• Monlam Log Pai Dhamsi (Violation of Pledge) By Senge Rabten (New York) His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings recently at the Beacon Theater on Tsong Khapa’s Essence of True Eloquence was truly amazing.  Even though ...
    Posted Nov 22, 2014, 5:48 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002: Background and Implementation By Susan V. Lawrence (Congressional Research Service, U.S.) November 5, 2014SummaryThe Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (TPA) is a core legislative measure guiding U.S. policy toward ...
    Posted Nov 22, 2014, 5:37 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Lobsang Sangay: “The Middle Way is the strategy for finding a solution for Tibetans” By Mercedes Íñiguez Quintela for GEA PHOTOWORDSSpain Originally published at Young, new to politics, and without much administrative experience. That is the political ...
    Posted Nov 20, 2014, 4:56 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Bits and pieces in changing China By Chewing Ngokhang (a.k.a. Ajo Che) In the last few days there have been flurry of activity in the international forum starting with the APEC summit at Beijing ...
    Posted Nov 20, 2014, 4:52 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
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    Posted Nov 20, 2014, 4:45 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
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    Posted Oct 10, 2014, 5:50 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
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  • Tibet: A Nonviolent History of War   By Carole McGranahan (September 25, 2014)  The history of armed resistance has been controversial for Tibet’s nonviolent narrative. On April 27, 1998, Thubten Ngodup set himself on fire to ...
    Posted Sep 27, 2014, 8:16 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
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    Posted Sep 2, 2014, 5:45 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • TNC Condemns China's ‘Lhasa Consensus”   By the Tibetan National CongressAugust 21st, 2014 Tibetan National Congress (TNC) is deeply concerned about the participation of at least 100 foreign politicians and dignitaries in a recent propaganda ...
    Posted Sep 2, 2014, 5:40 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
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Monlam Log Pai Dhamsi (Violation of Pledge)

posted Nov 22, 2014, 5:48 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Senge Rabten (New York)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings recently at the Beacon Theater on Tsong Khapa’s Essence of True Eloquence was truly amazing.  Even though it was hard for was hard for for me to fully understand what was being explained by His Holiness and eloquently translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, I could feel a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation to the Buddha Shakyamuni and all the great masters who paved the way so that ignorant people like me could walk on the path to self-liberation.  As I sat there watching His Holiness explain the text in great detail and often times interrupting only to make sure he didn’t miss relevant points, I could see a man so full of compassion and a sincere desire to help in every possible way  so that we may walk on the right path to liberation.

And yet, just outside the Beacon Theater were a group of  people, mostly western monks and nuns backed by a few Tibetans who were shouting “religious freedom, stop lying, false Dalai Lama” etc.  Obviously they were part of the Dorjee Shugden group and had gathered there with the explicit intent to malign the Dalai Lama with their false allegations and fabricated lies.  Even as a common layman, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pity on these protesters who were ignorant of the true story surrounding the Shugden spirit and who were being used as pawns by the organizers of the New Kadampa Tradition headed by Geshey Kalsang Gyatso.

Well, I thought, the Shugden group could howl and shout for as much as they wanted but this one thing I was absolutely sure.  They could never succeed in their attempts because His Holiness the Dalai Lama has the love and support of the entire Tibetan people who have this unique spiritual relationship which is so special and so precious that not even the strongest of force on this earth can break it.   

They may call him what they want - “false Dalai Lama”, “lier” etc. (the Chinese called him a “demon”, a “wolf in sheep’s coat” and a “jackal”.  And god knows what else they might call him.  But the fact of the matter remains that he is still the simple Buddhist monk and, most important of all, he is still the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet who is adored and loved not only by his own people but by tens and thousands of people around the world. 

So why is this small group of people so hateful in nature?  What is it they want?  Their claim that they have  no religious freedom is not at all true as they continue to worship the Shugden spirit with full freedom just like they used to and, in fact, with even more zeal and enthusiasm. So where does the question of religious freedom come from?  Oh, wait a minute, do they mean the deprivation of their own religious right in their own center where, we are told by former members, they are forced to listen only to Geshey Kalsang Gyatso’s teachings and read books written only by him?  We don’t hear something like this anywhere else! The Dalai Lama admits that he himself lost his freedom when he practiced the Shugden spirit many years ago due to ignorance but says “he is now free to listen to and receive valuable teachings from all the teachers of the Sakya, Kagyud, Nyingma and Bon traditions” without any fear or reservations.

I ask again, why are they so hateful in nature?  Has this something to do with the Shugden spirit itself? When we look back at the violent activities of the Shugden followers in the past, (the brutal murder of the Principal of the School of Dialectics and two of his students in Dharamsala in February of 1997, the beating of the settlement officer Mr. Phurbu Sithar and his wife in the middle of the night in Bylakuppe, the beating of Khensur Rinpoche, burning down of the common storage room where food grains are stored and the death threats to scores of individuals) it certainly looks like the spirit had its hands in all these and had sowed the seeds of hatred and violence in the minds of the people who committed these ghastly crimes.  It is now very clear to us all why it is in our own interest not to engage in the practice of this spirit because of the harm it brings not only between individuals and communities but also between the different schools of Tibetan Buddhism.  The Dalai Lama, mainly out of concern for the Tibetan people, had disapproved the practice of the Shugden spirit but had left it wide open to the people whether to take his advice or not.  He often repeated this.  Khache balue ki ningtam shey yo to.  Nyen dang ma nyen so soi lagpa re” (I have revealed the secrets of Khache Balue but whether you want to take note of it or not is up to you.)  

The Shugden issue, however, has now reached a disturbing level with the intervention of the Chinese government.  It is disturbing because the Chinese are now using the Shugden issue to blame the Dalai Lama for violation of religious freedom and deliberately worsening the situation by destroying statues of Guru Rinpoche in direct show of support to the Shugden followers.  Anyone with the right frame of mind can see that this is politically motivated by the Chinese and the Shugden followers are playing their paid role as puppets made in China. It is so sad and pathetic that Geshey Kalsang Gyatso, Ghangchen Lama and the lot can bow down to such a low level as to bring harm and suffering to their own people.  But then isn’t this the very nature of the Shugden spirit which does nothing but harm?  It is no wonder it has earned the name of “monlam log pai dhamsi”. 

In short, the nature of the Shugden practice can best be described as violent, fundamentalist, fanatic, sectarian and divisive.  Let us all be aware of this.


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The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002: Background and Implementation

posted Nov 22, 2014, 5:37 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Susan V. Lawrence (Congressional Research Service, U.S.)

November 5, 2014


The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (TPA) is a core legislative measure guiding U.S. policy toward Tibet. Its stated purpose is “to support the aspirations of the Tibetan people to safeguard their distinct identity.” Among other provisions, the TPA establishes in statute the State Department position of Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues and defines the Special Coordinator’s “central objective” as being “to promote substantive dialogue” between the government of the People’s Republic of China and Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, or his representatives. The Special Coordinator is also required, among other duties, to “coordinate United States Government policies, programs, and projects concerning Tibet”; “vigorously promote the policy of seeking to protect the distinct religious, cultural, linguistic, and national identity of Tibet”; and press for “improved respect for human rights.”

While the Special Coordinator coordinates Tibet-related U.S. government programs, congressional mandates and earmarked appropriations for most such programs are contained in legislation other than the TPA. The programs include assistance for nongovernmental organizations to work in Tibetan communities in China; an educational and cultural exchange program with “the people of Tibet”; Voice of America and Radio Free Asia Tibetan-language broadcasting into Tibet; assistance for Tibetan refugees in South Asia; a scholarship program for Tibetans outside Tibet; and National Endowment for Democracy programs relating to Tibet.

Congress has shown a strong interest in Tibet since the 1980s, passing dozens of laws and resolutions related to Tibet, speaking out about conditions in Tibet, and welcoming visits by the Dalai Lama and, more recently, the political head of the India-based Central Tibetan Administration. Such actions have long been a source of friction in the U.S.-China relationship. China charges that they amount to support for challenges to Chinese rule in Tibet.

Since passage of the TPA, three bills seeking to update it have passed the House of Representatives. In the 113th Congress, H.R. 4194, the House-passed Government Reports Elimination Act of 2014, would eliminate a report required by the TPA: the provision was removed in the Senate-passed bill. H.R. 2410 in the 111th Congress and H.R. 2601 in the 109th Congress both included substantial revisions to the TPA, but the Senate did not act on either bill.

If the Congress again considers amending the TPA, questions it may wish to consider include:

•    To what degree, if any, should policy toward Tibet be considered in the context of relations with China?
•    Should Congress clarify its position on Tibet’s political status? In the early 1990s, Congress passed legislation declaring Tibet to be an “occupied country,” but subsequent legislation has often implied congressional acceptance of a status for Tibet as part of China.
•    What should be the balance between U.S. programs, activities, and policies focused on the six million Tibetans living under Chinese Communist Party rule and those focused on the approximately 130,000-strong Tibetan diaspora?
•    With dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama’s representatives stalled since January 2010, should the TPA continue to define promotion of such dialogue as the Special Coordinator’s “central objective”?


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Lobsang Sangay: “The Middle Way is the strategy for finding a solution for Tibetans”

posted Nov 20, 2014, 4:56 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Mercedes Íñiguez Quintela for GEA PHOTOWORDS

Originally published at

Young, new to politics, and without much administrative experience. That is the political profile of the Tibetan Sikyong (prime minister). Lobsang Sangay has never set foot in Tibet although he has strong connections with the territory and its history. He was born in a Tibetan settlement in Darjeeling (India), to refugee Tibetan parents. His father was a monk who fled Tibet in 1959, the same year as the Dalai Lama. His uncle was shot dead. His pregnant aunt, unable to tolerate the injustices in everyday life, committed suicide by throwing herself into a river. Sangay attended Delhi University and was the first Tibetan to be awarded a degree from Harvard Law School, where he remained as an academic, organising conferences among Chinese and Tibetan scholars during the 2000′s. The Dalai Lama’s decision in 2011 to relinguish political power opened the door to the electoral process in which Sangay was elected, against all odds, with 55% of the votes. He admits with amusement that working with the Dalai Lama is a privilege shared by no other world leader, and that after talking to him, problems seem insignificant. 


Lobsang Sangye 6775

Lobsang Sangay, Prime Minister of Tíbet in exile. 

 Foto ©  Ángel López Soto, member of GEA PHOTOWORDS


Lobsang Sangay, Tibetan Prime Minister

“The Middle Way is the strategy for finding a solution for Tibetans”


By Mercedes Íñiguez Quintela for GEA PHOTOWORDS


In recent years the keystone of Tibetan politics and strategy regarding China has been the so-called “Middle Way”, or the idea that through dialogue and non violence Tibetans can achieve autonomy within China similar to that enjoyed by Hong Kong or Macao. Meanwhile, Sangay governs in exile from Dharamsala in India. Despite not having been recognised by the Chinese Government, he repeatedly urges the Chinese authorities to sit down to talks and put an end to the repression against his people.


You have been legitimised by the Tibetan community in exile but not by the 6 million Tibetans who live in Tibet and who have not been able to vote in the process and are not represented in the political structure. Do you know what they think of your election?

Firstly, I was elected by the Tibetans in exile throughout the world. This includes all the Tibetans who left Tibet in the 90′s and 2000′s until very recently. So Tibetans inside Tibet have participated indirectly in the vote through them. Secondly, I have received many letters, prayers and popular songs from Tibetans inside Tibet. Songs mentioning my name, the elections and democracy. So there is clearly great acceptance and support for my election within Tibet. Also, I’ve been told and I’ve been shown many photographs of Tibetans who have my photograph, therefore, they are aware of my election and my stand. And what is more important, the previous political leader gave his political authority to the Dalai lama, who passed it on to me, so there is continuity in the legitimacy of the political authority received.


As political leader of an occupied state, how do you represent six million people from a country in which you are a guest?

I direct the Tibetan Central Administration, which functions like any other government. We have seven departments or ministries: Education, which runs over seventy primary and secondary schools and provides scholarships for college; Religion and Culture, with 260 monasteries in India, Nepal and Bhutan; Home, which oversees numerous Tibetan settlements; Health, which runs hospitals and clinics; International Relations with 12 embassies and many offices throughout the world; Security, and Finance. We thus function like any other government. We have a parliament with 44 members who meet twice a year, and I have been elected by Tibetans throughout the world, so it is like a presidential election. We have 600 fulltime employees and 900 working on contract.


Doesn’t India interfere?

In some matters, such as municipal ones, the Indian Government is in charge of administering water and electricity, and also legal matters are submitted to the Indian courts. Apart from that, we manage matters ourselves.


Do you think the death of the 14th Dalai Lama will be a turning point? Will it pose a challenge to the survival of the defence of the Tibetan cause as it is now stands?

His Holiness is 79, but is in excellent health and will live many more years. I am sure that when the time comes many different points of views and strategies will be advocated, but non violence will remain our integral and non negotiable principle. The Middle Way is the mainstream policy and is supported by the vast majority. So we believe the matter must be resolved during the Dalai Lama’s lifetime. Different points of view are bound to happen and are already happening, but we shall resolve these differences peacefully and democratically.


On what points do you differ with the Dalai Lama regarding how to interpret the Middle Way?

It is the same policy: the Middle Way approach. The Dalai Lama supports the Middle Way aproach and I continue with the same policy. His Holiness introduced democracy to the Tibetan people, and I, myself, am a product or result of a democratic election. So I, too, subscribe to the universality of democracy and freedom. There is no difference in our points of view.


Yes, but giving up asking for a democratic system is very important. You promote integration within the Chinese Communist system…

Democracy is what we practice, what we aspire to. We made a choice because we want genuine autonomy within China, with Chinese laws. But Chinese laws do not allow democracy, and what I am trying to say is that we want real autonomy for the Tibetan people. Democracy is not part of our demand, but yes, given the choice, we want democracy any day. But when I say we want genuine autonomy within China, within the Chinese Constitution, we are not putting democracy as part of that condition. It’s not that we don’t want democracy, but once you accept the Chinese Constitution, the Chinese Constitution does not allow democracy. That is what His Holiness said and what I say: genuine autonomy, within China and within her laws.


Lobsang Sangay - Namgyal Monastery - Rezo por Inmolados 7791

Lobsang Sangay praying for inmolated tibetans at Namgyal Monastery, Dharamsala. 

 Foto ©  Ángel López Soto, member of GEA PHOTOWORDS


Autonomy means a certain degree of self-government. What type of self-government do you envision when you talk of genuine autonomy? 

What we aim for is practical autonomy that allows us to practice our religion, our culture and our language, and one that we are able to administer ourselves. The environment has to be protected because this is vital, and vital for all Asia. Our resources also have to be protected. What we seek is a practical and expert administration.


Do you think the Chinese Government will allow you to have this genuine autonomy?

I hope so, and think they should allow it. It is also in their interest.



Because Hong Kong has a constititional system, as does Macao, and Shenzen, the province of Canton and Shanghai all enjoy greater autonomy. So within China many autonomies are allowed and they have special treaties with other regions.


But they have special agreements because they are very important economic zones, the economy demands…

That is true, but we have very powerful reasons. We were not part of China when it was founded in 1949. Tibet had an autonomous culture and history that were and are completely different. So we seek autonomy so that our culture, religion and language may endure. So it is a completely different question. We are not asking for autonomy based on a market economy. Our emphasis will be on our culture, language and religion.


In recent years, 131 Tibetans have self-immolated as a form of protest calling for democracy and freedom for Tibet. Do you think that by asking for genuine autonomy, you are to a certain degree betraying them and all political prisoners? 

As far as the Tibetan Central Administration is concerned, we categorically discourage self-immolation. Life is precious. We support the aspirations of those who self-immolate, and the aspirations of those who protest. We discourage the act, but we support the aspiration. I think there is some confusion in the terms in English and Tibetan. In Tibetan, independence is rangzen, while freedom is rangwangy, which means basic individual freedom. We believe that supporting the proposal of the Middle Way has to be understood as basic individual freedom for Tibetans.


If the genuine autonomy you talk of is obtained, do you think they will let you and the Dalai Lama go to Tibet? 

Once an agreement is reached, they should allow us to return because that will be part of the agreement. Whether or not they allow me to go to Tibet is secondary, but allowing the Dalai Lama to do so would be the wisest decision, as our main concern is granting those six million Tibetans real autonomy. The Tibetans in Tibet are suffering, our environment is being destroyed, our culture is being diluted, our language is not being used and is discouraged. We want to change all that. We want Tibetans to use their own language in Tibet, practise their own culture and maintain their own traditions in Tibet; that is our primary objective. We want better conditions in Tibet than the existing ones. Democracy is also an objective, but is not our immediate goal. Our immediate objective is autonomy for the Tibetans who live imprisoned in a very harsh reality.


The Chinese authoridites labelled you a terrorist, even before you were elected Prime Minister. Do you think they will accept you as a spokesperson? 

Why not? If they wish to do so, they can talk to whoever they wish. There are many cases in which governments call someone a terrorist, and later talk and find a solution. For example, Ian Paisley in Northern Ireland. Now, whether or not they accept me as a spokesperson or not, that too is secondary. We are very open in that regard. They talked in the past with the Dalai Lama, so they should continue to talk with him, so that we can resolve the matter of Tibet. That is our stand. So we are very flexible.


What is it like to practice non violence, and yet be labelled a terrorist? 

Ha ha! You can only laugh at that. I spent 16 years at Harvard Law School, maybe I received some type of training there, ha ha ha! They tend to use that type of label, and, well, it’s just laughable.


Talking of democracy, in the Government in exile there is no opposition or platform for political parties. Would that be a step to consider in the future or will you keep the existing structure?

At the moment we are a partyless democracy, but anybody can vote, stand for election and vote for whomever they wish. We are talking of a small community of around 90,000 people. Political parties are always private initiatives, and there were a few political parties in the past, in 1992, but they did not last. That is why political parties do not have much support among the people, but nobody is preventing their existence. It is for the people to decide. This is what Tibet prefers at this moment. If there were political parties, I would not have won these elections because I come from outside the system, I am young, I had never been in Dharamsala before nor been part of the administration, nor was I a member of Parliament. I hadn’t been a minister or a secretary, or even a bureaucrat. I came from nothing. That is the beauty of Tibet’s democratic system, that anyone can vote for whoever they want and surprises can happen. If there were political parties, the establishment would control the process and only the establishment’s candidates would win.


Given that Tibetans in Tibet are being silenced, do you feel that the diaspora has the responsibility to preserve Tibetan identity for future generations?

Of course! 90% of our monasteries and nunneries were destroyed, and they have tried to destroy Tibet’s Buddhist civilisation, so we have to preserve and revive them and thrive because our civilisation is at stake. Without a doubt we are doing the best we can. We have to rebuild and revive in exile all the major monasteries that were destroyed in Tibet. Things are happening inside Tibet, and I think our Buddhist civilisation is very much alive now.


What is your opinion of the lawsuits in Spain for justice in Tibet and the “Agenda for your consideration” submitted to the Tibetan Parliament in support of international law and universal justice for tibet, which mentions the lawsuits in Spain? 

Spain’s National High Court accepted the cases that had been filed by individual Tibetans, including Thubten Wangchen, so for them it was symbolic, but nonetheless, it was a verdict of justice. I sent a message to Tibetans throughout the world, including inside Tibet, that justice can prevail even symbolically, but then there was, there is a pause in the jurisdiction process. It is perplexing that with the lawsuits already under investigation, a law that was already approved can then be retracted. This sends mixed signals to Tibetans around the world. There are places in the world where tradition is not permitted, yet the law should follow its course.


Will there be any type of formal stand with regard to this? 

We are not going to take any formal stand. As far as the Tibetan Central Administration is concerned, we are most concerned with the Tibetans who live in Tibet, and the Middle Way is the strategy to find a solution for Tibetans.


Mercedes Iñiguez Quintela has a degree in Journalism at the Complutense University of Madrid and a Master´s Degree  in Journalism BCNY of Les Heures (University of Barcelona) and Columbia University of New York. She has lived and worked for 15 years in diferent countries and has worked for several media as Il Sole 24 Ore, The Guardian, La Vanguardia and El Periódico de Catalunya, among others. In the last years she has specialized in issues such as gender empower​ment and human rights.

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Bits and pieces in changing China

posted Nov 20, 2014, 4:52 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Chewing Ngokhang (a.k.a. Ajo Che)

In the last few days there have been flurry of activity in the international forum starting with the APEC summit at Beijing. It was quite evident that this time Xi Jinping, the President of People’s Republic of China, the General Secretary of the  Communist Party of China, and the Chairman of the Central Military looked more robust, accentuated by his dark overcoat in the wintry evening at Zhongnanhai, as opposed to the summer summit in 2013, at Sunnyvale, California, in casual shirts  sleeves during which Xi stated that the Pacific Sea is big enough for both the  United States and China.

Since then Xi Jinping has harnessed the reins of power by making some bold moves in tackling corruption which he believed would disintegrate the party if not checked. Thus he vowed that he would start from the tiger to the fly. Sure enough Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing leader and Liu Zhijun, the Railway minister were both incarcerated for graft infraction charges. China’s court found both guilty and sentenced the former life imprisonment, and the latter death sentence which was later reprieved. Besides doing away with sumptuous banquets, he also made it mandatory that young adults must visit their aging parents once a week; sounds like a conscientious leader in tune with sentiments of older people.

Certainly the world sees that China now has a leader who seems much more assertive and not pusillanimous in any way. Besides border incursions at several contiguous regions to China, China has more than flexed its muscles in the South and East China seas making many states in the area feel jittery, mainly Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, etc., and in addition, cultivating new relations in far flung Pacific island nations. On November 23, 2013 China imposed “Air Defense Identification Zone” (ADIZ) requiring all foreign aircrafts to report their presence over the area mapped. The border incursions are nothing new; it has been going on for decades. The recent opening up of BRICS or CRIBS bank to challenge WTO and IMF should also strengthen the Yuan by making it a global currency. These tactical moves seem to have been borrowed from the famous Chinese military general of the 6th century B.C. by the name of Sun Tzu, a strategist and philosopher.  His writings titled “The art of war” points out to ‘WWWWW’ or win war without waging war. And, in the Hollywood film ‘Enter the Dragon’ Bruce Lee calls it the art of fighting without fighting.

Incidentally, China’s three most famous martial art experts and actors had and have some affinity with Tibetan Buddhism and its rich cultural heritage. While attending University of Washington in Seattle in the 1960s, Bruce Lee was said to have had a class in Buddhism under Nornang Geshe-La who recently passed away in India after completing his pilgrimage in the holly Buddha land. Although well acquainted with the Tibet issue Jackie Chan seemingly prefers to remain apolitical which is understandable. And Jet Li a devout Buddhist had visited Dharamshala and met with the Dalai Lama, Karmapa and other Tibetan religious figures. As advised by Li during his visit the Dalai Lama had sagely supported the 2008 Olympics at Beijing.

Today the United States’ Monroe Doctrine is not relevant as John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of the state has stated early this year. In addition to gaining traction in Africa, China is already discussing with Mexico’s leaders in building a super speed railway network there, and decision is already made to ahead with the project. Making a canal across Nicaragua is also in the offing which can damage the relevance of the antiquated Panama Canal, thus withering away the leverage of the west in the region.

Many youths in China lament that their ancestors had not done enough to expand China’s territorial ambition although we Tibetans see it differently. The Chinese have historically shunned the vast sea for whatever reason except for a brief period. It is necessary to point out here that China’s Zheng He has sailed several times to the eastern shores of Africa and other nations over one hundred years before Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas. Subsequently, the Ming Emperor forbade all seafaring adventures outside the coastal areas of China. Is it possible the emperor had entertained the notion that venturing far in the choppy waters of  the  sea had contributed to the  demise of the Yuan Dynasty, as a result of its failed ambition to conquer Japan? It is believed that the Mongols with the aim of conquering Japan, with about ten thousand ships loaded with their elite generals, warriors and soldiers were met with tsunami that more or less wiped out the entire fleet, thus marking the beginning of the end of the Yuan Dynasty and the Mongol empire. A lesson learned at the time that the land powers should not venture out in the vast uncharted seas. Today the scenario is different as evidenced by the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands dispute between China and Japan.

As predicted decades back that the west would slowly shift its focus to the Asia Pacific since China is becoming more assertive in the area; consequently, the States’ pivot in the Pacific. Regardless of all the changes in geopolitics across the globe, China is bent on furthering its influence not only in the Pacific but also across the west of Xinjiang under the auspicious of Silk Road Economic Belt. This is clearly evidenced by its plans to connect China to Europe with the building of ‘Silk Road’ railways through some former Soviet states. Their plan to build a mega city at Horgos in western Xinjiang, bordering Kazakhstan will have an impact that is beneficial to more employment opportunities in Xinjiang as well as other regions along the belt. The work has already begun. When the building of the city is completed it should be twice the size of the New York City. Construction and building is in China’s blood as demonstrated by past building endeavors. They are already in the process of building a mega dam across the Tsangpo River (Brahmaputra) that is twice the size of the Three- Gorges Dam. Experts spell environmental catastrophe.

Amidst all these juggernauts where do we stand? Ever since Xi acknowledged religion in people’s life, even CCTV hosts had panel discussions on religion and the need for it in people’s life. Professor Zhang Wei Wei of Fudan University urged China to respect all religions. It is also interesting to note that another scholar stated that there are at least two hundred million Buddhists in China although the actual figure is believed to be about double the number; that’s more than the entire population of the U.S. And, an interesting comment came from CCTV’s Tian Wei, one of two hosts on its program Dialogue that China’s elites and the younger generation are opting for Tibetan Buddhism while the poorer peasants showed some ecumenical propensity.

Early this month while interviewing one of China’s think tanks on Dialogue, Yang Rui deftly interjected that recently he had a Dutch friend for dinner who stated that economic development in Tibet cannot be measured, since it’s a very spiritual region with many devout Buddhists to whom pursuit of religion is second to none.

To this the think tank replied that there was a lot of truth to the statement. And the best line came from Professor Tu Weiming of Beijing University that China must foment dialogue in order to bring cultural harmony without cultural homogenization. He stated China must show empathy, sympathy and compassion to other cultural groups in the nation.  There are many think tanks, scholars and professors from prominent China’s universities dexterously urging their government to reform. If the government heed their call and show a degree of compassion, and loosen the screw on Tibet it can be serendipitously conducive to the soul of the spiritually starved nation and its people.

So, China is changing rapidly except in the case of Tibetans who are still being severely punished for articulating their beliefs in the wisdom of the Dalai Lama and their religious rights. Change in China’s attitude and reforms are inevitable as pointed out by one former ambassador.  Chairman Mao got a rating of 70% from Deng Xiaoping who had said 30 % bad and 70 % good, and let’s leave it at that.

However, Deng Xiaoping, the architect of today’s China got a rating of 80%. Had it not been for the excesses of the 1989 incident, Mr. Deng could have got a 90% rating.  Now if Xi Jinping wishes to surpass the previous two and earn a 90% rating or more, it is vital he resolves the Tibet issue once and for all. This can be achieved through meaningful dialogue, and heed to a new MMW (Modified Middle Way) Initiative. Resolving Tibet issue would be a stunning feat for Xi Jinping in the international arena, further ameliorating his growing image and China as a whole. Now the ball is on Xi’s court.


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Tibetans Applaud Relocation of Nobel Peace Summit to Rome After Being Scrapped over Dalai Lama Visa Row

posted Nov 20, 2014, 4:45 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Tibetan National Congress

Relocation comes after Nobel Laureates boycott Cape Town summit due to South Africa’s denial of visa to the Dalai Lama. Tibetan National Congress continued campaigning for relocation to Rome for a month.


The 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates was scheduled to convene in Cape Town, South Africa in October 2014, but was later cancelled following several Nobel Peace laureates pulling out of the event after the South African government succumbed to pressure from China to deny a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. 

The Summit will be now moved to Rome from December 12 to 14, 2014where it was first hosted and then seven times after; Rome where the Secretariat's office is based. The Permanent Secretariat of Nobel Peace laureates summit is yet to make a formal announcement. But a formal invitation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is an honorary citizen of Rome, has been accepted. 

The Tibetan National Congress (TNC), an independent Tibetan political party, extended its deepest gratitude to the laureates and Summit secretariat. "This is a major victory for justice and for peace,” TNC President Jigme Ugen stated. "We thank these esteemed Nobel laureates and the secretariat for standing on the side of justice. This relocation allows His Holiness the Dalai Lama to attend, and allows the Summit to avoid the irreparable taint of accepting censorship by the Chinese government, the only regime in the world currently imprisoning a Nobel Peace Laureate."

Tomorrow, TNC-Europe board members will be visiting the offices of the Permanent Secretariat and the Mayor of Rome to thank them and offer traditional Tibetan khataks.

TNC also thanked the over 10,000 people who signed its petition launched in early September, respectfully urging the Nobel laureates to boycott the Summit and relocate to a venue where a government will not censor which voices get heard. Signatories supporting this call to "boycott or relocate" included prominent political leaders from six countries, dissidents, lawyers, and musicians and artists from across the world.

On September 24, the executive director of the F.W. de Klerk Foundation, one of the Summit organizers in South Africa, contacted TNC to say that TNC's campaign "may lead to the cancellation of the Summit." TNC expressed its firm belief that the relocation of the Summit would demonstrate that Beijing and its allies cannot dictate the terms of a Nobel meeting. In a press release distributed globally by PR Newswire on October 2nd, TNC suggested Rome as an alternate venue for the Summit, and has been campaigning for the relocation to that city for the past month.

“The relocation of the Summit to Rome is a testament to the strength of the universal ideals of freedom for which His Holiness the Dalai Lama stands, and of the power of collective action to successfully resist the bullying tactics of the Chinese government," added Ugen. “Additionally, we strongly support holding a future Summit in Cape Town, once the South African government puts the interests of its own people before the interests of the Beijing regime," said Ugen.


Media Contact:

Europe: Tenam – 011 33 6 33 69 90 99

USA: Jigme Ugen – 612 812 5846


The TNC is a political freedom movement established as a democratic, non-sectarian, non-regional, pan Tibetan movement that seeks to pursue the ultimate goal of restoring a sovereign and independent Tibetan nation state.

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Tibetan Political Review and Yellow Journalism

posted Oct 31, 2014, 6:21 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Oct 31, 2014, 6:30 PM ]

By Tsering Wangchuk*
Press Officer, Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) 

Originally published on, the official website of the CTA 

In a classical fashion of Yellow journalism, the Tibetan Political Review (TPR) in a recent article titled ‘The Cost of Missed Opportunities’ sought to conclude through a series of preposterous ‘opinions’ that the Central Tibetan Administration has been ‘silent’ on issues ranging from Hong Kong protests to South African government’s refusal of visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

What is more appalling is that the journal in question promote itself as ‘online journal dedicated to advancing constructive discussion of the important political issues facing the Tibetan nation’.

Demonstrating its non-neutral ‘journalistic’ disposition, the article published on 14 October 2014, claims that CTA leadership is silent on Hong Kong pro-democracy protest based on the reasons they have ‘opinionated’ in their previous articles.  Have TPR not rushed to an unsubstantiated hasty conclusions, these misunderstandings and misrepresentation could have been avoided.  On 13 October 2014, just a day before publishing their article, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay spoke at length about the aspiration of Tibetans, Chinese and of the people of Hong Kong for democracy at Forum 2000, to which His Holiness the Dalai Lama was invited last year.  Sikyong had responded to questions by AFP and Times Now regarding Hong Kong protest within few days after Occupy Central movement began.

Even more damning allegation came regarding South African government barring visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama to attend Nobel Summit.  TPR states that “the CTA leadership was silent on this entire issue until the day when the summit cancellation was announced.  That day, two Nobel laureates happened to be in Dharamsala on a long-scheduled visit timed with Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday”.  TPR decided to omit the crucial information that the two Nobel laureates were in fact invited by the CTA.  It is a blatant attempt to mislead the readers to conform to their narration.

On 2nd October 2014, at the invitation of the CTA, nobel laureates Ms. Jody Williams, Ms. Shirin Ebadi and a representative of ICBL, who were first to cancel their schedule for Nobel summit, participated in an event held in Dharamshala which is a part of ‘Year of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’.  To quote Nobel Women’s Initiative regarding the South Africa visa issue, “Nobel peace laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Leymah Gbowee and a representative of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) are pulling the plug on their scheduled trip to South Africa to attend the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, being held October 13-15.”  In addition to these Nobel laureates, Liz Bernstein, executive director of Nobel Women’s Initiative and her team also converged in Dharamshala at the invitation of CTA.  However, this is a collective victory for all the Tibetans for whom the CTA represents.  And most importantly, because of His Holiness’s stature as a global leader of conscience.

To remind the TPR editorial, the CTA has a Representative Office in Pretoria, South Africa.  And one of the most important mandates of all the 11 offices of Tibet around the world is regarding His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  Unbelievably, TPR is unaware of the fact that Offices of Tibet under CTA directly engages with governments, organizers of His Holiness’s visit and all related issues to it which may not necessarily be conducted on tabloid.

The TPR further states that the CTA had been silent on the Scotland referendum and on the jailing of Ilham Tohti, a prominent ethnic Uyghur scholar.  While it is important to share the sorrow and joy of those akin to Tibetans, it is more important to judge whether any comment or statement may jeopardize an ongoing process.  However, again, if only TPR had watched the most recent proceedings of the Tibetan Parliament in exile which is available on internet, they would not have missed Sikyong speaking on the Scotland referendum.

The Central Tibetan Administration as the democratic representative of the Tibetan people has the two main objectives: to restore freedom in Tibet and the welfare of Tibetans in exile.  While individuals have the freedom to express their views and opinions, the freedom entails responsibility.  Recently, the TPR journal accepted an award for journalism given by Students for a Free Tibet called ‘Lhakar Award for Journalism 2014’.  To be a responsible journal, it would be wise to offer its readers an apology for factually incorrect article to uphold the ethics of journalism.

* Tsering Wangchuk is the press officer of the Department of Information and International Relations, Central Tibetan Administrations. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the CTA.


Originally published at:

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Rajoy’s kowtow to China’s new emperor

posted Oct 21, 2014, 5:43 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Oct 21, 2014, 6:07 PM ]

By José Elías Esteve Moltó

Centuries ago, when the “Central Empires” flourished, representatives of “barbarian” missions (i.e., foreign diplomats and other subjects) were required to kneel three times and even prostrate themselves with their heads on the floor nine times while the Chinese Emperor, the Son of Heaven, sat unmoved on his high throne. This protocol of solemn reverence to the celestial supreme power, known as the kowtow, was necessary for maintaining friendly diplomatic and commercial relations with the Beijing Empire. The basic aim of this Confucian court ritual was to show public respect and submission towards a superior; in other words, to openly acknowledge the Emperor’s hierarchical rank with regard to his subjects or vassals.

Today’s times of upheaval appear, among other numerous and pernicious effects, to have rescued this embarrassing ritual belonging to the etiquette of the exotic Far East. Although the differences are not subtle, and today’s new kowtow has been performed by the Spanish Government before Beijing’s new leaders, who instead of sitting on a divine throne, sit in the soft armchairs of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo while amassing million-dollar fortunes in fiscal paradises that secretly evade the law and Maoist utopia. Whatever the case, this initial return to the imperial past has turned out to be a matter of imperative necessity, as economic interests had to be safeguarded and the Spanish debt placed in the hands of the new oriental owners, as our Foreign Minister García Margallo openly admitted.

The first time this kowtow was acted out in public was on 17 January 2014 when the spokesman of the Popular Parliamentary Group, Alfonso Alonso, presented the Spanish Parliament with a bill to modify Organic Law 6/1985 of Judicial Power, of 1st July, regarding universal justice. Once again, international law was invoked in an attempt to violate the most fundamental values and principles of international law itself. The explanation also took a quantum leap into the distant and obsolete past improved upon in international law, returning to a time when human rights were the preserve of states. Thus, international treaties and commitments signed in Rome, which led to today’s International Criminal Court, were unashamedly invoked in order to cut short decades of a tireless fight against impunity initiated as a last resort for victims of forgotten and ignored international crimes. Indeed, universal jurisdiction was being used as the only lifeline from which to lodge cases against heinous international crimes that had not succeeded in obtaining effective guarantees of protection in the conventional and extra-conventional international systems of the United Nations or in regional human rights courts, let alone in the very discredited International Criminal Court.

Thus, when a new globalisation of justice began to take its first steps enabling unacceptable black holes in the international sphere to be tackled, which pointed to the leaders of some of the countries with veto powers in the Security Council, political alarm bells began to go off.

It was at this point that it was decided to take a second Great Leap, not Forwards as the Great Helmsman had, but backwards into a past that seemed to have been overcome. In effect, this new law has returned to an outdated past in order to rescue the principle of non interference in internal affairs and thus safeguard and protect political and military leaders who, in addition to committing genocide and torture, are first and foremost first-class commercial partners. And how they have gone to the aid of the Chinese leaders! Only weeks after passing the reform of universal justice, the Tibet and Falun Gong cases against the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party were stayed by the Plenary of the Special Court’s Criminal Court, with the agreement of the public prosecution, although five of the investigative judges voted against.

The political favour of closing the judicial investigation had to have its recompense. Thus, to call in the favour, on his official visit to Beijing accompanied by the CEOE (the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations), Rajoy will have to perform the last submissive prostration of the kowtow ritual and once again kneel before the de facto powers of China, while never losing sight of large corporate interests. It is clear that defending the Spain brand seems to require this humiliating obsequiousness.

Europe and Spain are in crisis, but the economic recession is not the principal factor or its original cause. The crisis has its roots in the disintegration of the so-called values of European identity (those of Article 2 of the Treaty of Lisbon), which should in fact be an international point of reference. If democracy and human rights in Europe kowtow to autocratic and corrupt powers like those of China’s current regime in order to save our public debts and the million-dollar investments of trans-national companies, further poverty will be inevitable: social, legal and even ethical poverty. 


José Elías Esteve Moltó is a professor of public international law and secretary of Valencia University’s Human Rights Institute. He is the author and researcher of the Tibet lawsuits lodged in Spain’s Special Court. 

Article originally published by EL PAIS Planeta Futuro (in Spanish) 30th Sept. 2014 at: 

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Forum on the Development of Tibet: Impact Analysis

posted Oct 17, 2014, 6:12 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

 By Tenzin Norgay*

The “Forum on the Development of Tibet, China” organized in Lhasa on 12-13 August 2014 is a significant public relations activity in the Tibet component of Beijing’s goal to build China’s soft power. In her quest to become a super power, the Tibet factor has made significant dent in the country’s soft power metric. The outburst of Tibetan political and human rights grievances in 2008 and the subsequent crackdown made a deep negative impact on the country’s worldwide image despite the successful staging of the Olympics. Beijing’s diplomatic charm offensives around the world have been relatively successful but the Tibet issue creates considerable doubts about the country as a model for others to follow in finding solutions to their domestic issues. 

So far, Beijing’s decades old main policy planks of development and stability in Tibet have turned a hard sell. The 2014 Tibet Development Forum is definitely an escalation in public relations exercise to disingenuously persuade the international audience to adopt its success narrative. However, the results are not guaranteed. Just as there is no international audience for the brittle propaganda started in 2009 in announcing plans to spend billions of dollars to develop global media giants “to use soft power rather than military might to win friends abroad,” positive outcomes from the conference is also uncertain. 

While Beijing did manage to maneuver the current forum on its position by bringing together a good number of qualified professionals on its side, the impact of such a publicity gain remains to be seen in the future. Except for positive reportages by the domestic media and one India based media, the global media took a low level of interest on the forum; and where there were discussions, the associated controversies may have outweighed the public opinion against the conference objectives. 

In fact, the “Lhasa Consensus” which is purely a political statement may have done more harm than good to Beijing’s public relations goals as consumers of international media can smartly distinguish between good and bad publicity. Ill managed publicity can boomerang on the state’s credibility which is a contradiction to its goal in building soft power. For example, the veracity of the statement is easily destroyed with negative impacts through New Zealand’s former Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker’s response to the BBC’s inquiry on his consent to the document. He responded, “I’m aware that the statement was made but I certainly haven’t signed up to it. I think a number of people who were there were a little surprised to hear about that statement…Certainly the conference that I’ve been attending has been focused on sustainable development and there were no real political themes running through it at all.” Similarly, Irish politician Pat Breen in an email response to the Irish Tibet Support Group replied, “I was asked to sign the Lhasa Consensus statement and I refused to do so.” Corroborating this statement was the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade’s response which stated “Your email was considered by the joint committee at its meeting on Wednesday 3rd September 2014. The joint committee directed me to inform you that Chairman Breen did not sign the “Lhasa Consensus”. Similarly, the Rector of University of Vienna stated that “according to Prof. [Richard] Trappl, the Lhasa consensus statement was not a discussion topic for the participants of the conference. The statement was prepared by the organizers of the conference and simply read out at the end of the conference…Prof. Trappl is not responsible for the content of the consensus statement…The consensus statement does not reflect in any way the official position of the University of Vienna.” 

Being the fourth international development forum on Tibet, the central government seemingly is on a hurry to gain leverage from its forum investments beginning from 2007. The controversial “Lhasa Consensus” statement is a calculated political statement under the guise of being a statement on development in Tibet. 

Development is a jargon popularly understood in terms of high GDP and infrastructure. In such a narrow understanding of the term, human well-being is sidelined in pursuit of double digit economic growth to impress the domestic constituency and international audience. While there definitely is a short term gain in such a pursuit, the long term implications of putting under the carpet today’s problems may come to haunt disadvantaged policy makers in the future. This is what is problematic in Tibet’s “development” as the local government is under a massive bad debt to the central government and today’s economic and development gains are not sustainable so long as the human welfare aspect of it is simply sidelined. The forum topics while broadly covered various topics in development studies overlooked the rights based approaches in developmental work and also the local opinion impact resulting from the state’s development programs so far. It falls short of the inclusivity standards needed for any development program to work successfully. 


The “2014 Forum on the Development of Tibet, China”, jointly organized by the State Council Information Office and the People’s Government of Tibet Autonomous Region, saw participation of around 100 delegates. Titled as “The Development of Tibet: Opportunities and Alternatives” with “Sustainable Development”, “Inheritance and Protection of Tibetan Culture” and “Ecological and Environmental Protection” as sub-themes is the fourth international development forum on Tibet. The first three were held in Vienna, Rome and Athens in 2007, 2009 and 2011 respectively. Unlike the previous three forums, the current forum drew the largest number of 41 foreign delegates comprising of academics, politicians and journalists representing 31 countries. 52 Chinese participants also attended the forum. 

Country wise representation of the international delegates are as follows: Austria (2), Belgium (1), Britain (2), Canada (1), Chile (1), Costa Rica(1), Czech Republic (1), Iceland (1), India (2), Ireland (2), Italy (1), France (1), Greece (2), Japan (1), Kenya (1), Malaysia (1), Mexico (1), Mongolia (1), Nepal (1), New Zealand (3), Nigeria (1), Peru (1), Poland (1), Romania (1), Russia (1), Slovenia (1), South Africa (1), Sri Lanka (1), Switzerland (1), Thailand (2), U.S. (3). 

*The writer is a senior fellow at the Tibet Policy Institute. 

This article was originally published on on 18 September 2014

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Does China Plan to Do Away with Its Minorities?

posted Oct 10, 2014, 5:50 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Thubten Samphel 

Thubten Samphel, Executive Director of Tibet Policy Institute, a think tank that functions as a research-oriented intellectual platform for the Central Tibetan Administration.                                            Thubten Samphel, Executive Director of Tibet Policy Institute (CTA)

During a visit this week to the Tibetan countryside of Dechen in Yunnan, Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the standing committee of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party and chairman of China’s top advisory body, assured Tibetan Buddhist leaders that the party would fully implement its policy to ensure religious freedom.

We don’t know whether Tibetans buy into such assurances. But we are certain that the majority of Chinese intellectuals who express an opinion on China’s minority policy are not happy with such assurances. In fact, they are busy overturning China’s current minority policy. As far as its minority policy is concerned, China is going through a Hundred -Flowers moment.

Recommendations to changes in China’s minority policy are blooming like so many flowers under a clear sky. Once the preserve of the Chinese Communist Party, China’s minority policy now seems open for debate to the Chinese public. Scholars and officials within and outside the party establishment are seizing the opportunity to voice their concerns on what was once a highly sensitive topic.

Why is the debate on China’s minority policy made public? Is the party gauging public opinion before launching into a new policy towards the minorities?

Whatever it is, the majority view of Chinese intellectuals on the party’s current minority policy is that it is a major failure. The public outburst of such sentiments have been prompted by the 2008 protests that swept Tibet and the 2009 violence in Urumqi in Xinjiang in China’s far west. Last year’s suicide attack in the centre of Beijing, the kniving to death of 29 bystanders while injuring 130 others at the Kunming railway station this March and the recent spate of violence in Xinjiang during and after President Xi Jinping’s visit to the region make these scholars fret over the cohesion of the Chinese state. This concern over the continued cohesion of China compels scholars to recommend policy options that are retrogressive.

The various strands of thinking of some of China’s respected scholars and top officials dealing with minority issues on how to make adjustment to minority policy in order to strengthen national cohesion have been compiled and analysed by James Leibold in his concise and comprehensive study, Ethnic Policy in China: Is Reform Inevitable?

Chinese thinking on a new minority policy could be categorised into the following: thinking of establishment scholars and officials, ultra-nationalists, liberals and the party establishment. The common strand on how China should treat its minorities is the spectre of the break-up of Yugoslavia and the implosion of the Soviet Union. To avoid such a fate, rather than expanding autonomy and minority freedom, scholars and officials alike recommend curtailing autonomy and doing away with preferential treatment to minorities who are considered too “pampered” under the current dispensation.

Leading the charge in “correcting” China’s minority policy are Ma Rong, director and dean of sociology of Peking University, Hu Angang, director of the Institute for Contemporary China Studies at Tsinghua University and Zhu Weiqun, once the executive director of the United Front Work Department, the party’s top office that supervises minority policy. They recommend minority distinctions should be done away with and the minorities fused in the “melting pot” of Chineseness. They cite the melting-pot models of America, India and Brazil as roaring successes.

Some want to go further. General Liu Yazhou, a son-in-law of the late Chinese president Li Xiannian, and the political commissar of the People’s Liberation Army’s National Defense University, recommends the breaking up of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang into smaller units and encouraging more migration of Chinese settlers to these regions to cement Beijing’s rule.

In face of such an onslaught, how do the Chinese liberals view the issue? According to Leibold, the Chinese liberals are on retreat. Or, more to the point, they are in jail. Chinese liberals’ earlier talk of granting self-determination to the minorities finds no place in Charter 08, the document that articulates the highest aspirations of a section of Chinese society on how they want their country to evolve. According to Leibold, Liu Xiaobo’s (the jailed Nobel laureate) argument is that democratization for the whole of China is a pre-condition for any solution to the issue of Tibet. But that is something furthest from the mind of policy-makers who shape minority policy.

Missing from Leibold’s analysis is other voices in the Chinese establishment that suggest a different way of dealing, if not with the minorities, but with the Dalai Lama. Jin Wei of the central party school in Beijing recommends that China invite the Dalai Lama to Hong Kong or even to Tibet to secure his co-operation in deciding his successor.

Missing too from the whole spectrum of China’s clamorous discourse on changes to its minority policy is the voices of the minorities themselves. In what some scholars call the second generation of minority policy there is not even a hint of consulting the minorities of their future status in the country. The consensus is that the minorities need not be told that they are not what they say they are. If these dangerous policy recommendations are carried out, China will be igniting a bigger conflagration than the scattered fires China is busy trying to put off in Tibet and Xinjiang.

The melting-pot system works in America, India and Brazil precisely because these are robust democracies with long-established consultative political cultures. Tibetans, Uighurs and Mongolians are struggling to survive as distinct ethnic identities because even under China’s current minority policy they have been left out of the decision-making process. 


Originally published on the Huffington Post, May 20, 2014, and republished by TPR from: 

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posted Oct 10, 2014, 5:44 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Thubten Samphel (Director of the Tibetan Policy Institute based in Dharamsala, India)

Zhu Weiqun, director of the Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference
                                                                       Zhu Weiqun

What’s happening to our man in Beijing? Zhu Weiqun is on the warpath again. His ramblings on the Middle-Way Policy are getting even more frenzied by the day. Whenever he is in the mood, it seems he consults the oracle of the United Front, comes blue in the face and spits fire and brimstone on what is eminently a reasonable proposal. 

Zhu Weiqun, director of the Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference

The Middle-Way Policy was recently made into a very attractive media package by the Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration. Zhu Weiqun’s reaction to this innovative presentation of the Tibetan proposal and the international media coverage it received is apoplectic. The director of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the Chinese People’s Consultative Conference deliberately distorts the Tibetan proposal to make it sound atrocious, ridiculous and downright dangerous to his domestic Chinese audience.

In his latest outburst, Zhu Weiqun says that the Tibetan proposal of the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People was rejected by the Chinese authorities way back in November 2008. Why does he get so worked up about a proposal that has already been rejected?

While hashing and rehashing old documents like the Five-Point Peace Plan and the Strasbourg Proposal, Zhu Weiun makes this claim, “Fifth, it demands that the ‘Han Chinese emigrants in Tibet should return to China’ according to the Dalai Lama’s 1987 report to the US Congress. This would entail an expelling 75 million Han Chinese. Worse still, the expelled population would reach 250 million should the geographical ambition of the ‘Greater Tibet’ scheme be conducted.”

While making this statement, Zhu Weiqun is either deliberately or inadvertently leaking some deadly state secrets of China. To send shivers in the back of every Chinese spine, Zhu Weiqun’s pet phrase to describe the Tibetan proposal to regulate the inflow of Chinese migration to Tibet is “ethnic cleansing.” If Zhu Weiqun’s figures about the number of Chinese living in Tibet are right, then this is downright ethnic swamping. As claimed by Zhu, are some 75 to 250 million Chinese settlers living in Tibet? Or is this some Chinese government plan in the future to settle this amount of Chinese on the Tibetan plateau? Will herding a little more than a quarter of China’s total population of 1.3 billion on the plateau be economically sustainable and environmentally feasible?

What makes Zhu Weiqun so worked up is this proposal. “The Memorandum proposes that the local government of the autonomous region should have the competency to regulate the residence, settlement and employment or economic activities of persons who wish to move to Tibetan areas from elsewhere. This is a common feature of autonomy and is certainly not without precedent in the PRC.”

There is no talking about “expulsion” of ethnic Chinese. As for regulating population movement from one region to another Hong Kong is the best example.

Stoking fears serve to create ethnic hostility. Zhu Weiqun’s job is to establish inter-ethnic harmony, not to undermine it. But his remarks about “ethnic fusion” and “melting pot” touch a raw nerve amongst China’s minorities. To tell the minorities you are not who you say you are, we the central government will decide who you are is dangerous to the extreme. Instead of a melting pot, Zhu will get a boiling pot.

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