thondup’s displeasure.[8] So, in the midst of a number of intrigues that took place during the late 40’s and early 50’s, Mr. Thondup returned to Tibet in 1952 full of ideas that were out of step with Tibet’s political leadership. His controversial education in China made many doubtful of his recommendations. Thinking that he knew more than them, and unhappy that his ideas were rejected as “more red than the Red Chinese themselves,” he left for India.[9] In other words, there was “bad blood” between the parties long before His Holiness ed Tibet. Now add to that the fact that Surkhang, Yuthok and Pangdatshang had knowledge of the gold and silver the Tibetan Government had sent to Sikkim in 1950.

The Kashag were responsible for shipping the gold and silver there via the Tibetan border town of Yatung (Dromo), where Pangdatshang was Governor. And there was a lot of gold and silver. In 1959, the arrival of this gold and silver in Kolkata (Calcutta) from Sikkim became such big news that Mr. Desmond Doig, a journalist from The Statesman of Calcutta, interviewed Mr. Thondup, who told him that the value of the gold and silver was worth 6.4 million Indian rupees. Yes, by a strange coincidence that is the actual amount of the Tibetan loan request made earlier to India, discussed above. How Mr. Thondup pulled that number out of the air is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it is just a coincidence, or perhaps it was the rst number that popped into his head, having heard it before. But heres where it gets really interesting. Pangdatshang told Doig that the value of the gold and silver was very much greater than what had been reported in his Statesmen article. When Doig went and asked Mr. Thondup about this discrepancy, Mr. Thondup — in a t of anger told him that if he published any further news about the value of the Tibetan gold and silver, Mr. Thondup would send thousands of Tibetans to demonstrate in front of The Statesman’s ofces. How do I know this? I was the interpreter during Pangdatshangs meeting with Doig, and Doig recounted Mr. Thondups threat to me after he asked Mr. Thondup about the huge discrepancy. Add to this the fact that one of Mr. Thondup’s friends, Tashi Tsering, says that “literally millions of dollars worth of gold were loaded onto Dakota cargo planes and flown to Calcutta”[10] and the mystery of what happened to the missing gold remains unsolved to this day. According to Tsering’s book, Mr. Thondup seemed to be in charge of the disposition of these precious metals, and it was Mr. Thondup who later charged Tsering with guarding the silver, which was put up in a merchant’s house for several weeks, melted down into ingots, and then taken away.[11]

But returning to the earlier mystery of the non-existent 200 million rupee loan request, Mr. Thondup says in his book that “Surkhang and Yuthok were so embarrassed when the Dalai Lama reported his conversation (about the failed loan request) to the Kashag that they ed Mussoorie and …… suffered an irreparable loss of face. Mr. Thondups notions of loss of face, like many other of his ideas, seem much more Chinese than Tibetan. In fact, in his book on page 115 you will notice that he refers to Tibet as “the motherland,” just as the Chinese do China; whereas Tibetans use the term “fatherland” exclusively. Seasoned and patriotic Tibetan cabinet ministers would not get “so embarrassed” that they would shirk their duty and flee. What actually happened is quite simple.

Kalons Surkhang and Yuthok did not “ee or defect to Taiwan as Mr. Thondup portrays it. It was due to their exclusion from the new Thondup-controlled exile government and subsequent inability to serve His Holiness and work for Tibetan independence from inside India — along with what proved to be a very justied fear of danger for their families safety that Surkhang and Yuthok left India. Thinking that they could continue to serve His Holiness and the Tibetan cause as private citizens, Surkhang and Yuthok went to Taiwan, largely because, in March of 1959, President Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China (Taiwan) had pledged his support for Tibetan self-determination.[12] Upon their arrival in Taiwan, there were already about 30 Tibetans being trained in Taiwan as paratroopers to ght the communists alongside Chiang Kai-shek's troops.

In The Noodle Maker, Mr. Thondup accuses Surkhang and Yuthok of “setting up what they called an Ofce of the Kashag, going on to say they “had no right to portray themselves as representatives of the Tibetan Government.” Once again, the facts bear little resemblance to Mr. Thondup’s rhetoric. Although the Government of Taiwan insisted that they open an Ofce of Tibet suggestive of a connection with the Tibetan exile government, Surkhang and Yuthok refused on the grounds that they could not and did not represent His Holiness’ government and the Tibetan people. They decided to open an ofce called The Kalon Bureau, and I have copies of the letterhead which bears this innocuous title, which drew upon their prior government service without invoking the exile government’s name or authority.


(Secretary Takla Phuntsog Tashi on his 1974 visit to Taiwan: left to right, Gelek Rinpoche, Sakya Dagchen Rinpoche, Takla Phuntsog Tashi, and Kalon Yuthok Tashi Dhondup)

Mr. Thondup further claims that Surkhang and Yuthok had no contact with His Holiness after leaving Dharamsala. This too is not factual. My late father kept letters from His Holiness, and from his Private Secretary and Security Chief Taklha Phuntsog Tashi, written during the 1970’s. In one of His Holiness’ letters to Kalon Yuthok, he mentions that while touring Europe, he had met Surkhang, who had explained everything in detail about the two former Kalons’ situation and work in Taiwan.  His Holiness assured Kalon Yuthok that he understood. Secretary Taklha even wrote my father, Yuthok Tashi Dhondup, stating that His Holiness was quite pleased with their efforts, and that the Tibetan Government in Exile was contemplating establishing relations with the Government of Taiwan and that, in this connection Secretary Taklha would come to meet with Surkhang and Yuthok in Taiwan. The originals of these letters and others are in my possession. Later, when the Government of Taiwan began showing less of an appetite for liberating even mainland China, Surkhang and Yuthok saw no reason to remain in Taiwan. Surkhang, who was ill, could not travel and passed away in Taiwan. After the death of Surkhang The Kalon Bureau was closed. Yuthok immigrated to Canada and broke off all relations with the Government of Taiwan.

Kalon Yuthok later had the privilege of being granted a private audience with His Holiness during his rst visit to the US in 1979, and again in 1980 during His Holiness’ visit to Vancouver, Canada. In fact, His Holiness appears in a photo taken with the extended Yuthok family during the 1979 visit to Seattle. So the notion that Kalon Yuthok was persona non grata, and even banished from His Holiness’ sight, does not hold up to the light of day, even if Mr. Thondup may have wished it to be so.

(His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Seattle, 1979 with Kalon Yuthok Tashi Dhondup (right of HHDL)
and Yuthok Jigmie Dorji (left of HHDL), along with their families)


It is especially ironic to note the disdain Mr. Thondup still bears with respect to Dzasa Pangdatshang Yarphel. Pangdatshang, the governor of Yatung from 1943 to 1955, was a successful businessperson who had the honor to host His Holiness’ mother, Gyalyum Chenmo, and her family, at his home in Kalimpong in the early 1950s. In fact, and this is where the irony is most acute, Pangdatshang was the one who stepped forward in 1949 to extend a personal loan to Mr. Thondup when he found himself stranded in India, after leaving China, when Tibetan government trustees in Lhasa declined to send him money. But there’s more. You would think — having known Pangdatshang so well that he had stayed in his home and had even borrowed money from him — that the caption to the photo on page 71 of The Noodle Maker would correctly identify “Reting Regent’s trade representative” for who he was, namely Dzasa Pangdatshang Yarphel.

Another example of the extent of Mr. Thondup’s influence in the Tibetan community in the early days of exile, and his disdain for anyone who thwarted his will, took place in 1966 when my wife and our two daughters went to Darjeeling and Kalimpong where Mr. Thondup’s Chikdril Tsogpa (United Party) turned his personal vendetta against the Pangdatshang and Yuthok families into organizing a demonstration against my wife, Pangdatshang Rinchen Omo, and our two daughters, who were only nine and seven years old. The demonstrators chanted that Pangdatshangs are not Tibetans and they should be eliminated from the Tibetan race and put in jail. Local police found the mob so hostile that they took my family into police protection and escorted them to Siliguri airport for their flight home to Kolkata. The Indian authorities in Kolkata wanted to investigate the incidents, however we considered the events — which took place in Darjeeling and Kalimpong — to be a Tibetan matter and told them that we preferred to take our case to the Tibetan Government in Dharamsala

And that is what we did. In Dharamsala, we encountered a new element of “mob” behavior, but that was also where Mr. Thondup learned that he had, once again, overplayed his hand. On the evening after having an audience with His Holiness, my wife and I were surrounded by a hostile crowd. Tibetan Government officials came and dispersed the crowd and local police arrived intending to arrest the persons who had surrounded us, but we again declined to press charges since they were just pawns being manipulated by the leaders of Chikdril Tsogpa for their own political ends.

Another Chikdril Tsogpa crowd called for the dismissal of Private Office Secretary Khenchung Tara because he had arranged an audience with His Holiness for my wife and me. After the audience, we informed the Tibetan Exile Government that we were prepared to answer any questions that the government may have about the Yuthok family and Pangdatshang family. The investigation commission said I was excused since I was a Yuthok and they only wanted to question my wife about the Pangdatshang family. Her inquisitors did not have a clear agenda as to the line of questioning. So they began with what Americans call “a fishing expedition.” They ended the investigation sessions with a statement that the commission was fully satisfied with all the answers given by Omo Pangdatshang whom they concluded to be a patriotic Tibetan.

Following these and other similar incidents the Chikdril Tsogpa organization gradually became unpopular among the exile Tibetan community. Others who had been similarly mistreated came forward and told their stories and the Chikdril Tsogpa faded into obscurity.

Hopefully that is the fate that awaits Mr. Thondup’s purported biography. Although it pretends to be historically accurate, The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong is clearly a blend of fact and fancy. I have only addressed a small portion of its contents, addressing inaccuracies and falsehoods about which I have some personal knowledge. And, while these alone would justify the co-author’s warnings about The Noodle Maker’s authenticity, I am not the rst to offer such corrections, and I probably will not be the last. They say you must “suspend your disbelief” in order to enjoy a work of ction; but The Noodle Maker pretends to be factual so I advise the reader not to give in to the natural human desire to be told a good story and instead to understand that non-ction should be held to a much higher standard.

NOTES:

[1] Mary Craig, Kundun, (Counterpoint, 1997), Page 353.

[2] Warren W. Smith, Jr., Tibetan Nation, (Westview Press, Inc., 1996), Page 254.

[3] Tsepon W.D. Shakabpa, Tibet: A Political History, (Potala Publications, 1988), Page 291.

[4] Ibid, Page 295.

[5] Ibid, Pages 297-298.

[6] Tsering Shakya, The Dragon in the Land of Snows, (Columbia University Press, 1999), Page 22.

[7] Melvyn C. Goldstein, A History of Modern Tibet: Volume 2 The Calm before the Storm, 1951-1955, (University of California Press, 2007), Page 235.

[8] Ibid, Page 238.

[9] Ibid, Page 375.

[10] Tashi Tsering, The Struggle for Modern Tibet, (M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1997), Page 58.

[11] Ibid, Page 58.

[12] Warren W. Smith, Jr., Tibetan Nation, (Westview Press, Inc., 1996), Page 503. (Department of State Outgoing Telegram, 6 November 1959, National Archives, 793B.00/11-659).





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Hollywood's Latest Whitewash: What Dr. Strange's Casting of Tilda Swinton means

posted May 9, 2016, 8:13 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

 
By Gelek Badheytsang


    If you're not white, chances are when you're watching a movie or a TV series, you'll catch yourself on the lookout for anyone who's not white.

It's a very minor event, this trying to find someone who looks like you onscreen, and most of us probably do it unconsciously.

That Hollywood has blind spots when it comes to race and race-based issues is not a groundbreaking revelation. Its audience, increasingly non-white and vocal, are challenging the films and their filmmakers about this gap when it comes to who is shown on-screen and who isn't.

It's in this context that we find Doctor Strange. Screenwriter C. Robert Cargill, in a fit of exasperation and indignation, responded to criticisms recently that his movie committed the age-old Hollywood tradition of whitewashing by casting Tilda Swinton in the role of the Ancient One. In the Marvel comic book lore, the Ancient One was based on a Tibetan mystical master. He guides the titular hero (portrayed onscreen by Benedict Cumberbatch) in his journey from a brilliant but ordinary surgeon, to a brilliant and powerful superhero; cloaked and ready to join the pantheon of Marvel characters, and the next installment of the money-printing enterprise that is the Avengers series.

Full article at: www.vice.com/en_ca/read/hollywoods-latest-whitewash-what-doctor-stranges-casting-of-tilda-swinton-means





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Entangled China: Not New. Revival.

posted May 9, 2016, 7:56 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated May 9, 2016, 7:57 PM ]

 
By Tsewang Norbu (Germany)


 Second largest economy, only next to USA, China is the rising super power in world order, like it or not. 

But China's rise is not how western observers brush it as, making the success story, a very new phenomena in Chinese history. China story on the other way date back to rich and more powerful past, beginning with first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi. He boasted “his kindness reaches even oxen and horses and there is not a human who did not benefited from his rule." Chinese historian see his rule as golden age of order and justice. The economy of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) of China was the largest in the world during that period. Four great invention: Papermaking, gunpowder, printing and the compass are inventions of ancient China, that had hugely impacted through out  civilization of humankind, beginning from cognitive revolution.  

How China looked today, perhaps is manifestation of her failure of last two hundred long years. With Qing dynasty failure in later part of its reign to vast control and modernise mechanism to govern because of Internal feud within ruling family, and nonetheless sudden and unprecedented advance of west. Both in economy terms and political sphere, to which Qing China fail to walk per with. 

Therefore today in scenario, China being, only recently break out from western shackles. Developing country in world of far developed west. In era, where almost all major scientific and political development evolved in western side of world, be it accepted Communism or Multi party democracy, all trace western origin, though President Xi Jinping, in public accept one and renounce another being foreign with wit. 

Observers and business community, those of them, whom had never seen fortune in last two hundred and plus years in China, and from whose collective mind rich Imperial China has disappeared, as distance memory. They being very certain its beginning of new happy story, declared ‘China a new coming superpowers, rather than revival of old power and economy order. Communist Party of China, the ruling party also is more comfortable with word New than Revival. Though not in any aspect, it govern like dynasty, based on family line, and legitimates itself with Mandate of Heaven. The Mandate of Heaven, like Western frameworks of rule by divine right. Instead legitimates itself in a way that is the polar opposite of the Mandate of Heaven. Still nonetheless frames the State as an embodiment of the Party subsiding with Emperor, seeks loyalty to Party instead of emperor and fly a flag inspired from Party.  

Many sinologists believe, CCP is unwilling to accept it as revival on two terms. One, based on biased that Communist party is only liberator of Chinese people in wake of century of humiliation. Secondly, those dynasty, though may were far astonishing in the matter of record... but also were founded on bloodshed. Truth with even CCP is tainted, that with greater scale. 

However, how immune CCP may claim from China's imperial past, all the soft language, CCP, employ to legitimize its rule are but a old Chinese Imperial political thinking, that suggest imperial period as golden age of order and justice, while composed a dreadful warning, in case of decline and possible dethrone of imperial order, how dark age of chaos and injustice will evolve from nowhere. CCP like another imperial on the run, issue same old message on so many occasion, that removal of CCP from power, in option to multi-party democracy will directly lead China to chaos and in hand of foreign power.  

Under CCP, though for the first time in Chinese history there was a unified political structure, from the local to the national level. But CCP walk beyond national border to impose another national, few of them, like Tibetan, Uyghurs and Mongols doesn't share the same ethnic background, culture influence, political history, and collective idea of Chineseness at all. China's argument on defence is, one, In past all three of them, CCP claim, have fallen under subject of Chinese Imperial authority on different time, and on the other way, which are debatable on what extent. Secondly, based on another imperial believe that suggest, Mandate of heaven was bestowed not in order to exploit the world, but in order to educate humanity. This beautiful phrase was justification given, when Imperial army lead war expedition, killing all neighboring presumed barbarians whom the empire must bring benefits of cultural and economy. CCP, nonetheless is build up on such imagine order, that neighbouring were uneducated, miserable barbarians, whom the party must bring benefits of socialism and Chinese growth even in cost of human life. 

To highlight, CCP official, throw statistics of all kind to show benefits of socialism in Tibet. It's part of believe, without considering, it's not so fair to compare, that in contemporary world between James Dean and Brad Pitt, though both are actor and come from same federation, “Hollywood". Very few may recognize James Dean, anymore. Whereas Brad Pitt is omnipresent.  

Instead of benefit, to reflect opposite reality, Just months before, few days prior Tibetan national uprising, a Tibetan blogger had blogged, “on the ground CCP rules over Tibet, to civilize and pump moral is unjust, when Chinese success story had bankrupt the Chinese moral and cultural Bank, that issue high value on upright deeds than dollar and gold. And perhaps inspired by President Ronald Regan (Tear down the wall), he blogger from Sichuan province wrote on his another blog, “Tear down this invisible wall", on the policy of movement restrictions among Tibetan of outside TAR to travel Lhasa.

Another legacy CCP inherent from China's imperial past is Kowtow. During Qing dynasty, one issue facing foreign embassies to China was the act of prostration known as the kowtow. Foreign diplomats understood that kowtowing meant accepting the superiority of the Emperor of China over their own monarchs, an act which they found unacceptable. But Qing were rather successful on ground if you do not Kowtow, embassies will be not permitted to open in China. 

In our recent collective memory, to demonstrate China's inherent imperial behavioral (kowtow), Mr Cameron is best example. He sparked fury in Beijing in 2013 by meeting the Dalai Lama. In subsequent, Beijing reacted with unofficial economy embargo. To calm down that Chinese fury and win over Beijing again, Mr. Cameron, flied two times to Beijing to show superiority of China, and being PM of country which century before imposed unequal treaties, now so willing to accept subordinate chair, giving great deal of performance to Chinese Boss, United Kingdom no longer, anymore stands firm on her principle of human rights and value. 

Territorial dispute in South China Sea is another great reflection. If we microscope the whole issue, we find dispute among rival countries are many centuries old, for centuries rival wrangled over claim but why tension has steadily increased in recent years? Is it because China wants to create atmosphere of Kowtow threatening with military occupation. Smells like t is, with revival of China, which greatly entangled in glorious but blood-tainted Imperial past.
 




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The Shugden issue used to be just a religious one

posted Apr 13, 2016, 8:35 AM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Apr 13, 2016, 8:35 AM ]

 
By Woeser:


 Author Tsering Woeser uses her blog "Invisible Tibet," together with poetry, historical research, and social media platforms, to give voice to millions of ethnic Tibetans who are denied freedom of expression. In a recent commentary for RFA's Mandarin Service, she talks about the politicization of a centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist dispute by the ruling Chinese Communist Party:

On Dec. 21, 2015, Reuters ran an article by three of their most experienced journalists titled "China co-opts a Buddhist sect in global effort to smear Dalai Lama."

"A Reuters investigation has found that the religious sect behind the protests has the backing of the Communist Party. The group has emerged as an instrument in Beijing’s long campaign to undermine support for the Dalai Lama," the article said.

The name of this Buddhist sect is Dorje Shugden, shortened to Shugden.

Problems first began to emerge with Shugden in the 17th and 18th centuries, but weren't spoken about publicly until the 1990s.

The Dalai Lama, based on many years of observation and more importantly on Buddhist teaching, has said that if monks and believers wish to be true followers of his Gelugpa sect, they should give up the worship of spirits like Shugden and base their practice on Buddhist doctrine.

The problem of Shugden has lasted for 300-400 years, and through five incarnations of the Dalai Lama.

However, a more detailed examination of the issue would mean investigating experiences which are often only accessible to meditators who have worked through certain practices in sequence. The very precise words used to describe such experiences are frequently misunderstood by a lot of people.

But it's not just about spirits: religious belief is in itself a very personal thing.

There is no question that human beings have worshipped all manner of spirits, gods, animal and plant totems through history.

But if you call yourself a follower of Tibetan Buddhism, and you rely on deities and spirits rather than Buddhist doctrine; if you see them as more important than the Buddha himself, then there's a problem.

Even more importantly, adherents of Shugden practice are the fundamentalists of the Gelugpa sect, because they recognize only the Gelugpa school as the true form of Buddhism. They are intolerant, and reject the Nyingma, Kagyu and Sakya and any other schools of Tibetan Buddhism, seeing them as inauthentic.

The Dalai Lama doesn't want to see infighting between the schools lead to the fragmentation of Tibetan Buddhism, and sees the fundamentalism of the Shugden followers as religious intolerance.

Monks in the pay of China

In indicating that followers of the Gelugpa school should drop their Shugden practice, he is effectively handing over greater religious freedom to believers. It is effectively a negation of something negative that yields a positive.

He also makes the point that Shugden practice doesn't really constitute a religious belief. Tibetan Buddhism has its wellsprings in the teachings transmitted by Nalanda monastery, or university [c. 400 B.C.-1200], and it would be sad and terrible if its rich teachings were to be reduced to the worship of a deity and the protection of a single soul [rather than the salvation of all sentient beings].

That's why the Dalai Lama has acted to set the Gelugpa school to rights. This is the first major reform to Tibetan Buddhism since that of the Tsongkhapa [1357–1419].

Unlike today, Tibet was entirely under self-rule back in the day of the Tsongkhapa, and he was only able to bring in his sweeping reforms and restore Buddhism to its original state because religious affairs were the province of religious people. His reforms ushered in an era of unprecedented prosperity.

The Shugden issue used to be just a religious one, and one confined to the Gelugpa school at that, although the Nyingma, Kagyu and Sakya schools were deeply alienated by the desire of Shugden followers to suppress all of the other schools of Tibetan Buddhism, and despised Shugden as a symbol of evil.

But other forces had to get involved, both overtly and covertly, turning the Dalai Lama's reforms into a tug-of-war, and making what should have been a religious matter political.

As the Reuters report put it: "A leaked internal Communist Party document shows that China is intervening in the dispute. The party document, issued to officials [in 2014], said the Shugden issue is 'an important front in our struggle with the Dalai clique'."

What about the Tibetan view? One Tibetan intellectual told me: "There are many good things about Tibetans as a people, and many weaknesses, which include narrow-minded contentiousness and the endless internecine bickering of religious sects. This even goes on among Tibetans in exile ... And they can be greedy too. Some of these followers of Shugden see him as a lifelong cash cow."

He's right. Some people get their livelihood from Shugden; some have got rich from him or been promoted to higher office because of him.

As the Reuters report said, China paid senior Shugden monks to plan and coordinate the activities of the sect’s followers overseas, controlled and funded by the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s ideological unit, the United Front Work Department.

For a lot of people, Shugden isn't about religious belief any more; he's their bread and butter.

Originally published at: http://www.rfa.org/english/commentaries/tibet-shugden-03102016121323.html.



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Appeal letter from Shokjang

posted Apr 11, 2016, 8:52 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

 
By Drukar Gyal (a/k/a Shokjang)


 The following appeal was written by Tibetan blogger Shokjang and translated by International Campaign for Tibet:

To the Qinghai Higher People’s Court

My name is Drukar Gyal, or Druklo in short, and my pen-name is Shokjang. I come from Khagya village in Gengya area of Sangchu (Chinese: Xiahe) county, Kanlho [Gannan] prefecture.[2] On March 19, 2015, I was detained by Rebkong (Chinese: Tongren)[3] county Public Security, and held in the detention centre there from the 20th. On May 5, the formal announcement of my arrest came. On July 21, the Malho (Chinese: Huangnan) Prefecture Intermediate People’s Court convened; I presented the defence that my actions were not illegal, and the court’s deliberation was postponed for over seven months, until the second session on February 17 2016, which announced a sentence of three years imprisonment with two years suspension of political rights.

As I myself cannot accept this judgment, I have written this appeal to the provincial Higher Peoples Court, cherishing the hope of justice being done.

The Malho Peoples Court has condemned the matters I wrote about as “inciting the splitting of the nation”. The main points are (i) A composition about the freedom of religious belief posted on the internet; (ii) A written account of the events of March 16 (2015), when police and soldiers came to search my hotel room at gunpoint;[4] (iii) Reproducing a short section from the book ‘The Division of Heaven and Earth’ on the internet;[5] (iv) Sharing a news report that the Chinese government would hold talks with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on matters unrelated to Tibetan independence; (v) Reproducing on the internet an internal video clip of Chinese police beating ordinary Chinese people in the street; (vi) Having copies of six books, including ‘Sky Burial’ by Wang Lixiong, on my phone.[6]

Concerning the first four points, while I presented the case for my defence earlier, the present sentencing document rules that my arguments citing the constitution and so on are without foundation.

If even the provisions of the Chinese constitution are not valid arguments, I find the basis for the Intermediate People’s Court’s decision hard to understand. With the merest of hopes, I am restating my case that my actions were not illegal, along with an unreserved statement of my position, and request that you the provincial Higher Peoples Court give it full consideration.

1. Freedom of religious belief is an important right of citizens defined by the constitution. On the basis of this constitutional right, my composition expressed my view of the restrictions imposed by armed soldiers on the occasion of the ‘flower offering’ ceremony at Kumbum monastery,[7] and addressed my readers on awareness of the right to religious belief. Any citizen has the right to comment on developments in society according to legally guaranteed rights, while conveying awareness of the law to others is a responsibility. I have only exercised my right and responsibility according to the constitution, and made no mention of separatism etc. as they allege.

With regard to the overall relationship between religion and politics, I clearly wrote that I was expressing my opinions on the outcome of politics dictating to religion and the outcome of religious rights dictating politics; the former [is discussed] in the present composition, and the latter is still unwritten.

To put it straight, this was basically just a short piece that has nothing to do with a serious political allegation like “splitting the nation”. The Malho Intermediate Peoples Court cited a fragment of what I wrote, “…this is not just trampling on the Tibetan people’s right to freedom of religious belief, but on the right of the Chinese people as a whole to religious freedom”, to accuse me of having a separatist attitude. If knowledgeable people were to examine this, would they not find it laughable? Not only did I not make even the slightest reference to separatism, my statement posits no distinction between the Chinese and Tibetan peoples. Their talk of separatism does not establish what is being separated from what.

At that time, the situation at the Kumbum Flower Offering ceremony [Monlam Chenmo, marked by a massive presence of armed troops] was widely discussed on the internet, with lots of devotees giving their opinions one after another, as you well know. After seeing these things, I simply wrote down what I thought, and the photos inserted in my text were entirely borrowed from others, none of them were taken by me. As someone staying in Labrang, my camera lens cannot reach Kumbum monastery, as any ordinary person would understand.

Further, straightforwardly writing down my view of the situation at that time is my right to written expression, a right enshrined in and protected by the constitution. If such situations in the cultural sphere turn into serious political issues, issues of national separatism, does that make visitors from both nationalities who post photos and other observations on the situation at Kumbum monastery on the internet into perpetrators of separatism? By this logic, only a minority of the general public would not be considered as separatists or instigators of separatism. Won’t such extreme suspicion make for an authoritarian stranglehold? Doesn’t it contradict the core socialist values of “freedom, democracy, equality, transparency, upholding law…” etc. being propagated by President Xi Jinping and others? Won’t this apparent deliberate dereliction of the decisions of the top leadership be ridiculed by nations from the four corners of the world? Won’t future generations be ashamed? I request the Higher Peoples Court to review this carefully.

2. On the evening of March 16 (2015) I was in a hotel in Rebkong [Tongren]. Late at night, two people wearing police uniform and army uniform and carrying guns came inside saying they needed to search the place. When I asked them to show some documentary proof, they pointed their guns at me and loudly intimidated me. That was the first time I have experienced the terror of facing the barrel of a gun pointed at me. Such unspeakable, unimaginable intimidation embittered me towards the Rebkong security [forces]. Confronted with those, whether policemen or gangsters I knew not, I wrote that [account of events] in the hope of getting the protection of the security authorities and the public.

In case those searching me at gunpoint that night really were police and army personnel, is it not illegal to conduct a search without a warrant? The injured party here is myself, and the proper object of the court’s protection is me. In case they were gangsters, I am even more so the injured party, and the one due to be protected by the court. However, quite unbelievably, the court instead accused me not only of inciting separatism, but of fabrication, saying “Results of police investigation confirm the use of fabrication and incitement to cause unrest” [quoted in Chinese]. As to whether my account is fabricated, take another look at the CCTV footage from that day, and it can be clearly seen.

The term ‘instigatory’ is a mystery. If one talks about instigating separatism, I have not written even a word of separatism, much less instigated it. If I write about an incident in which I suffered harm, and that becomes an unfounded accusation against me, and I write an appeal to the court about the incident, that does not make me a separatist. Helplessly subject to a punishment that makes your flesh creep the more you think about it, I appeal to the Higher People’s Court to look for the objective truth.

3. The short extract from ‘The Division of Heaven and Earth’ [a major contemporary work by the Tibetan author Shokdung] was copied by someone else and posted on the internet. In the course of my involvement with it, I wrote: “Look at this again and again, and think about it again and again” there. The reason for that is that I do not want to see any more of such tragic bloodshed. I will never fight to secure my own happiness through shedding the blood of others. China is a vast country with 56 different nationalities, and Tibetans are one of the largest minorities. I am a Chinese citizen, and as a Tibetan intellectual, I have to be concerned for the precious lives of my own kin. If doing so is called “instigating separatism”, nothing is more laughable. I might joyfully and voluntarily serve my sentence, but I never want to be a person without regard for the lives of his brothers and sisters. Come to that, I would do the same for our Chinese brothers and sisters.

4. The news about the Chinese government talking with the Dalai Lama was an internal thing. I shared it from my friend’s Weibo [Chinese social media] page. It is extraordinary that even sharing a piece of internal news can be illegal. Such negotiations have taken place in the past, and a few years ago some representatives of the Tibetan government [in exile][8] came to China to hold discussions. But the Malho Prefecture Peoples Court does not seem to understand that this has nothing to do with state secrets and suchlike. Otherwise, there is no basis for such a decision. According to the Malho Prefecture Peoples Court’s way of making judgements, not just I but the Chinese government has committed a serious crime, and internal news channels should just be closed. I appeal to the Higher Peoples Court to show some understanding.

5. The video clip is of a real life incident somewhere in the mainland. It got a very high number of hits. I also shared it from a Chinese friend’s Weibo. The oppressed Chinese public sympathised with the suffering of the victims. As I said earlier, “I would do the same for our Chinese brothers and sisters”. This has nothing whatever to do with so-called separatism, neither can it be construed as illegal. Without even looking into the content of this video clip, the Malho Prefecture Intermediate Peoples Court declared it to be Tibet-related, and landed the weighty accusation of instigating separatism on my little head, a weight I can hardly bear. I await exoneration by the Provincial Higher Peoples Court.

6. It is true that I have read books like Wang Lixiong’s ‘Sky Burial’, but I have not quoted a word from such books, and certainly not passed them on to others. If ‘Sky Burial’ is a book that should not even be read, it is excellent that its author has been shown such leniency by the law. Such application of the law has all my respect. Writers like him should be cherished by the nation and the people. And yet, showing leniency to an author and then punishing his readers – under which point of law this is sanctioned, I really do not know. If my grasp of the law is too poor, I do apologise, but otherwise, I appeal to the Higher Peoples Court to clearly distinguish such “One Country, Two Systems” practices.

There are further implications: for my friends even to say that they had seen the previous three posts on my Weibo page is counted as prime evidence of law-breaking. If even setting eyes on these things is going to be considered illegal, then not only all my writings, but everything down to the birds and the bees could be too. Which intelligent person can accept charges based on evidence ‘ridiculed by people but tolerated by dogs’?

Another thing I don’t understand is that they took away my iPhone5S, because they retrieved those posts through the phone. But if they had found those writings in my house, would they also confiscate the house and its contents?

They may be like ‘an old mouth used to eating, and an old hand used to taking’,[9] but I don’t have that many benefactors, and trust that you, the Provincial Court, will not ‘blow an ill wind into a poor man’s tsampa bag’.[10]

Finally, as a Chinese citizen, my right to free expression and right to compose writings about my experiences are provided for by the constitution, but on account of my lack of familiarity with the law, I apologise if I have not expressed myself well, verbally and in written. Most of all, with my old mother and siblings looking at me with constant tears in their eyes, and my wife and children waiting for me every second, I await a proper decision as swiftly as possible from the Higher Court.

Druklo, also known as Shokjang
February 24, 2016



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