• China Repeats Rejection of Dalai Lama’s 'Middle Way' for Tibet   By Yeshi Dorje (Voice of America, March 28, 2014) China has marked the 55th anniversary of the dismantling of Tibet’s government in Lhasa with another explicit rejection of the ...
    Posted Apr 6, 2014, 10:20 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • An Unnecessary Resolution   By Kalsang Phuntsok (Toronto, Canada, March 26, 2014)  Today I am writing this as I can no longer stay silent and feign ignorance of this little thing that happened last ...
    Posted Apr 1, 2014, 7:50 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Why is Ngaba Burning?   By Woeser (March 28, 2014) As Kirti Rinpoche put it in his testimony to the U.S. Congress on Nov. 2, 2011: "The Chinese Communist Party has implemented policies of ...
    Posted Mar 30, 2014, 7:46 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Elephant and the Mouse   By Wang Lixiong (Translated by Elliot Sperling March 13, 2014)  While travelling in Europe in the summer of 2012 I made a special trip to Munich. As a longtime observer ...
    Posted Mar 24, 2014, 5:19 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • China Caught in a Bind over Crimea Decision to Quit Ukraine   By Parameswaran Ponnudura (March 18, 2014) A referendum for the independence of Tibet?  A vote for self-determination in Xinjiang?Such questions surrounding the future of the two restive autonomous ...
    Posted Mar 20, 2014, 7:11 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Until a favorable solution is reached   By Choenyi Woeser (Editor of Tibet Express); translated by Tenzin Gaphel  It has been close to 63 years since the infamous 17-point Agreement was signed under duress between Tibet ...
    Posted Mar 19, 2014, 7:38 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
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    Posted Mar 19, 2014, 7:21 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Dalai Lama engages with President Obama for third time   By International Campaign for Tibet (Feb. 21, 2014)  His Holiness the Dalai Lama met President Barack Obama today for nearly an hour at the White House. During the meeting, President ...
    Posted Mar 19, 2014, 7:13 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Exclusive Interview: A Journalist Perspective on Tibetan Struggle for Freedom   Tibet Telegraph (Jan. 6, 2014) Tibet Telegraph caught up with Vijay Kranti, a long time supporter of Tibet and a senior Indian journalist who has extensively written about Tibet and ...
    Posted Mar 14, 2014, 10:10 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • China and Tibet's Revolution in Exile   By Thubten Samphel (Feb. 27, 2014) Throughout China's long and turbulent history, no people along its imperial fringes have been such a nuisance to the Middle Kingdom as the ...
    Posted Mar 14, 2014, 7:06 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibet's Enduring Defiance   By Woeser (March 2, 2014)  On Feb. 27, 2009, three days into the Tibetan New Year, a 24-year-old monk in his crimson and yellow robe emerged from the ...
    Posted Mar 10, 2014, 5:25 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
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    Posted Mar 7, 2014, 9:14 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
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    Posted Mar 5, 2014, 8:13 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
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  • What is this "Middle Way" the Dalai Lama Preaches?   By Buchung K. Tsering (ICT, Feb. 25, 2014) The latest meeting between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and President Barack Obama [1] on February 21, 2014 has led to some ...
    Posted Mar 3, 2014, 8:23 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • José Elías Esteve Moltó's Speech at the European Parliament   SPEECH  AT THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT 19 FEBRUARY 2014 by José Elías Esteve Moltó (Main Research Lawyer and author of the Tibet lawsuits and Prof. of International Law at the U ...
    Posted Feb 26, 2014, 5:18 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Can Tibetan language become a soft political power?   By Ngawang ChoechenCary, North CarolinaCan Tibetan language be a soft political power? Recently, serious questions have been raised concerning the survival of the Tibetan language. From a negative ...
    Posted Feb 26, 2014, 5:15 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Revised History of the ‘Former Site of the Yamen for the Qing Government Minister Stationed in Tibet’   By Tsering Woeser Translated by High Peaks Pure Earth The above photo taken by a Tibetan, shows Tromsikhang currently being transformed into the “former site of the Yamen for the ...
    Posted Feb 8, 2014, 9:12 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Remembering Groups of Foreign Journalists Visiting Tibet in 2008   By Tsering WoeserTranslated by High Peaks Pure Earth Foreign journalists visiting Jokhang Temple on March 26, 2008. High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser written on ...
    Posted Feb 8, 2014, 9:07 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Taking Control of Our Own Narratives: A Tibetan Writer Speaks     By Sophia SlaterOriginally published at: [Bhuchung D. Sonam is a member of the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review]This is the seventh in ...
    Posted Feb 8, 2014, 8:43 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
    Posted Feb 26, 2014, 5:11 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibet Justice Center's Open Letter to the Spanish Prime Minister   Dear Mr. Prime Minister: I am writing to you as Executive Director of Tibet Justice Center (TJC), an international legal organization that advocates universal human rights and self-determination for ...
    Posted Feb 8, 2014, 8:31 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Dalai Lama and the ‘Tibetan Question’: Unresolved and Undecided? By Tunga Tarodi The Dalai Lama needs little introduction. His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the XIV Dalai Lama has been the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people in exile ...
    Posted Feb 1, 2014, 6:45 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • How Xi Can Solve The Tibet Problem By Kerry Brown In every political culture — even in ones with a premium on stressing continuity, consensus and unity — at some point, newly appointed leaders will want to respond to ...
    Posted Jan 23, 2014, 5:22 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Dispossession of Tibet’s Nomads   By Mark Kernan The Israeli government recently dropped its policy of seeking to evict at least 40,000 Bedouin nomads, although the true figure may well be double that estimate ...
    Posted Jan 23, 2014, 5:11 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibet’s Ticking Time Bomb  By Kapil Komireddi          Photo by Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters As the West quietly turns away from Tibet for closer ties with China, young Tibetans are exchanging the Dalai Lama’s ...
    Posted Jan 23, 2014, 5:10 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • REIMAGINING DOEGULING TIBETAN SETTLEMENT By Tsewang Namgyal****MISSION Doeguling Tibetan Settlement (“The Institution”) in Mundgod, Karnataka State (India) will become a leading international Buddhist institution. The Institution is rooted in the Nalanda tradition of ...
    Posted Jan 23, 2014, 5:06 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Judge Moreno sidesteps arrest warrants against top-ranking Chinese Party members                                                  Li Peng (left) and Jiang Zemin (right), archive photo / ASSOCIATED PRESS Almost two months after the Fourth Section of the Audiencia Nacional’s Criminal Court issued a writ on 18 ...
    Posted Jan 23, 2014, 4:58 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Coming Collapse of the Tibetan Political Movement By Tenzin Yeshi  When Gordon Chang wrote the book, The Coming Collapse of China, it provided a glimmer of hope for Tibetan freedom as well as for Chinese democracy. It ...
    Posted Jan 18, 2014, 4:38 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Self-immolation/Tibet/China By Thupten Samphel  On Dec. 19, Tsultrim Gyatso, a monk of Amchok monastery near the sprawling monastic town of Labrang Tashi Kyil in the ethnically Tibetan area of the Chinese ...
    Posted Jan 18, 2014, 4:02 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
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China Repeats Rejection of Dalai Lama’s 'Middle Way' for Tibet

posted Apr 6, 2014, 10:20 AM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Yeshi Dorje (Voice of America, March 28, 2014)

 China has marked the 55th anniversary of the dismantling of Tibet’s government in Lhasa with another explicit rejection of the so-called "middle way" approach of the Dalai Lama that emphasizes autonomy for the region.

In the televised speech Thursday on state-run Tibet TV, the chairman of China's Tibet Autonomous Region [TAR], Losang Gyaltsen, said the Dalai Lama's approach is "a camouflaged approach" that seeks Tibet's independence.

“Tibet cannot be independent, neither can it be a semi-independence or disguised independence,” Gyaltsen said, standing next to China’s national flag.

He added that China’s fight against a “Western enemy force” and the “Dalai Clique” is an important political fight for unity versus separation, democracy versus authoritarianism, and progress versus backwardness.

Kunga Tashi, who works in New York for the exiled Tibetan government, said the statement shows that Chinese leaders are unwilling to compromise to solve the Tibetan problem.

“The middle way approach agrees with the principle [demand] of China,” he said. “We say we are not separating from China, if we get a meaningful autonomy.”

In addition to the speech Thursday, Chinese officials carried out a campaign this week to highlight how much they say conditions have improved in Tibet since China took over.

Beijing frequently cites improved living standards in the region when defending its rule. Tibetan exile MP Kalsang Gyaltsen Bapa said the comparison of old and modern societies is just an excuse.

“China has no historical and legal support to occupy Tibet,” Bapa told VOA Tibetan service, speaking in Tibetan. “So they need to say old Tibet was dark and backward, and they came to develop Tibet. Such policy was used by other colonizers.”

The anniversary, which China calls "Serf Liberation Day," marks Beijing's 1959 dismantling of Tibet’s government in Lhasa shortly after the Dalai Lama fled into exile. The date, however, has been officially commemorated only since 2009.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Tibetan service.  Originally published at

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An Unnecessary Resolution

posted Apr 1, 2014, 7:50 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Kalsang Phuntsok (Toronto, Canada, March 26, 2014)

 Today I am writing this as I can no longer stay silent and feign ignorance of this little thing that happened last year at the Tibetan Youth Congress General Body Meeting. This thing has been nagging me ever since. Many people, who were paying attention, have raised questions regarding one section in the final resolution of the 15th TYC General Body Meeting and to the best of my knowledge no explanation has been provided by TYC Centrex so far. And I think TYC has the responsibility to give a clear explanation of this resolution to the public as it has the potential for serious implications on the unity of Tibetan people, democratic principles and our struggle because it sets a dangerous precedent.

I must make it clear to the readers at the outset that I am not a member of TYC. However, like all Tibetans I support TYC and I have tremendous respect for this organization for leading the Tibetan struggle for Independence. It is not my intention to provoke TYC members or even raise questions about those people who pushed for this resolution. It is possible that they may have been under outside influence. I have not a shred of doubt that the passage of this resolution was a mistake. And therefore, through this article, I am requesting that TYC Centrex pass a new resolution to strike out Resolution No. 8. And if Centrex wants to continue with Resolution No.8 as is, then give the Tibetan people a clear and honest explanation as to the meaning and purpose of this resolution.

For those who don’t know what the Resolution No. 8 says I have cut and pasted below the section of page 5 of final resolution released last year. You can also access the document at this link

The resolution declares that TYC has had no relationship with Tibetan National Congress (TNC) (Bhod Gyalyong Rangzen Lhentsog) in the past and resolves to never have any relationship with TNC in the future also.

As the readers can see, the second part of the resolution which I have bolded and underlined above is what worries me. Being a member of TNC, I was shocked and saddened to see this resolution. It is one thing to say TYC did not had any relationship with TNC in the past, but it is a different matter altogether to say TYC will never have any relationship with TNC in the future as well. To the best of my knowledge TYC has not passed such a resolution even against the Chinese Communist Party or any other anti-Tibetan organization. Then why is TNC, which is a pro-Tibetan Independence organization whose membership is entirely made up of Tibetan activists and supporters being singled out and condemned in this manner. TNC, like TYC believes that the goal of Tibetan struggle should be independence and believes in democracy and freedom of speech (Readers can access TNC’s Founding Resolution and other information about TNC at this link:

Was this resolution passed under pressure from a section of the TYC who is insisting the organization give up the goal of Rangzen? Was it a politically motivated move by that section to isolate TNC because TNC is uncompromisingly committed to the goal of Independence?

Someone tried to put me at ease the other day by reasoning that it could be because TNC has a secondary role as an exile political party and that since TYC is a strictly non-political organization it needed to distance itself from TNC.  But then TNC is not the first nor the only political party formed in exile. No such resolutions were ever passed against any other exile political party by TYC. And I wonder what TYC has to say to the majority of TNC members who are past and present members of TYC as well. What does TYC suppose these members should do?

It is blindingly obvious to any reasonable thinking person that this resolution serves no conceivable purpose for TYC and its larger goal of Tibetan national independence. Instead it raises all kinds of questions about the organization and weakens our unity and our struggle. And that very well might have been the intention all along of those who have orchestrated this resolution behind the scene.

I am respectfully requesting TYC Centrex to please rescind Resolution No.8 and spare the Tibetan people an unnecessary cause of worry and anxiety. I have always commended TYC’s policy to stay out of exile politics but this resolution gives the impression that it has unwittingly become an instrument of politics of some elements within or outside the organization with questionable motives.

Whatever differences that may exist in our small exile community can be overcome without affecting our unity. There is not a single society on earth which doesn’t have diversity of opinions and ideology. The question we should ask ourselves is do we want to stoop to the level of cheating, lying, ostracizing and intimidating the other side to make our case or do we want to be true to ourselves and uphold the democratic ideals, freedom of speech and have respect for those whose opinions you don’t necessarily always agree with.

I think we get along pretty well most of the time despite our differences and I am sure we can do even better…if we are allowed to.

Bhod Gyallo!!!

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Why is Ngaba Burning?

posted Mar 30, 2014, 7:46 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Woeser (March 28, 2014)

 As Kirti Rinpoche put it in his testimony to the U.S. Congress on Nov. 2, 2011: "The Chinese Communist Party has implemented policies of high oppression in the whole Tibetan area, but particularly in the Ngaba area, with which we have a special relationship. This has created fresh trauma to add to the psychological wounds already carried by the people of Ngaba. Now, there are three generations there whose wounds have had no way to heal."

As the abbot of Kirti monastery, which is one of the 20-some monasteries of the Gelugpa sect [of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama] and one of the most important inside Tibetan lands, Kirti Rinpoche referred to three generations of trauma suffered by Tibetans.

They include the massacre of monks and laymen and the looting of monasteries in the Ngaba district by Chinese Communist Party Red Army soldiers on the Long March. [General] Zhu De actually took up residence in the prayer hall of Kirti monastery and despoiled images of the Buddha.

In 1958, the Chinese Communist Party engaged in a program of "democratic reforms" in the Ngaba area, and in 1966 it waged its Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, with the result that not a single monastery was left standing, and thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Tibetans were detained or killed, and the area was subjected to mining and forestry exploitation.

And from 1998 to the present day, it continues to wage an increasingly violent "patriotic education movement," which has ignited the flames of Tibetan protest, and which is the main cause of the Tibetans' self-immolation.

Read the full commentary at:

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The Elephant and the Mouse

posted Mar 24, 2014, 5:19 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Wang Lixiong (Translated by Elliot Sperling March 13, 2014)

  While travelling in Europe in the summer of 2012 I made a special trip to Munich. As a longtime observer of Xinjiang issues I’d hoped to call on some of the core people in the World Uyghur Congress; to meet with them face-to-face and understand their thinking. I telephoned and was asked to send a letter. I did so but received no response from the other side. Clearly they were refusing any contact with me. At the time I really didn’t understand. Among Han I’m considered to be someone close to the Uyghurs: I sympathize with them; I’ve written a book criticizing the Chinese Communist Party’s Xinjiang policies; and I’ve been arrested and imprisoned in Xinjiang. Moreover, friends had made introductions for me in advance. Why was I refused even a cursory meeting?

The recent incident in which Uyghurs attacked and killed Han in Kunming has precipitated a mood of hostility towards Uyghurs among many Han, including intellectuals who in normal times are critical of the authorities. Even those opposed to the CCP regime have similar attitudes. This isn’t strange. When they’ve confronted major nationality issues in the past they’ve always enacted the same scene. In this instance Liu Junning, an important figure among China’s liberals, has published an article entitled “Rethinking the Policy of Regional Nationality Autonomy in Light of the Kunming Incident” [《从昆明事件反思民族区域自治政策》] (Wall Street Journal [Chinese Edition], March 4, 2014). In it he reiterates the views put forth several years ago by Ma Rong, a scholar who operates within the system, and blames China’s worsening nationality problem on the disparate treatment and hardening estrangement caused by regional nationality autonomy and the demarcations between nationalities. He considers these as the root causes of an unceasing escalation in nationality enmity and conflict and puts forward the same proposal as Ma Rong: eliminate regional nationality autonomy and the demarcations between nationalities in order to remove nationality hostility.

The view put forward by Professor Ma Rong received praise from different sides, both inside and outside the system, and has been considered a hot topic for quite some time now. If we can say that at the time it caused nationality figures to worry about what measures the regime might adopt as a result, now, when important figures among Han liberals are making similar proposals, things are going yet one step further and causing them to see the Han, whatever differences of opinion they might otherwise have among themselves, as a cohesive whole with regard to the nationality issue.

Seen from the perspective of minority nationality figures, to assert that nationality autonomy and the demarcations between nationalities are problematic in that they strengthen nationality consciousness and solidify the problem of nationality boundaries, and then to trace the worsening state of China’s nationality relations back to this, is clearly to have an elephant in the room but to deal with the matter only by pointing out the mouse in the corner. Secondarily, although nationality autonomy as currently implemented is indeed phony, it at least provides a means for using one of the contradictions among the authorities against another, allowing minority nationalities a formulation for defending themselves. Abolishing nationality autonomy then would tear down this last protective barrier.

It’s true that the United States does not have demarcations between nationalities. This is taken by Ma Rong as grounds for eliminating support for nationalities. But this constitutes a selective avoidance of the most important element: U.S. protections for human rights. When there are human rights there are nationality rights, because a nationality is a nothing but a collectivity of human beings. The U.S., lacking demarcations between nationalities, has the richest diversity of ethnicities precisely because it has human rights protections. The root cause of China’s nationality problems is primarily the lack of human rights. But the need to place the blame on nationality autonomy avoids the real causes and misdiagnoses the malady. And it’s thoroughly useless for bringing about reforms in nationality relations.

Of course, on this point I don’t consider Liu Junning and Ma Rong to be alike. Junning’s final proposal for resolving matters is based on individual equality and full autonomy within a federal system. But I think I should say that even within a democratic society with full human rights protections one cannot totally disregard consideration of special safeguards for minority nationalities. For example, the character of the Han is to pursue profits first, while Tibetans, Uyghurs and Mongols are more inclined to pursue religious beliefs and happiness. This doesn’t allow them to mix well in the big market economy pot with over a billion Han; it’s like forcing monks to fight with soldiers. The result is to leave Tibetans lamenting “we lost what we had, pursuing what we didn’t need.” Thus, if regional nationality autonomy is to be really implemented, then controlling immigration, safeguarding the environment, protecting the indigenous nationality’s way of life, continuing cultural traditions and safeguarding religious beliefs take on an irreplaceable function. This world cannot have only one sort of lifestyle; nor can it be left with only one culture. Without the protection of regional nationality autonomy any one of China’s nationalities would be hard pressed to avoid being wiped away without a trace by the Han who outnumber them by a hundred thousand to one.

In addition, if one day regional nationality autonomy is abolished, the “Middle Way Approach” that the Dalai Lama has advocated for decades—i.e., the exercise of a high degree of autonomy by Tibetans in Tibetan areas—will have no grounding. And if the “Middle Way Approach” is left behind, on what will a future democratic China rely, in order to dispel the nationality hatreds that have been engendered by autocratic oppression, and to attain reconciliation and establish a common nation? Liberalism cannot just be about concepts and long range views. It also has to consider applications and procedures. In the U.S. which has no nationality demarcations, are there not also Indian reservations?

Though Junning’s essay only represents the opinion of one person, I worry that it will easily result in minority nationality figures seeing Han as all of one sort. They may consider that irrespective of whether it’s the Han Government, Han intellectuals, or the Han democratic faction, they all still share the same Han chauvinist position and, even if it’s unintentional, still instinctively ignore the demands of minority nationalities. As a result, I’ve gained some more understanding of the cold shoulder I received in Munich. Overseas Uyghurs consider that the lesson that history has repeatedly given them is that regardless of what sort of seemingly different Han they’ve come into contact with, the Uyghurs have always come out the poorer for it. Because of this they simply don’t entertain contacts with Han. And they’re particularly on guard against those Great China advocates waving the banner of democracy. Presently overseas Uyghurs have chosen the Libyan and Syrian methods: to place no hope in the Han and, counting only on themselves, to make use of China’s highly oppressive rule as an essential element in provoking nationality resistance. They will not stint in making great sacrifices, using the flow of blood to arouse the attention and sympathy of international society while awaiting a future in which China will be too riven with internal strife to turn its attention to the West. That then would be the historically opportune moment to implement Xijiang Independence.

It was this attitude on the part of overseas Uyghurs that the Uyghur professor Ilham Tohti, who was arrested by the police in January of this year, analyzed for me. Among the Uyghur dissidents with whom I’ve come into contact, he’s the only one who publicly states that he is not seeking independence, just the implementation of nationality autonomy within the framework of China. He himself ought to have become a bridge between Uyghurs and Han. The path he has chosen is the Uyghur version of the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way Approach. But other Uyghurs universally reject it. They believe that facts have already proven that the Dalai Lama has caused Tibetans to waste 30 years without achieving any results and that arresting Ilham and accusing him of the crime of “splitting up the country” once more proves that the “Middle Way Approach” is simply a case of wishful thinking.

Originally published at Chinese-language website of New York Times:

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China Caught in a Bind over Crimea Decision to Quit Ukraine

posted Mar 20, 2014, 7:11 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Parameswaran Ponnudura (March 18, 2014)

 A referendum for the independence of Tibet?  A vote for self-determination in Xinjiang?

Such questions surrounding the future of the two restive autonomous regions in China may appear far-fetched.

But they may have been uppermost in the minds of the leaders in Beijing when Ukraine's Crimea region declared independence this week and voted to join ally Russia.

The prospect of dangerous challenges to the Chinese government’s rule in the two regions is believed to have been behind Beijing's ambiguous stand over Crimea's decision to quit Ukraine in a referendum, analysts said.

Full commentary available at:

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Until a favorable solution is reached

posted Mar 19, 2014, 7:38 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Choenyi Woeser (Editor of Tibet Express); translated by Tenzin Gaphel

 It has been close to 63 years since the infamous 17-point Agreement was signed under duress between Tibet and China and 55 years since the Tibetan National Uprising in Lhasa. However, Chinese repression in Tibet still continues in the form of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, torture and lengthy jail terms. For more than half a century, Tibetans inside Tibet and in exile have protested Chinese occupation through various methods, including more recently self-immolation protests.

Tibetan people’s struggle against China concerns not only human rights and ownership of one’s native land, but the nature of this struggle has largely been non-violent. These days when oppressed people protest against occupying countries and authoritarian regimes, they are labeled as ‘terrorists’; this labeling is a convenient tool for the oppressors to justify their oppression.

But resisting the violent excesses of police and armed security forces with mere sticks and stones during political protests or to destroy the symbols of China’s so-called development in Tibet is not a terrorist act.  It can never be compared to killing of innocent people in terrorist attacks. Perhaps there exists apprehension among some Tibetans at being labeled terrorist and violent.

To pursue a peaceful struggle without creating needless trouble for others represents moral discipline of the Tibetan people who under the guidance of their leader and Nobel peace laureate, His Holiness the Dalai Lama have stuck to a non-violent struggle. According to old Tibetan sayings known to older generation of Tibetans, “You must sacrifice your life to reclaim what’s rightfully yours” and “Loss of life and blood should be avenged”. It is not like that these days. Tibetans have suffered in Chinese prisons and sacrificed their lives through self-immolation protests without harming the lives and property of Chinese people.  In this way, Tibetans have displayed one of the highest forms of non-violent freedom movement the world has ever witnessed.

And yet the Chinese government continues to accuse Tibetan activists of engaging in violent activities and acting under the direction of exile separatist forces, putting all the blame on His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration. Tibetan people have the highest regard for His Holiness and his teachings on non-violence. Even then, can someone really take one’s own life at the instigation of others? If happiness exists in Tibet as claimed by the Chinese government, wouldn’t one enjoy that happiness than sacrifice one’s life in protest? Likewise, will one sacrifice his/her life if incited by the Chinese government? The fact is Tibetans give up their lives for freedom because they can no longer bear the pain of Chinese repression.

The exile Tibetan administration under the Middle Way Policy (MWP) proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama hopes to achieve ‘genuine autonomy’ for the Tibetan people under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. On a number of occasions, the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with their Chinese counterparts for talks, with the Tibetan representatives submitting in writing the aspirations of Middle Way Policy. But these attempts have failed to deliver desired results; instead the Chinese government has always found one excuse or the other to criticize the Middle Way proposal.

The MWP aims to find a viable solution to the Tibetan issue by avoiding two extremes: neither accepting the current political arrangement in Tibet nor pursuing independence for Tibet. Despite this, the Tibetan Youth Congress and a number of individual Tibetans continue to call for an independent Tibet. And China continues with its repressive rule in Tibet. If common Tibetans call for independence, it will not harm the prospects of talks between Tibetan and Chinese representatives. The day a final agreement is reached between the two sides, Tibetan people will decide whether to accept it or not. Prior to that, if Tibetans give up pursuing independence, then the MWP’s rationale of pursuing a ‘middle’ approach between two ‘extremes’ will be lost, eventually leading to the total decimation of the Tibetan struggle under Chinese repression.

There are many who reason that it is impractical to seek independence for Tibet. They cite the growing number of Chinese migrants in Tibet as one reason for the impossibility of Tibet getting independence. Since Chinese now outnumber the native Tibetan inhabitants in many places in Tibet, they say it would be impossible to expel them out of Tibet. But there is no need for the expulsion of Chinese or other nationalities if Tibet attained independence. There are a number of countries where different people of different ethnic origins live together.

In any nation-state, if there is genuine regional ethnic autonomy, then that autonomous entity should be given exclusively to a nationality who shares the same language, religion and culture. Such an autonomous arrangement is impossible if the number of native inhabitants is overwhelmed by other nationalities. Strictly speaking, under the genuine autonomy arrangement proposed by the exile Tibetan administration along the lines of the MWP, Chinese nationalities whose number has since grown in Tibetan areas should be expelled.

Others reason that it is impossible to attain independence because Tibetans do not possess military force or weapons needed to realize an independent Tibet. But the struggle for Tibetan independence need not be based only on war or other violent means. There are plenty of historical evidence demonstrating that independence can be achieved through non-violence. The most well-known example is Mahatma Gandhi under whose leadership India attained its independence through well-planned and strategic non-violence.

Some claim that the number of Tibetans calling for Rangzen (Tibetan word for independence) in Tibet during self-immolation protests is negligible. Instead they say majority of Tibetan self-immolators have raised slogans calling for the return of His Holiness to Tibet, religious and cultural freedom, environmental protection and human rights. It is possible there are those who hope to get some space for protests if they did not explicitly call for independence from Chinese rule. It is a theoretical fact that the Chinese Constitution provides some rights to its citizens such as the right to association and assembly. Nevertheless, it is not always necessary to raise specific slogans calling for independence when challenging occupying regimes. At the end of it all, Tibetan people’s struggle, in whatever form and content, concerns the ownership of one’s native land. 

During the Indian freedom struggle, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Indians carried out a unique campaign known as the ‘Dandi March’ to reclaim Indian salt from the British rulers. The reason for the campaign was not that Gandhi himself faced a shortage of salt or that the Indian people could not afford to buy salt. The campaign was waged to assert Indian ownership of salt-producing areas from the British Empire. Even if the British had given the salt to the Indians, it is highly unlikely that the latter would be content with that and abandon their call for independence. In similar vein, Tibetans would be far from pacified if China welcomed His Holiness back to Tibet and let him stay in his monastery. The persistent call for the return of His Holiness to Tibet should be read with the implicit demand that the return is possible only when it would happen in the recognition that he symbolize. It is clear that Tibetans calling for the return of His Holiness wish to see him return to a free Tibet and not to current occupied Tibet.

Tibetans should also be wary of activists and advocates of Chinese democracy who profess to support the Middle Way Policy for they have a bigger agenda and are adept at playing political games. They claim to oppose China’s repression in Tibet, adding that there is no need for the Chinese government to violently suppress Tibetan protesters if they raise the Tibetan flag as it is a flag of “one of China’s historically ethnic peoples”. Likewise, there are many articles written by Chinese democracy activists citing obscure, dubious history that Tibet had never been an independent country. Very few harbor genuine and sincere support for Tibet for their overriding goal is to topple the one-Party rule of the Chinese Communist Party.

Given this background, it has become doubtful if Chinese democracy advocates would support the genuine autonomy proposal of the exile Tibetan administration which seeks an autonomy arrangement for Tibet under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. Similarly, the oft-repeated slogan that ‘resolving the Tibet issue is in the interest of India’s security’ has become meaningless. Rather than counting the number of articles written by Chinese who seem to support the Tibet issue, it is important to know about those Chinese who criticize, mock and insult Tibetans and their cause. It is not just a handful of Chinese leaders responsible for the current state of affairs in Tibet. It is equally important to know about ordinary Chinese living in Tibet who insult, harass and discriminate against Tibetans in their own land.

If there are genuine supporters for the Tibetan cause including Chinese democracy activists, it doesn’t matter whether they support Tibetan independence or genuine autonomy as long as they present the facts about Tibet without bias and refrain from distorting the truth. If they sincerely spread awareness about the suffering and grievances of Tibetans among ordinary Chinese residing in Tibet, it would be more powerful and effective than Tibetans carrying out the same campaign.

Generally speaking, nowadays many foreign governments in their bid to appease and engage China do not support independence for Tibet. At the same time, to serve their own interests and to avoid being blamed for not raising the Tibet issue, they declare their support for the Middle Way Policy. Furthermore, some prominent personalities who have reservations about supporting Tibetan independence loudly proclaim that Tibet was not an independent country and that Tibetans are not seeking independence. This kind of posturing will create a dangerous precedent and prove detrimental to future prospects of the Tibetan struggle. Such disinformation would lend credence on a global scale to the Chinese government’s claim that the Tibet issue is a minor internal matter of China.

Therefore, it is imperative for Tibetans to continue calling for Tibet’s independence.  Tibetans must know that there are many including parliamentarians, scholars and individuals who support the Tibetan cause and it is significant to explore different ways and means to increase this support base.

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EU can play a leading role in the opening of a new page Tibetan-Chinese relations

posted Mar 19, 2014, 7:21 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Kelsang Gyaltsen (Feb. 19, 2014)

 Speech of Kelsang Gyaltsen, Special Representative of H. H. the Dalai Lama at the 100th Meeting of the Tibet Intergroup of the European Parliament

It is a great pleasure and an honour for my Tibetan colleagues and me to participate in this special meeting of the Tibet Intergroup of the European Parliament. This opportunity means a lot to us Tibetans. For it offers us the chance to express to you personally our sincere appreciation and gratitude for your sustained and committed support and solidarity with the non-violent freedom struggle of the Tibetan people.

Your support and friendship sends a clear message of hope, encouragement and solidarity to the people of Tibet at a time when Tibetans in Tibet are undergoing the harshest wave of repression and persecution since the Cultural Revolution. Last Thursday, Lobsang Dorjee, a 25 years old native of Ngaba county in Sichuan Province, became 126th Tibetan to resort to self-immolation to protest against the Chinese repression in Tibet. He is the second Tibetan to commit self-immolation in 2014.

As a Tibetan engaged in raising awareness and support for the cause of Tibet in Europe for many years, I am aware that there is a school of thought among politicians who consider public statements and resolutions condemning human rights abuses, calling for respect for human rights and peaceful conflict resolutions as empty gestures and window-dressing politic. They argue that such acts constitute a “loss of face” of the Chinese leadership and hence counterproductive. But on the other hand they are not willing to consider whether such restrain in avoiding the loss of face of Chinese leaders is also leading to the loss of more life of the repressed and persecuted people.

The so-called “silent diplomacy”, which this school of thought favours, often result – whether deliberately or unintentionally – in evasion, denial and silence about oppression, injustice and abuse of basic rights and freedoms. This is psychologically and morally more devastating for victims of oppression and injustice than the actual repressive measures

In the case of Tibet we realize that there is little that can be done from the outside that immediately brings some improvements in the difficult situation of Tibetans in Tibet. However, statements of concern and support and resolutions on human rights violations in Tibet by distinguished bodies such as the European Parliament send the message to the people in Tibet that they are not forgotten, that Europe cares and is aware of their suffering and that Europe is committed in promoting a peaceful and just resolution to the issue of Tibet. This is a message with tremendous power to give hope and uplift the spirit of the Tibetans in Tibet. This is also the way to persuade Tibetans in Tibet not to loose hope and patience and not to resort to self-immolation in acts of protest. The Tibetan leadership in exile will continue to appeal to our countrymen to refrain from such drastic forms of protest.

Despite the very grim current situation in Tibet I believe there are grounds to entertain a degree of hope and optimism for some movements on the issue of Tibet in the near future.

First of all the spirit of resistance of the Tibetan people in Tibet has never been stronger than today. Tibetans in Tibet have never been more united and determined in reasserting and defending their distinct culture, religion, language and identity. The majority of Tibetans in the frontline of the protest are under 30 years of age. This is a clear indication that this popular resistance is to stay on for a long time to come.

Furthermore, with little notice taken outside of China a vigorous internal debate has been going on in China on policies towards the minorities. Such a national debate on minorities has been non-existent in China a few years ago. This is a clear indication of the increasing awareness and importance of issues related with minorities in China.

Moreover, there is a new leadership in China. According to information from Chinese sources within the new Chinese leadership there are people who feel that there is a need to address the problems in Tibet. But it also says that there is strong opposition to such views. The policy announcements after the Third Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party indicate that the top leadership will take more control of issues such as Tibet and Xinjiang. This is to be welcomed. So far the ossified and hard-line attitude of the entrenched party bureaucracy dealing exclusively with minorities policies has been the major obstacle to any changes on the Tibet issue. Moreover, the new Chinese leadership is yet to formulate and announce its thinking and policy on Tibet.

There is movement in China on issues that have a bearing on the Tibet issue. Because of these developments it is a crucial time for members of international community to engage the Chinese government on Tibet. There is a unique window of opportunity to act on Tibet. The European Union can play a leading role in the opening of a new page in Tibetan-Chinese relations under the new leadership in China which is marked by the spirit of dialogue and reconciliation.

For this to happen there is a need for robust, coherent and concerted efforts by members of the international community. In this context it is crucial that the Tibet Intergroup of the European Parliament continues to take the lead in international efforts promoting a peaceful resolution of the issue of Tibet through dialogue and negotiations. I am, therefore, appealing to you personally and to the leaders of the European Parliament to ensure that the next legislative of the European Union continues with the long and honourable tradition of championing the peaceful and just cause of the Tibetan people by reconstituting a strong and vocal Tibet Intergroup.  The people of Tibet need your continued support and solidarity.

Thank you.

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Dalai Lama engages with President Obama for third time

posted Mar 19, 2014, 7:13 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By International Campaign for Tibet (Feb. 21, 2014)

  His Holiness the Dalai Lama met President Barack Obama today for nearly an hour at the White House. During the meeting, President Obama expressed his deep concern about the worsening human rights situation in Tibet, and reiterated his support for the preservation of the unique religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions of Tibet, according to a statement issued by the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala this morning (February 21). It was the third meeting during President Obama’s presidency, and fourth time overall.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “This meeting affirms the long-standing friendship and respect of the United States toward His Holiness, his message, and his cause. American policy-makers understand that the stability Chinese leaders seek will not be fulfilled without a solution on Tibet. The steadfast U.S. support for dialogue and preservation of Tibet’s unique heritage is reflected both through this meeting and through its Tibet policy and programs. ICT will continue to work at the global level to strengthen the political support for the Tibetan cause, while China increases its pressure and influence on democratic governments worldwide.”

The Tibetan Central Administration in Dharamsala reported:

“In an almost hour-long meeting, His Holiness shared his core commitment related to promotion of human values, fostering interfaith dialogue and preservation of Tibetan people’s unique culture and rich tradition. The two leaders also discussed issues related to morality and leadership, and how one can produce new generation of ethical leaders in the 21st century.

“President Obama said that he was honored to meet His Holiness again. He reiterated his support for His Holiness’ Middle Way Approach policy and reiterated that Chinese government should have constructive dialogue with His Holiness’ representatives without any precondition. President Obama asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama about Tibet and His Holiness explained the current situation. President Obama expressed his deep concern about the worsening human rights situation in Tibet and Tibetan areas in China.”

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay said the “meeting reflects the American government and people’s continued commitment to freedom and democracy.” (

The meeting at the White House comes a week after Secretary of State John Kerry specifically raised concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet with top Chinese leaders in Beijing. President Obama is likely to talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a nuclear issues summit in the Netherlands in March, and is scheduled travel to four Asian countries in April, although not to China.

While the Dalai Lama has formally relinquished his political duties in the Central Tibetan Administration, he has said he will continue his responsibility to advocate for his people. He has stated that, as he continues a busy travel schedule to cities around the world, his visits to Washington, DC, and Brussels are political in nature.

The Dalai Lama met with President Obama in the White House in February 2010 and July 2011. In addition, he met then-Senator Obama at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2005. Today’s meeting occurred during the first of two visits to Washington by the Dalai Lama; he returns during the first week of March 2014.

The Dalai Lama’s visits to the White House, which began in 1991 and encompass meetings with four U.S. Presidents, are both a reflection and result of the base of support that the American public has for the Dalai Lama and his messages of universal peace and justice. ICT will continue to call on our supporters worldwide to help amplify Tibetan voices.

The White House statement on the meeting is as follows:

Readout of the President’s Meeting with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

The President met this morning at the White House with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. The President reiterated his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic traditions and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China. The President commended the Dalai Lama’s commitment to peace and nonviolence and expressed support for the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach. The President stressed that he encourages direct dialogue to resolve long-standing differences and that a dialogue that produces results would be positive for China and Tibetans. In this context, the President reiterated the U.S. position that Tibet is part of the People’s Republic of China and that the United States does not support Tibet independence. The Dalai Lama stated that he is not seeking independence for Tibet and hopes that dialogue between his representatives and the Chinese government will resume. The President and the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a positive and constructive relationship between the United States and China.

Reprinted by permission.  Originally published at

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Exclusive Interview: A Journalist Perspective on Tibetan Struggle for Freedom

posted Mar 14, 2014, 10:10 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

Tibet Telegraph (Jan. 6, 2014)

 Tibet Telegraph caught up with Vijay Kranti, a long time supporter of Tibet and a senior Indian journalist who has extensively written about Tibet and Tibetan life. In an exclusive question answer session, the interview touches a variety of issues but the focus is given to highlight how he sees the Tibetan issue through the lenses of his political eyes and his camera.

1) Are you more of Indian or Tibetan or just a journalist or maybe an activist?

I must underline that Tibet is one of many subjects on which I've focused and written in my over four decade long professional life as a journalist and photographer. But Tibet has occupied over 80 percent of my mindscape during this period. Now to answer your question, I would say that I am an Indian who is a professional journalist with deep interest in Tibet. My interest in Tibet has encouraged me strongly to know more and more about the Tibetan issue and try to understand the Tibetan people and their thinking process. I may sometimes sound like a Tibet 'activist' because I strongly support the Tibetan national cause. But this 'support' comes more from my realization of the truth about the Tibetan people's case as an inquisitive researcher and journalist than any 'activism'. But despite this 'support' there is also a strong element of detachment which I must practice as a journalist to write independently and frankly on Tibet.

Read the full interview at:

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China and Tibet's Revolution in Exile

posted Mar 14, 2014, 7:06 AM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Thubten Samphel (Feb. 27, 2014)

 Throughout China's long and turbulent history, no people along its imperial fringes have been such a nuisance to the Middle Kingdom as the Tibetans are today. However, unlike neighboring Xinjiang or Eastern Turkestan which is wracked by sporadic violence, Tibet poses no military threat to the People's Republic of China. Neither the Dalai Lama nor the Central Tibetan Administration question China's sovereignty over Tibet in any future settlement of the issue.

Regardless of this, Tibet is a challenge for China. The challenge comes from not what the Tibetans are doing to China but from what they are doing to themselves.

Witness the 127 young Tibetans from across Tibet who since 2009 set themselves on fire, calling for the return of the Dalai Lama to his homeland and freedom for Tibet. Regardless of the merits and de-merits of such acts, and there are plenty of arguments on both sides, these unnerve the Chinese authorities. Such acts recall China's own revolutionary past when Chinese individually and collectively sacrificed their all for the ideal of unified, just and egalitarian China. These acts also point in a fiery blaze of Tibetan determination to the fact that China physically controls Tibet but not Tibetan hearts and minds.

In any other society, such unprecedented protests would lead to anguished soul-searching and genuine attempts made to redress the stated grievances. In Tibet, the response is the thud of the iron-fist coming down on the fiery protestors, or what's left of them, their family members or their villages, imposition of tighter control of news flow and total lockdown.

The other Tibetan challenge constitutes a set of principles that the refugees have incorporated into their exile administration: non-violence, democracy, cultural renewal, and the growth of civil society. The challenge consists in the speed with which the Tibetan exiles have re-constituted their culture in exile and successfully re-interpreted the universalism of its values to the international community.

China has no earthly reason to fear this challenge. No matter how many Tibetans set themselves on fire or whatever uplifting principles the Tibetan refugees might have incorporated into the exile body politics, these pose no danger to China. In fact, Chinese leaders liken these efforts to "a fly flapping its wings against the king of mountains."

And they are right, to an extent. Tibet is firmly under Chinese control. It is now a part of the People's Republic of China since 1951 when the 17-Point Agreement was signed between Lhasa and Beijing, which is the legal instrument used by the Chinese authorities to justify the incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China. Despite Tibetan protests about the legality of the 17-Point Agreement, all governments, including that of India, do not question China's sovereignty over Tibet.

Another crucial point in China's favor is that the position of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Tibet is unassailable, reinforced and serviced by a network of all-weather roads, airports and an expanding web of railway lines that make troop deployment and transport of supplies rapid. China's strong and assertive military presence in Tibet is cemented by the state-subsidized economic boom Beijing has sparked off on the plateau that continues to attract China's real "foot soldiers," the migrant workers who demographically and culturally overwhelm the Tibetans in cities, towns, and in the job market. Chinese companies exploit at will the vast, diverse and untapped natural resources of Tibet. In its more than sixty years of occupation of the plateau, China's position has never been better or stronger.

However, all this is accomplished in an ideological and spiritual vacuum. The country's earlier revolutionary zeal has been replaced by a frontier town attitude. There is no guiding light, no moral compass. This moral vacuum has spawned all the major domestic problems that plague China today: entrenched, almost institutionalized, corruption, rising inequality, vicious land grabs and poisoned rivers. Only now President Xi Jinping and his team are addressing these issues in a serious and effective manner.

On this side of the Himalayas, the Tibetan exiles have been undergoing a quiet revolution of their own. It is nothing as dramatic as China's recent revolutionary past or its dazzling ongoing economic transformation. What the Tibetan exiles have managed to accomplish outside of their country, however, will have an impact deep into Tibet's and China's own future. The accomplishment is nothing less than the renewal and rejuvenation of Tibetan culture and its spread to the world. This renewal process has been strengthened by the re-establishment in exile of the key monastic institutions and the thick and growing network of cultural and spiritual resources that underpin the community and Tibetan Buddhism. The cultural renewal is accomplished within a democratic political environment that has triggered the talent and creativity of a new generation of Tibetan political leaders.

This has produced a vibrant, cohesive and productive community, constantly renewed and stimulated in the exhilarating freedom of India. In short, by his tireless efforts, the Dalai Lama has transformed one's people's political struggle into a whole civilization's right to exist and flourish. In the process, the Dalai Lama has created a strong, worldwide cultural and spiritual constituency for Tibet. By spurning the Dalai Lama, China is not just spurning the Tibetan people alone. China is spurning a composite, rejuvenated civilization and all the goodwill that goes with it.

The author is the director of the Tibet Policy Institute, a research center of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala, India. He is the author of "Falling Through the Roof," a work of fiction. He is a graduate of the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University.

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