• A Secret Visit and Sino-Tibetan Dialogue Issues to consider while waiting for the Sino-Tibetan ‘Godot’.(AP Photo/Ashwini Batia)Credible sources have confirmed that Samdhong Rinpoche, a prominent Tibetan leader, recently visited Gyalthang (redubbed as ...
    Posted Jan 1, 2018, 6:25 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Open Letter from Shenpenn Khymsar To all Tibetan Elitists, Pseudo-Activists and Status-Quo Preservers in GangkyiI speak to my fellow Tibetans today, having felt compelled to address our people directly, and bring attention ...
    Posted Jan 1, 2018, 6:12 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Book Review: Exile, A Photo Journal 1959-1989   By Warren Smith             Exile (Tib. Tsenjol) is a lovely book of photos and documentation about the Tibetan exile from the uprising in 1959 to the award of the Nobel Peace ...
    Posted Jun 2, 2017, 8:36 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Hopeful of an early meeting between Trump, Dalai Lama: Sangay   By Elizabeth Roche (Live Mint) Lobsang Sangay, ‘prime minister’ of the Tibetan government in exile in India, says he is encouraged by US president elect Donald Trump’s recent statement ...
    Posted Jan 2, 2017, 8:36 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • CTA: Tibet Not Part of China but Middle Way Remains Viable Solution   By Central Tibetan Administration  The Central Tibetan Administration on 17th December, launched a report titled ‘Tibet is Not a Part of China but Middle Way Remains a Viable Solution.’ The ...
    Posted Jan 2, 2017, 8:37 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Dr. Tenzin Dorjee appointed new Commissioner of USCIRF   By  Dr Tenzin Dorjee, a renowned Tibetan professor at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), has been appointed as new Commissioner of US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF ...
    Posted Dec 19, 2016, 8:43 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • A Plea to Britain: Don't forget Tibet in your dealings with China   By Sikyong Lobsang Sangay When it comes to its dealings with China, the UK is at a critical juncture. Following the Brexit vote, the debate on Chinese investment in Britain ...
    Posted Nov 4, 2016, 10:06 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Hope Endures When Truth is Upheld   By Sonam Wangdu (Chairman, US-Tibet Committee, New York)  Those who know me know that I have never wavered in my advocacy for an independent Tibet.  But what is not ...
    Posted Sep 26, 2016, 8:56 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Yuthok's Rejoinder to the Noodle Maker   By Jigmie Dorji Yuthok  (Photo: Depon Yuthok Tashi Dhondup and D-Tshap Taring Jigme, Lhasa 1937)  Mr. Gyalo Thondup’s book, The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong, has already been the ...
    Posted Aug 29, 2016, 8:52 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Hollywood's Latest Whitewash: What Dr. Strange's Casting of Tilda Swinton means   By Gelek Badheytsang    If you're not white, chances are when you're watching a movie or a TV series, you'll catch yourself on the lookout for anyone who ...
    Posted May 9, 2016, 8:13 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Entangled China: Not New. Revival.   By Tsewang Norbu (Germany) Second largest economy, only next to USA, China is the rising super power in world order, like it or not. But China's rise is not ...
    Posted May 9, 2016, 7:57 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Shugden issue used to be just a religious one   By Woeser: Author Tsering Woeser uses her blog "Invisible Tibet," together with poetry, historical research, and social media platforms, to give voice to millions of ethnic Tibetans who are denied ...
    Posted Apr 13, 2016, 8:35 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Appeal letter from Shokjang   By Drukar Gyal (a/k/a Shokjang) The following appeal was written by Tibetan blogger Shokjang and translated by International Campaign for Tibet:To the Qinghai Higher People’s Court ...
    Posted Apr 11, 2016, 8:52 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Precious Little Space for Uyghur or Tibetan Grievances   By Elliot Sperling  It’s already been many years since anyone seriously asserted that continuing political liberalization would be the certain result of economic growth in post-Mao China. One ...
    Posted Apr 10, 2016, 8:03 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibet: a victim of India-China conflict   By Tenzin Lhadon  In light of the recent news on one of the write-ups in Hindi journal "Congress Darshan" blamed Nehru for the state of affairs in Kashmir, China ...
    Posted Mar 26, 2016, 7:11 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibetan Democracy and the Freedom Movement   By Lhadon Tethong Many Tibetans around the world are anxiously monitoring the results of the March 20th elections for the Tibetan government in exile. Our democratic system is far from ...
    Posted Mar 23, 2016, 8:35 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Untangling the Kalachakra Fiasco   By Phurbu Rinzin  The Speaker of Tibetan Parliament in exile, who is also one of the Sikyong/Prime Ministerial candidate for the upcoming election allegedly says that he knew Kundun ...
    Posted Mar 23, 2016, 8:29 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibetan Parliamentary Elections in Exile: Glitches and Prospects   By Apa Lhamo The energized debates and intensive discussions among the public seem to have lost their spark after the preliminary elections. What led to this development? Should this be ...
    Posted Mar 22, 2016, 3:49 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Sikyong Candidates on Women's Leadership Courtesy of Canada Tibet Committee Excerpt of interview of Lobsang Sangay and Penpa Tsering conducted by the Canada Tibet Committee. The precise question asked to both candidates was: "How would ...
    Posted Mar 22, 2016, 3:31 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Why I Won't Vote in The Final Sikyong Election   By Choenyi Woser In this year’s election for the post of Sikyong, we have had five candidates. Out of them, Lukar Jam stood for Tibetan independence. The rest of ...
    Posted Mar 17, 2016, 4:01 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Ten Reasons Why Penpa Tsering is Unfit for Sikyong Seat   By Minyak Kunga Tashi and translated by Tensung (Penname) Recently on Khabdha, an online Tibetan news website, an article titled “Ten Reasons for why Hon. Dr. Lobsang Sangay is unfit ...
    Posted Mar 17, 2016, 3:43 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Statement by Kasur Dicki Chhoyang By Kasur Dicki Chhoyang  6 March 2016 On February 28, 2016, I resigned as Kalon of the Central Tibetan Administration so I could participate in the discussions leading up to ...
    Posted Mar 16, 2016, 4:03 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Five Suggestions for Improving the Tibetan Electoral Process   By Tenzin Palkyi With just over a month left until Tibetans queue at voting booths around the world to elect the Sikyong and Members of Parliament, I think it is ...
    Posted Feb 23, 2016, 4:46 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The 'Great Leap Forward' to Impunity   Burying Universal Jurisdiction in Spain and Returning to The Paradigm of Human Rights as "domaine reserve" of StatesBy Jose Elias Esteve Malto Abstract Since the Pinochet case the Spanish ...
    Posted Mar 2, 2016, 6:28 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Primary - Exile Tibetans Elect Their Prime Minister and Members of Parliament   By Tsewang Norbu (Berlin) On October 18, 2015 nearly 54 percent of almost 90,000 registered voters of exile Tibetans have taken part in the preliminary election of the Prime ...
    Posted Feb 22, 2016, 3:23 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Lion and the Tiger, The Big Two in Exile   By Pam Tenzin (alias Doring Tenzin Phuntsok) In Tibetan case, a religious man can take the role of political leadership while the otherwise wouldn’t be possible to a layman ...
    Posted Feb 15, 2016, 4:24 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • China's Dalai Lama: Another Miscalculation?   By Apa Lhamo Although the Communist Party of China officially proclaims its firm adherence to atheism in its ideology, in its promotions and rankings, and in its policies, it also ...
    Posted Feb 15, 2016, 4:07 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Origins of Students for a Free Tibet and Its Bright Future   By John Hocevar I understand there have been some questions around the origins of Students for a Free Tibet (SFT). As one of the founders of the organization and the ...
    Posted Feb 11, 2016, 4:19 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Setting the Record Straight By North America Chithue Candidate Tashi Namgyal I am glad that Tibetan Political Review has come out with an editorial on the North American Chithue race and in particular focused ...
    Posted Feb 4, 2016, 1:03 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tyranny of the Tibetan Majority By Kaysang Our exile system of government claims to be a democracy, but recent events have proven it to be quite the opposite. Yes, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has ...
    Posted Jan 5, 2016, 6:16 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
Showing posts 1 - 30 of 837. View more »

A Secret Visit and Sino-Tibetan Dialogue

posted Jan 1, 2018, 6:25 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

Issues to consider while waiting for the Sino-Tibetan ‘Godot’.

(AP Photo/Ashwini Batia)

Credible sources have confirmed that Samdhong Rinpoche, a prominent Tibetan leader, recently visited Gyalthang (redubbed as Shangri La recently), his hometown in Yunnan province of China. According to the source, the purpose of the visit was to meet his family. In all likelihood, the visit took place sometime in November; specifically mid-November, according to the article in The Wire that first broke the news about the visit. Earlier, on November 6, the Dalai Lama appointed Samdhong Rinpoche, along with Sikyong Lobsang Sangay (the current president of the Central Tibetan Administration, or CTA, in Dharamsala) as his trusted “representative” or “personal emissary” for an indefinite period.

Samdhong Rinpoche preceded Lobsang Sangay as head of the CTA and played an instrumental role in pushing for the Dalai Lama’s middle way approach (MWA) during his tenure as president. It was during his leadership of the CTA that Sino-Tibetan talks resumed in 2002, after almost a decade of impasse. He also has a close bond with the Dalai Lama; Samdhong Rinpoche’s residential quarters are located within the premises of the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamsala.

So, given Samdhong Rinpoche’s recent trip to China, is a formal Sino-Tibetan meeting in the offing? Is it possible for China to take up the Tibet issue so promptly just after the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party? For a long time, many of the Tibetan leaders in exile have held the belief that Xi Jinping was waiting for his second term to initiate a major change in Tibet policy. The 19th Party Congress is now over and Xi has more or less reigned supreme, with Xi Jinping Thought now comfortably enshrined into the Party Constitution. Xi was already designated as a “core” leader at the sixth plenum of the 18th Party Congress in October 2016. Further, his pet project, “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) or the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) that he announced in 2013, too made it into the Party Constitution. Xi also sought to redefine the “principal contradiction” facing the Party, which had been done by none other than Mao Zedong himself. Notably, Xi refrained from designating a successor by limiting the entry of sixth generation leaders, who could have been eligible to succeed him in 2022, into the Politburo Standing Committee.

Read the full article here:

Open Letter from Shenpenn Khymsar

posted Jan 1, 2018, 6:12 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

To all Tibetan Elitists, Pseudo-Activists and Status-Quo Preservers in Gangkyi

I speak to my fellow Tibetans today, having felt compelled to address our people directly, and bring attention to our disturbing political status. I have grave concerns for Tibetans and for the future of Tibet. I feel that if I do not lend my voice to the grave urgency of our current situation, no one else may speak frankly and honestly.

It is high time for patriotic and like-minded Tibetans to join me in expressing their fears and anxieties. My Buddhist values, my conscience, and my Tibetanness does not allow me to sit comfortably on the sidelines. For the sake of six million Tibetans and our noble cause I want to speak candidly about the disaster that is the Central Tibetan Administration, which was not too long ago our Exile Government. Those of us who consider ourselves honest and unafraid must speak out and be heard, without fearing "their" retaliation or intimidation. We must address the current crisis that we Tibetans are facing, without hesitation or self-censorship.

We as Tibetans know that our people and our cause are facing major threats, both internally and externally. There has been a systematic fragmentation of the Tibetan political movement, brought about by the misleading falsehoods of pseudo-politicians and opportunists.

The full article is available here:

Book Review: Exile, A Photo Journal 1959-1989

posted Jun 2, 2017, 8:36 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

By Warren Smith

            Exile (Tib. Tsenjol) is a lovely book of photos and documentation about the Tibetan exile from the uprising in 1959 to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1989. It is described by its editor, Lobsang Gyatso Sither, as an attempt to tell the story of Tibetans in exile during the period when the foundations for the exile community were established. He writes that his hope is that the journal will help the younger generation of Tibetans to understand and appreciate the history and origins of the exile Tibetan community and serve as a record of the extraordinary achievements of the early refugee community.

            In a quote cited at the beginning of the book, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes that Tibetans were characterized as refugees but that they were actually political exiles, which is not exactly the same as what is usually understood to be meant by the term “refugee.”


            After reaching Mussoorie, the first phase of our work concerned the influx of many Tibetans who were arriving in exile. At that time, the term “refugee” was being used to refer to us. However, we said that we were not mere refugees, which is a term denoting people fleeing their own land due to disasters like famine and seeking asylum in another country. We are not like that, since we were forcibly displaced and could no longer live but flee our land, we decided to call ourselves Tsenjol-wa, or “people who are forced to flee,” whereas “refugee” is an appellation that is normally employed to people like us. So then, we called ourselves Tsenjol-wa for a reason and purpose at that time.


            This distinction proved to be a defining characteristic of the Tibetan exile and an important reason for its relative success. Not only were individual Tibetans forced into exile, but the Tibetan political and religious establishment was as well. The remnants of that establishment were instrumental in organizing the resettlement of Tibetans in exile, negotiating with the Government of India for assistance in doing so, and recreating the Tibetan political and religious establishments in exile and preserving Tibetan cultural institutions and traditions. Tibetans as political exiles took parts of their political and cultural institutions with them and reestablished those institutions in exile. They were thus different from the typical definition of refugees, as His Holiness said, in that they were not just individuals, but a government, a culture and a society in exile. As this photo journal makes clear, they accepted the responsibility to preserve their culture and traditions in exile and to promote their political cause. This was especially important since they felt that China seemed intent upon eradicating traditional Tibetan culture, religion and even Tibetan national identity within Tibet.

The book is divided into five sections: Arrival—Forced into Exile; Democracy—A New Way Forward; Survival—Living for a Day; Education—The Future Seeds; and, Religion and Culture—Tibet’s Heritage. In the first chapter, “Arrival,” there are many familiar photos of the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet and arrival in India. But there are also many more rare photos that reveal the extraordinary reception he received from Indian officials as well as the public. His flight from Tibet was widely reported in the international press, and was said to be the “story of the year” in 1959.  In Tezpur, His Holiness made his first press statement in which he rejected the 17-Point Agreement on the basis that China had failed to honor its promise to allow Tibetan autonomy.  There are also some fascinating photos showing the arrival of refugees at the first “Transit Camp” at Missamari in Assam, from where they were sent to more permanent refugee camps. One of these photos shows a group of Tibetan men who appear to be veterans of the Tibetan resistance. Tenzin Tethong confirms that Chushi Gandruk fighters were some of the first arrivals at the camp. By June 1959 more than 15,000 Tibetan refugees had arrived at Missamari. 

            The second section, “Democracy,” covers the establishment of the Tibetan Government in Exile, the promulgation of a Democratic Constitution and international diplomatic efforts by the Government in Exile culminating in the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1989. Included are meetings with Indian political leaders, Tibet’s appeal to the United Nations, the publication of the International Commission of Jurists reports, the beginning of the tradition of the Dalai Lama’s 10th March statements, and the Dalai Lama’s international travels and diplomatic efforts. Also covered is the creation of a free Tibetan press and political organizations such as the Tibetan Youth Congress. There are several rare photos of the delegation visits to Tibet of the early 1980s. To its credit the journal does not shy away from an acknowledgment of the Mustang Resistance and “Establishment 22,” the Tibetan unit of the Special Frontier Force within the Indian Army, with several rare photos.

            The third section, “Survival,” contains many photos of Tibetans working on road building projects and clearing land for the establishment of camps in various parts of India. The strenuousness and difficulties of these efforts are obvious from the photos. Tibetans confronted a completely different terrain at the camp sites in south India, where they had to deal with the heat, jungle, wild animals and poisonous snakes.

The fourth section, “Education,” begins with a statement by the Dalai Lama about how emphasis was made upon setting up schools in exile, rather than monasteries, because of a realization that Tibet’s dire political situation was partially due to the lack of modern knowledge in traditional Tibet. The first school was started at Mussoorie in the fall of 1959 for some 50 students who, according to Tenzin Tethong, were “mainly young men who had accompanied the Dalai Lama in his escape and up to Mussoorie.  Among them were soldiers of the Kusung (Bodyguard) and Drapchi regiments, Chushi Gangdruk, and even a handful of Lhasa policemen; and among “civilians” there were some junior government officials, monk and lay, and personal attendants of some of the senior Tibetan officials and the two tutors of the Dalai Lama.  The actual inauguration of the school happened about two weeks before the first official commemoration of the March 10th National Uprising at the school.”

This was followed by the establishment of an Education Council and the creation of two more schools at Simla and Darjeeling. A Tibetan Refugee Children’s Nursery was established at Dharamsala when the government in exile moved there in 1960. In 1961 the Tibetan School Society was established with the support of the Government of India to set up schools in all the Tibetan refugee camps. Various nurseries for orphans were set up at Dharamsala and other camps, often with foreign assistance, culminating in the creation of the Tibetan Children’s Village at Dharamsala in 1971. There are photos from the early days of these schools that will undoubtedly be a delight for the many Tibetans educated there and for their own children. 

The last section, “Religion and Culture,” documents the recreation of Tibetan monasteries in exile; the evolution of the first dance and drama troupes into the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts; the creation of the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute, Mentseekhang; the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala; Tibet House in New Delhi and the Central University for Tibetan Studies at Sarnath. This section ends with a quote from M.C. Chagla, Union Minister for Education, Government of India, at the dedication of Tibet House in 1965, about the importance of culture for the survival of a nation: “What China has done has not merely violated the Charter of the United Nations as far as Human Rights are concerned, but China has done something worse, it has tried to destroy a culture, which is like destroying the human spirit, because culture is the expression of the human spirit.”

            Tibetans in exile are often said to be the world’s most successful refugees. I always slightly cringe when I hear that characterization because the very fact of exile is a reminder of the tragedy of Tibet, a national disaster that the success of Tibetans in exile cannot rectify. In addition, many of the early exiles died from unfamiliar diseases or suffered in poverty. One only need see the photos of Tibetans laboring in the heat of south India still in their wool chubas to sympathize with their displacement from their homeland and relocation in a foreign, unfamiliar country. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that Tibetan exiles have done remarkably well despite their tragic circumstances. Their success in exile also resoundingly refutes Chinese propaganda about the supposed evils of the society from which they came. China claims to have relieved Tibetans of their own misrule, but the flight into exile of so many Tibetans proves that Tibetans preferred their own self-rule to the foreign rule imposed upon them by China. 

The remnant members, including many lamas and aristocrats, of the “dark, barbaric, cruel, feudal serf society,” according to Chinese propaganda, from which Tibetans were “liberated,” managed to reestablish a society in exile that contrasted so favorably with Tibet under Chinese rule that even until recent times many hundreds of parents inside Tibet chose to send their children to India for an education in their own culture and traditions that could not be obtained in their own country. Some parents sent their children into exile knowing that they might never see them again, but they believed that was preferable to subjecting them to indoctrination in schools inside Tibet whose purpose seemed to be the eradication of Tibetan religion and culture. The success of the Tibetan Children’s Village schools in Dharamsala and other camps in India in nurturing these “political orphans” is a testimony to the compassionate and beneficent character of traditional Tibetan culture and society, even in exile, in contrast to the “New Tibet” created by the Chinese. 

Exile: A Photo Journal 1959-1989 is a very handsome publication, printed on fine quality paper and nicely bound with a very attractive dust jacket. It is a valuable record in text and photographs of the history of the first 30 years of the Tibetan exile. Its authors are to be commended for their efforts to preserve this history and their very fine accomplishment. It is not yet easily available but will eventually no doubt become an essential item on the bookshelves of Tibetans and their friends. 

The book was published by Tibet Documentation, a project directed by Tenzin Namgyal Tethong. Researchers were Lhakpa Kyizom and Tenzin Jigme. The editor acknowledges Tashi Tsering Josayma for his guidance and support and Claude Arpi for his numerous inputs and sharing of documents. Also thanked are Dr. Losang Rabgey, Kalsang Chokeng, Tsangshol Desal, Rigzin Dolkar, Ashwin Bhatia, Pranav Kumar, Jane Moore, Victoria Conner and Gyamtso Graphics. It is composed of 262 photos out of over 40,000 photos received from various institutions and individuals. 

The publication of Exile was made possible by a grant from the Geographic Legacy Fund at National Geographic Society and the Committee of 100 for Tibet. The first printing is intended for free distribution to Tibetan schools and institutions, and not for public sale.  However, copies are available at a small price covering printing and postage upon request from http// The photos have been archived and digitized and can be viewed at the same website. Donations to support the Tibet Documentation project may be made to the Committee of 100 for Tibet, a non-profit California 501(c) (3) corporation.  Contact: Committee of 100 for Tibet, PO Box 60612, Palo Alto, CA, 94306, USA. 

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

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

By Elizabeth Roche (Live Mint)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

By Central Tibetan Administration


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dr. Tenzin Dorjee appointed new Commissioner of USCIRF

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Sikyong Lobsang Sangay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Originally published at:

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Hope Endures When Truth is Upheld

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yuthok's Rejoinder to the Noodle Maker

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

By Jigmie Dorji Yuthok

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

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

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

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

Now let’s get down to specics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

[4] Ibid, Page 295.

[5] Ibid, Pages 297-298.

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

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

[8] Ibid, Page 238.

[9] Ibid, Page 375.

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

[11] Ibid, Page 58.

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

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

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

By Gelek Badheytsang

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

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

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

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

Full article at:

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