Editorials are the opinion of the members of the Editorial Board.  Editorials are by their nature opinionated, and are not intended to be "neutral."  The Editors attempt to be fair in their analyses, but they are expressing their own opinions.  The Editors invite responses from readers, especially if they disagree with an opinion expressed in an editorial.

  • "Getting to Yes" in Sino-Tibetan Dialogue   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  The classic negotiation book “Getting to Yes”, by Harvard law professor Roger Fisher and anthropologist William Ury, describes how a successful ...
    Posted Mar 7, 2014, 6:26 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Dharma Kings: Recalling the Tibetan Empire Era   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  Many Tibet supporters know that Tibet was an independent country prior to the 1949-50 invasion by the People’s Republic ...
    Posted Feb 8, 2014, 6:15 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Freedom, Independence, and Autonomy: A Little More Accuracy Please   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  As part of TPR’s effort to contribute toward a more level-headed discussion on the independence/autonomy debate, we believe ...
    Posted Feb 3, 2014, 7:33 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Stumbling Toward a More Level-Headed Debate on Independence v. Autonomy in 2014?   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  For those interested in the development of the Tibetan people’s young democracy in exile, 2013 saw some dramatic internal developments ...
    Posted Jan 9, 2014, 5:59 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Living at Gunpoint: A review of Woeser and Wang's "Voices from Tibet"   By Bhuchung D. Sonam (Member of the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review) Review of Voices from Tibet: Selected Essays and Reportage by Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong Translated ...
    Posted Dec 28, 2013, 6:58 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Our Belated Response to the Sikyong's "Ten Questions"   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  Photo: DIIR/Tibet.net In August 2013, on the anniversary of his second year in office, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay gave an ...
    Posted Dec 19, 2013, 6:11 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Infected with Politics: WHO and China Turn Public Health into Political Battleground   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  On October 14th, the doctors at Delek Hospital, the main hospital for the hundred and fifty thousand Tibetan refugees in India ...
    Posted Dec 22, 2013, 5:08 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibetan Democracy Takes a Step Backwards   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  On September 20, 2013, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) spent an entire session censuring Member of Parliament (MP) Karma Chophel ...
    Posted Oct 24, 2013, 6:39 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Response to Chitue Jamyang Soepa by the volunteer editors of The Tibetan Political Review བོད་ཀྱི་ཆབ་སྲིད་བསྐྱར་ཞིབ་དྲ་ བའི་དང་བླངས་རྩོམ་སྒྲིག་པ་དག་གིས་སྤྱི་འཐུས་འཇམ་དབྱངས་བཟ ...
    Posted Oct 23, 2013, 5:55 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Hu Jintao's Genocide Indictment: What Does it Mean?   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  The scene: Zhongnanhai Home for Retired Comrades, Beijing   The cast: Hu Jintao and his Personal Secretary   Date: 7:00 a.m ...
    Posted Oct 13, 2013, 8:42 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • A Fake Potala, and Fake History   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review    The great American author William Faulkner wrote, in Requiem for a Nun, “The past is never dead. It's not even ...
    Posted Aug 6, 2013, 5:53 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tashi Delek Comrade? The Sikyong Accepts Communist Rule in Tibet   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review    In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC on May 8, 2013, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay made three ...
    Posted Jun 4, 2013, 5:36 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • To Be or Not Be: Should Tibetans in India Assert Indian Citizenship?     By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review   During Hu Jintao’s visit to Delhi in March 2012, about 200 Tibetans found themselves summarily detained for peacefully expressing their ...
    Posted Apr 26, 2013, 6:17 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Will the Tibetan Parliament’s March 10 Statement Chill Free Speech?     By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review   In its March 10 statement this year, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile made a far-reaching assertion.  The Parliament warned the ...
    Posted Mar 25, 2013, 6:33 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Parading the Red Flag and Its Dangers   By the Editorial Board of Tibetan Political Review, March 12, 2013 Events At a press conference in Dharamsala, India, on 17 February 2013, Lingtsa Tseten Dorjee said that he would ...
    Posted Mar 14, 2013, 7:38 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • February 13: A New Tibetan Holiday     By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  February 13 has emerged as a potentially important new holiday in the Tibetan calendar, in a development that could indicate new ...
    Posted Mar 13, 2013, 8:41 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Revisiting the "Tenzingang Incident" after the Delhi Rape/Murder Case   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  The topic of gender violence has been in the news recently, unfortunately, following the horrific rape suffered by a 23-year ...
    Posted Jan 21, 2013, 2:03 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibetan Translation: Can Some Good Come From the RFA Controversy? ཨེ་ཤེ་ཡ་རང་དབང་རླུང་འཕྲིན་ཁང་གི་རྙོག་གླེང་ནས་དོན་འབྲས་བཟང་པོ་ཞིག་བྱུང་ཐུབ་བམ། available ...
    Posted Jan 2, 2013, 7:04 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Interpreting Hu Jintao's Speech at the 18th Party Congress   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  Outgoing Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Hu Jintao delivered a long speech to the 18th Party Congress that was published on ...
    Posted Dec 18, 2012, 6:47 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Can Some Good Come From the RFA Controversy?   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  Watching the Radio Free Asia (RFA) controversy unfold has been a painful process, not the least because it threatens to overshadow ...
    Posted Dec 8, 2012, 5:57 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibetan Translation: Are the Speaker and Kalon Tripa stifling free speech? ཚོགས་གཙོ་དང་སྲིད་སྐྱོང་རྣམ་གཉིས་ཀྱིས་སྨྲ་བརྗོད་རང་དབང་བཀག་སྡོམ་བྱེད་ཀྱི་ཡོད་དམ། available at ...
    Posted Oct 24, 2012, 6:12 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Tibet Fund Receives $2 Million, and Searches for a New Executive Director   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  In an exciting development, Tibet Fund has been awarded a $2 million grant by the U.S. Agency for International Development ...
    Posted Jun 9, 2013, 5:22 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Speaker and the Kalon Tripa Respond to the Free Speech Suppression Controversy   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  It appears that the Speaker of Parliament and the Sikyong (formerly Kalon Tripa) both used their closing speeches at the Special ...
    Posted Oct 12, 2012, 12:02 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Why China's Next Leader Is Unlikely to be Soft on Tibet   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  Some in the Tibetan exile community and Tibet supporters have stated hopefully that Xi Jinping, expected to be the next President ...
    Posted Oct 5, 2012, 6:37 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Are the Speaker and Kalon Tripa stifling free speech?   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  A certain defensiveness is settling over the elected leadership of the Tibetan government-in-exile (TGIE).  The self-immolation crisis in ...
    Posted Sep 24, 2012, 6:24 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Addressing a Future Kalon Tripa Vacancy   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review Now that His Holiness has devolved all his political powers and the Kalon Tripa is the political leader, the time has ...
    Posted Sep 3, 2012, 5:47 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • A New “Contact Group” for Coordinated International Diplomacy on Tibet?   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review At a time when Tibetans mourn the 49th self-immolation in Tibet, some uplifting news comes out of Washington DC.  Two ...
    Posted Aug 17, 2012, 8:03 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Kalon Tripa Visits Down Under, and Comes Up with Surprises   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay’s recent trip to Australia -- his first to the Land Down Under since his August 2011 inauguration ...
    Posted Jun 29, 2012, 11:24 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Impact of the Resignations of Gyari & Gyaltsen   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review One June 3, 2012, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile (TGIE) announced that Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay had accepted the resignations of ...
    Posted Jun 20, 2012, 6:47 PM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Woser and Lobsang Sangay Discuss "Unity" and the Freedom to Criticize   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review     The Beijing-based Tibetan writer Woser has written a sharp critique touching on the future course of Tibetan democracy.  The context ...
    Posted May 24, 2012, 9:07 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Can China be Trusted to Keep a Bargain?   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review The bargain that the Obama administration thought it had made with China, regarding the fate of blind human rights legal advocate ...
    Posted May 7, 2012, 6:38 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Interpreting Beijing’s Response to the Self-Immolations   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review When the Tibetan monk Tapey self-immolated in 2009, and then when, beginning in March 2011, a number of Tibetans began ...
    Posted Apr 12, 2012, 8:11 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Balancing Act of the Exile Tibetan Government    By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review Originally published in the journal Cultural AnthropologyIn a startling turn of events, at least thirty Tibetans in Tibet have set ...
    Posted Apr 12, 2012, 7:32 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Speculation on Decoding Lodi Gyari's Statement on Lobsang Sangay   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review On March 23, 2012, Lodi Gyari, the Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, issued a statement that was carried ...
    Posted Apr 12, 2012, 8:56 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • To Deal or Not to Deal?   By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review A debate between two Taiwanese leaders is once again bringing up the issue of Tibet, in a way that raises an ...
    Posted Mar 15, 2012, 9:51 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • The Tibetan and Chinese Prime Ministers Address the Self-Immolations    By the Editorial Board of The Tibetan Political Review In a strange coincidence, February 14 saw articles on both Lobsang Sangay, the Tibetan prime minister in exile, and Wen Jiabao ...
    Posted Feb 28, 2012, 7:42 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Deciphering Chinese Propaganda on Tibet    By the Editorial Board of The Tibetan Political Review   With the self-immolation crisis spreading and Tibet under undeclared martial law, Chinese propaganda can be unintentionally revealing.  It shows what ...
    Posted Feb 13, 2012, 7:03 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • What Future for the Sino-Tibetan Dialogue?    By the Editorial Board of The Tibetan Political Review   “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”  This Zen Buddhist koan is sometimes cited by those who follow the ups ...
    Posted Feb 6, 2012, 6:50 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Canada Secretly Saw Tibet as "Qualified for Recognition as an Independent State"    By the Editorial Board of The Tibetan Political Review     Declassified documents from 1950 through the 1960s show that Canada considered Tibet to be “qualified for recognition as an independent state ...
    Posted Jan 24, 2012, 9:09 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Dim Sum Surprise: Why the Hong Kong Model Won't Save Tibet   By the Editorial Board of The Tibetan Political Review Proponents of the Middle Way policy have recently been placing increased hope on Chinese law.  Exhibit A in this argument is ...
    Posted Jan 3, 2012, 7:22 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • China's Crackdown in Tibet Caught on Camera   By the Editorial Board of The Tibetan Political Review Recently, the Tibetan Government-in-Exile released a video on its official online TV site showing a 2008 Chinese police raid ...
    Posted Dec 22, 2011, 6:44 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
  • Reviewing the First 100 Days of the New Tibetan Administration   By the Editorial Board of The Tibetan Political Review Speaking in Paris on November 26, 2011, the Kalon Tripa, Lobsang Sangay, commented that the first 100 days of his administration ...
    Posted Dec 28, 2011, 5:41 AM by The Tibetan Political Review
Showing posts 1 - 42 of 42. View more »

Lobsang Sangay Walks the Middle Way in Washington

Autonomy, Ethnicity, and Self-Immolation.  [READ MORE]


Nepal explicitly recognized Tibet as an independent country.  [READ MORE]



Important questions about the revisions to the TIbetan Charter.  [READ MORE]

The candidates' views on Tibetan autonomy within the PRC [READ MORE]

Candidate Tashi Wangdi

Wangdi is a formidable candidate in the Kalon Tria race.  [READ MORE]

We compare the candidates' positions on strengthening the Tibetan government-in-exile, where the Kalon Tripa has an important role.  [READ MORE]

We compare the candidates' positions on strengthening ties between Tibetans inside and outside of Tibet.  [READ MORE]

Fortunately, both major Kalon Tripa candidates have clearly stated their policies on this important issue.  [READ MORE] 

Unfortunately, Tibetan voters are in the dark on the sources of campaign funds.  [READ MORE]

We are troubled by the personal attacks emerging in the 2011 Tibetan election.   [READ MORE]

In this editorial, we examine key aspects of Tethong's policy on possibly the most important issue facing the electorate: the future course of the Tibetan struggle.  [READ MORE]

While it is still too early to project with certainty the person who will win in March, it has become clear that he is the frontrunner.  [READ MORE]

The Kalon Tripa race has its first Sarah Palin incident; Norbu asserted that Sangay stated he wants to be the "Obama of China."  [READ MORE]

Kalsang Phuntsok Godrukpa 
and the Problem With Proxy Websites
Widespread campaigning through the internet is generally a positive development, but the website for Kalsang Phuntsok Godrukpa perfectly illustrates some drawbacks as well.  [READ MORE]

The Editorial Board has attempted to summarize the job descriptions for these two positions.  It is our hope that clarity on these offices' responsibilities will help voters better evaluate the candidates.  

Lobsang Jinpa clearly set out some of his policy positions, which is a step that we hope other candidates will emulate.  [READ MORE] 

Youth v. Experience

One of the larger debates related to the 2011 Kalon Tripa election is that of youth versus experience.

Personality v. Policy

Of all the candidates, little is yet known about what they actually stand for.  That is because, so far, their statements have been largely about the candidates themselves, rather than what policies they would implement if elected.  [READ MORE]

Reflections on the 

The Zurich debate between Lobsang Sangay and Tenzin Namgyal Tethong shows stark differences.  [READ MORE...] 

The essence of Lobsang-la’s article is that the Tibetan voting process should be made easier. Some of his suggestions are good, but some seem politically naïve.   [READ MORE...]

A troubling issue is Dolma-la's assertion that the success of Tibetan refugees is -- and should be -- based on foreign hand-outs rather than their own hard work.  [READ MORE...]

"Getting to Yes" in Sino-Tibetan Dialogue

posted Mar 7, 2014, 5:23 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Mar 7, 2014, 6:26 PM ]

By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review 

The classic negotiation book “Getting to Yes”, by Harvard law professor Roger Fisher and anthropologist William Ury, describes how a successful negotiator uses the concept of BATNA: Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement.  BATNA is a tool to understand the interests and options of two negotiating parties, and can be used as a strategic point of leverage.  In the Tibetan context, BATNA is also a way to understand that the official Tibetan policy of seeking autonomy is actually helped – not harmed – by calls for independence.

A party’s BATNA is the best course of action if a negotiated agreement cannot be reached.  There are many examples of this, from international diplomacy to a shopkeeper deciding how aggressively to bargain with a customer.  For example, if a shopkeeper sees that a customer desperately wants an item and cannot get it elsewhere, then the shopkeeper will not bargain down the price.  The customer has no good BATNA, and is basically at the shopkeeper’s mercy.

This is a simplistic explanation.  There are ways to change BATNA, and to play a weak hand well.  A short editorial cannot do justice to the concept.

The Taiwan-China Talks

BATNA is driving the first direct Taiwan-China talks since 1949.  On February 11, 2014, the top officials for cross-Strait relations of both Taiwan and China began historic confidence-building talks in Nanjing.

According to the BBC, China “sees these talks as a useful opportunity to forge closer ties with Taiwan while a relatively pro-Beijing president remains in power on the island.”   The Washington Post adds, “Taiwan’s people remain firmly opposed to the idea of reunification with China, with about 80 percent supporting the status quo of de-facto independence”.

From China’s perspective, the BATNA here is simple.  China knows that Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou favors eventual reunification, but faces a strong domestic pro-independence movement.  Ma is currently deeply unpopular for several reasons, and he may well lose re-election in 2016.  Therefore, if China doesn’t try to reach a solution with Ma in power, then China’s BATNA – best alternative option – is unappealing. 

China’s BATNA alternative is to deal with a more hostile, pro-independence Taiwanese president in 2016, probably from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).  Because China sees dealing with Ma as the better option, according to the BBC analysis, China is willing to hold these historic talks.

This suggests that the strength of the pro-independence DPP is actually helping propel the Taiwan-China talks, since China cannot take Taiwanese willingness to compromise for granted.  Ironically, when the KMT tried to suppress pro-independence voices before Li Teng-hui’s presidency, it may have actually been hurting its negotiating strength with Beijing.

The Meaning for Tibet

The relevance of these Taiwan-China talks to the case of Tibet is clear, and even the Tibetan government-in-exile has prominently posted the BBC article mentioned above on its website.  But China is not talking with President Ma because it is morally right to resolve disputes through dialogue rather than force.  China is talking with Ma because it prefers that to the very real prospect of dealing with a Taiwan led by a pro-independence president later.

This BATNA analysis suggests that the Tibetan government-in-exile’s official Middle Way policy of seeking autonomy is actually helped by strong pro-independence sentiment in Tibetan society.  In fact, BATNA suggests that the only reason Beijing would ever consider any type of Tibetan autonomy is that it considers the alternative – Tibetan independence – even worse. 

So, counterintuitively, any possible success of the Middle Way actually depends on independence as a viable alternative course.  Otherwise China has no BATNA reason to talk with Dharamsala.

Obviously, both His Holiness and Samdhong Rinpoche support the Middle Way (at least as it was originally defined, not necessarily the recent re-interpretation to exclude democracy, embrace the structures of communist rule, and accept unlimited Chinese militarization).  Even so, His Holiness declared in his Second Strasbourg Address in 2008, “we certainly have the right to explore all other political options available to us.”  Samdhong Rinpoche recently stated that the “real aim of both [the Middle Way and independence supporters] is the welfare of the Tibetan people.” 

Even by the Middle Way’s own terms, it is relative.  It can only exist relative to a viable alternative of independence.  Without that, there is nothing for the Middle Way to be in the “middle” of.

Given all this, it becomes clear just how counterproductive and even dangerous it is to try to impose an official orthodoxy in the Middle Way/Independence debate.  In fact, doing so plays into China’s hands by eliminating probably the only BATNA situation that might force Beijing to negotiate at all.

Therefore, is the current leadership of the Tibetan government-in-exile ready to revise its statements that criticism of the Middle Way is “immoral” and “baseless”?  Is Tibetan exile society ready to accept that a strong pro-independence loyal-opposition party (like the fledgling Tibetan National Congress) may actually help drive Beijing to real negotiations, if they happen at all?  Hopefully we are getting to yes.

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Dharma Kings: Recalling the Tibetan Empire Era

posted Feb 8, 2014, 4:56 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Feb 8, 2014, 6:15 PM ]

By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review 

Many Tibet supporters know that Tibet was an independent country prior to the 1949-50 invasion by the People’s Republic of China.  Less well-known is that Tibet was one of the great empires in Central Asia from the Seventh to Ninth Centuries, had diplomatic relations and signed treaties with several neighboring kingdoms and empires, and even briefly occupied the ancient Chinese capital of Xi’an.  From this period Tibetans remember the three great Dharma Kings.

The first of these Dharma Kings and perhaps the most famous was Songtsen Gampo (617-649/50), believed to be the thirty-third king of the Yarlung Dynasty, who founded the Tibetan Empire.  Songtsen Gampo united various Tibetan tribes and established a matrimonial alliance with a Tibetan wife from the kingdom of Zhangzhung near Mt. Kailash.

In 637, Songtsen Gampo married Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti.  He also desired a Chinese wife, which the Tang Chinese Emperor was reluctant to provide.  But under threat of invasion, the Tang Emperor ultimately gave his daughter, Princess Wen Cheng, as a bride to Songtsen Gampo in 641.   (Songtsen Gampo eventually had five wives.)

Both the Chinese and Nepalese princesses were Buddhist and it is said that the Chinese princess founded the Ramoche Temple in Lhasa (whose entrance faces east toward China) while the Nepalese princess founded the Jokhang (whose entrance faces west toward Nepal).

Tibetan armies under Songtsen Gampo were known as strong and powerful warriors to the Chinese and the Tang Annals note their fine weapons, armor and bravery.

The second great Dharma King was Trisong Detsen who ruled from 755 to c. 797 and is known for formally establishing Buddhism as the state religion in Tibet.  Trisong Detsen invited both Indian and Chinese Buddhist scholars to a great debate in Samye, located between Lhasa and the historic Yarlung seat in Lhoka.   Under Trisong Detsen’s reign, Indian scholars were invited to translate Buddhist canon into Tibetan, historic Samye Monastery was founded, and the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu Valley was constructed.

In 763, Tibetan armies under Trisong Detsen defeated Chinese armies and briefly occupied the ancient Tang Dynasty capital of Xi’an.  With the Chinese emperor having fled, the Tibetans installed Li Chenghong as a puppet emperor for about a month.  In 783 a treaty with China was concluded giving the entire Kokonor region to Tibet.  In 778, Trisong Detsen formed an alliance with the King of Siam (modern Thailand) and they joined forces to fight Chinese armies in Sichuan.  During the latter period of Trisong Detsen’s reign, he was preoccupied fighting the armies of the great Arab Caliph, Haroun Al-Rashid (of 1,001 Arabian Nights fame), as Tibetan armies expanded west.

The last of the great Dharma Kings was Tri Ralpachen (reign c. 815-838).   Under Ralpachen’s reign the Tibetan Empire reached its greatest extent and included parts of China, India, Nepal, and almost all of what is now called East Turkestan/Xinjiang.  Ralpachen promoted Buddhism throughout Tibet and ordered translation of Buddhists texts into Tibetan.  Ralpachen built a nine-story temple at U-shang-do, near the Tsangpo river, which contained Buddhist scriptures, chortens and images.

In 821, Ralpachen and Tang Emperor Mu Zong concluded a treaty, the text of which was inscribed on three stone pillars.  One pillar was erected in the Chinese capital of Xi’an, one on the border between China and Tibet, and one (the only remaining pillar) in Lhasa known as the Doring Pillar.  The treaty established that the “whole region to the east” was “Great China” and the “whole region to the west” was “Great Tibet.”  The treaty declared that “Tibetans shall be happy in Tibet and Chinese shall be happy in China…”

China’s official White Paper on “Ownership of Tibet” describes very little of this period.  The only references are to alliances between Tibetans and the Tang Dynasty and the marriage of Princess Wen Cheng to Songtsen Gampo.  The White Paper mentions the Tang-Tibet treaty pillar in Lhasa but only references a section about the two empires being akin to uncle and nephew.  There is no mention in the White Paper about the many military conflicts between Tibet and China during this period, the Tibetan occupation of Xi’an (under Trisong Detsen), or that the Tang Emperor had no choice but to give his daughter in order to placate the powerful Tibetan king Songsten Gampo.

This is not to say that the Chinese Government has ignored this period.   In July 2013, China built a multi-million dollar fake Potala Palace opposite the Kyichu River from the real Potala to be used as a stage for a lavish play about Princess Wen Cheng.  This play is designed to reinforce Chinese propaganda that Wen Cheng brought Buddhism to Tibet (ignoring Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti’s contributions) and civilized the “barbaric” and “warlike” Tibetans.   It also reinforces the stereotype, widely believed in China, that China has always been a benevolent neighbor and later ruler to Tibetans and introduced Tibetans to “advanced” Chinese culture and later “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

Tibetan writer Woeser has blogged about the Communist Party’s attempts to create a new myth around Princes Wen Cheng that reinforces China’s narrative of Sino-Tibetan history and relations.  TPR also wrote last year how China was using this narrative to twist Tibetan history, quoting Faulkner that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” 

This may seem like ancient history but it is very relevant to Tibetans today.  Last year Tibetans in exile (but not the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA)) celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 13th Dalai Lama’s declaration of independence from the Manchu Qing Dynasty in 1913.  The 13th Dalai Lama issued the “The Proclamation of Independence,” a five-point public document reasserting Tibetan independence and ending the priest-patron relationship.   The subsequent invasion and occupation of Tibet by the Chinese from 1949-1959 in no way diminishes the achievement of the 13th Dalai Lama in architecting Tibet’s emergence as a modern nation.  February 13 is now being informally celebrated as Tibetan Independence Day by many Tibetans.  This year, Tibetans and Tibet groups (though not the CTA) are commemorating the ancient Tibetan empire, including the treaty signed between Tibet and China in 821.

We hope the Central Tibetan Administration will officially recognize the importance of February 13 with some form of formal acknowledgment.  February 13 has become a day when Tibetans and supporters remember that Tibet is a great civilization with a proud and long history of independence.

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Freedom, Independence, and Autonomy: A Little More Accuracy Please

posted Feb 3, 2014, 7:04 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Feb 3, 2014, 7:33 PM ]

By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review 

As part of TPR’s effort to contribute toward a more level-headed discussion on the independence/autonomy debate, we believe a good place to start is greater accuracy in distinguishing between “freedom” (rangwang), “independence” (rangzen), and “autonomy” (rangkyong).

FREEDOM:  Freedom is a subjective term.  There is no single definition of what all people would consider freedom.  Fundamentally, freedom means that one feels free and acts freely (which is a bit of a tautology).  It includes the absence of coercion or constraint, and liberation from the power of another.

For a slave, freedom can mean the removal of shackles.  For an oppressed minority, freedom can mean achieving the same civil rights as the majority population.  For a subjugated nation (think William Wallace as depicted in Braveheart), freedom can mean breaking the political ties to a colonizer.

Basically, freedom is feeling free.

INDEPENDENCE:  Independence is an objective term, as defined in political science.  Independence refers to sovereign statehood.  When the World Court looked at Kosovo’s declaration of “independence”, it was understood by all that this meant its claim to be a sovereign state.

One can debate whether any state is truly “independent” when impacted by forces like great-power politics and global trade.  But this is not the same as challenging the global system of formally sovereign states.  The idea of sovereign statehood has been a fundamental principle of international law since at least 1648.

Basically, independence is having a separate country.

AUTONOMY:  Interestingly, autonomy does not have a settled definition in law or political science.  One legal definition perhaps comes closest: autonomous areas are “regions of a State, usually possessing some ethnic or cultural distinctiveness, which have been granted separate powers of internal administration, to whatever degree, without being detached from the State of which they are part.”

The very wide range of global forms of autonomy are summarized in a 2004 study of Tibetan autonomy, authored by the late Ted Sorensen and the law firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, and published by the Belfer Center at Harvard.

Basically, autonomy is having some type of self-rule, but as part of a larger country.

A Little More Accuracy, Please

From the brief description above, it should be obvious that there is a big difference between the subjective term “freedom” and the objective terms “independence” and “autonomy”.  Or in Tibetan: rangwang (freedom), rangzen (indepdendence), and rangkyong (autonomy).

In the Tibetan exile political discourse, however, there seems to be a blurring of lines between these three ideas.

For example, supporters of both independence and autonomy have muddled the message of the self-immolators.  Wang Lixiong performed an analysis of self-immolators’ last words in December 2012 (so now it is obviously outdated) that found that 38% prayed for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 35% expressed courage or responsibility, 19% called for Tibet’s independence, etc.  Many of these categories also included a call for freedom.  Importantly, not a single self-immolator called for autonomy.

At least one prominent pro-independence writer has suggested that a self-immolator calling for the return of His Holiness necessarily implies a demand for Tibetan independence.  We believe this goes too far.  It could in theory be true, or it could simply mean the return of their religious leader: the point is that we cannot know for certain unless they say it.

On the other hand (and perhaps there are more ready examples since promoting autonomy is the official position), the Kashag (cabinet) goes to the opposite extreme.  The Kashag effectively edits out even crystal-clear voices for independence.  According to the Kashag, the self-immolators’ demands are “freedom for the Tibetan people and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.”  While not technically inaccurate (since freedom could include independence or autonomy), it is misleading for two reasons:

- First, some self-immolators have expressly called for independence, while none have called for autonomy. 

- Second, the Kashag and Sikyong often use the word “freedom” to promote their specific Middle Way policy of autonomy, implying that the goals are either “freedom” (really meaning “autonomy”) or “independence”.

Furthermore, it is a conspicuous omission when the Kashag argues that self-immolation is caused by “political repression, economic marginalization, cultural assimilation and environmental destruction”.  This list prominently ignores that many self-immolators demanded independence.  So it seems this list should also include not just “repression” (which is a human rights issue) but also “a demand for Tibet’s independence”.  That would make it far more complete.

Chitue Jamyang Soepa, Takna Jigme Sangpo, and Sikyong Lobsang Sangay (photo: tibet.net)

In another recent example, at a book-launch about Takna Jigme Sangpo, the Sikyong discussed the former political prisoner’s “activism”, “various political activities”, and “slogans of Tibetan freedom” while in prison.  This was a painful omission: the core motivation of Sangpo’s heroism was, quite simply, Tibetan independence.  This should not be edited out even if one supports autonomy. 

In fact, Sangpo was originally sentenced for “seeking ‘Tibetan independence’ among other reactionary propaganda”,
according to Chinese documents.  However the Sikyong merely referred to Sangpo’s “opposition against harsh policies”, implying that Sangpo merely disagreed with certain Chinese policies.   It is truly regrettable that, in this case, Chinese sentencing documents are more accurate than the Sikyong’s remarks.

A Modest Proposal

We believe that it would help set a better tone in the independence/autonomy debate if everyone used the correct terms, and did not attempt to edit out views of other Tibetans.  It is especially important not to edit out or improperly co-opt the words and sacrifices of the self-immolators and political prisoners.

The fact is, freedom is subjective and could mean several things.  Independence and autonomy are basically objective and have clear meanings (even if autonomy has almost infinite variations).

Probably every single Tibetan wants “freedom”.  It is something we can all rally behind.  But what is freedom?  Some might define it as independence, some might mean a type of autonomy, and some have even talked about settling for basic civil rights as Chinese citizens.  If we all use the correct terms, and acknowledge and respect that there are differing views of “freedom”, this will go a long way toward promoting a more productive discussion.


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Stumbling Toward a More Level-Headed Debate on Independence v. Autonomy in 2014?

posted Jan 9, 2014, 5:01 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Jan 9, 2014, 5:59 PM ]

By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review 

For those interested in the development of the Tibetan people’s young democracy in exile, 2013 saw some dramatic internal developments.  It is perhaps no coincidence that these developments all relate to the key political question facing Tibetan society today: whether to pursue independence or autonomy.

To recap, these developments included:

1. A Member (Chitue) of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile was the subject of day-long criticism in a parliamentary session;

2. Chitue Dhardon Sharling was a lone voice speaking out against this finger pointing, calling on her fellow parliamentarians to focus on concrete action instead.

3. Rumors were spread that prominent individuals supporting independence were thereby harming the life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (a charge that turned out to be false, as clarified by His Holiness on September 22, 2013);

4. A Chitue leveled bizarre charges against The Tibetan Political Review (TPR), and when challenged on this he was unable to provide any substantiation;

5. An organization of ex-political prisoners, named after the dates of pro-independence demonstrations in Lhasa, suddenly changed its position to support autonomy at an annual meeting where the topic was not previously announced on the agenda;

6. The largest pro-independence youth organization revoked its resolution on lobbying the Tibetan government-in-exile, agreeing not to act as an opposition party;

7. The Sikyong surprised many by stating that his interpretation of “genuine autonomy” excludes democracy, and accepts continued Communist Party control, militarization at China’s discretion, and a limited duration;

8. A new exile Tibetan political party was formed to promote the voice of independence, and about one-third of the sitting Chitues attended its inaugural meeting in Dharamsala (and were reportedly officially chastised for this).

To be blunt, some of these developments have been troubling.

We believe that Tibetan society must develop a better way to constructively discuss the independence/autonomy issue.  This is one of the most important existential issues Tibet faces.  There must be a way to have a passionate debate without resorting to personal attacks, emotional outbursts, or insinuations of disloyalty.  It is not an exaggeration to say that the success of the Tibetan cause may depend on it.

So, how to stumble toward a more level-headed debate in 2014?  This requires a few things.

First it requires a simple acknowledgement that, on the whole, supporters of both sides are patriotic Tibetans who act with good motivations.  No one should be accused of disloyalty to His Holiness or selling out his/her nation to the Chinese just because they support one position or the other – this should be obvious.  Unity should be paramount, and this means real unity: the active recognition that, regardless of any given policy differences, we all remain part of the same Tibetan nation.

Secondly, it requires a more inclusionary mindset toward competing viewpoints.  Chitue Chungdak Koren said it perfectly: “instead of excluding critics, we should be including them and inviting them to air and exchange views.  These people might have constructive suggestions and their inputs could be of great value.  We always need to retain an open mind when it comes to criticism.”<FN1>

Thirdly, it is time to de-mystify the independence/autonomy debate.  It is time to stop treating it as a litmus test of one kind or other.  It is time to simply treat it as the policy problem that it is, with facts, assumptions, and arguments that should be tested and evaluated.  After all, Tibetan civilization has a deep tradition of reasoned debate.

A future TPR editorial will lay out some concrete suggestions in this direction.  But first, we would like to offer some preliminary observations.

Dueling Messages Out of Dharamsala

Some voices in Dharamsala have threatened to spare no effort in dealing with criticism of the Middle Way.  While acknowledging a right to have political stands in a free and democratic society, these voices also maintain that what they call unrealistic criticism of the Middle Way somehow denigrates or misconstrues His Holiness the Dalai Lama.<FN2>

It is confusing how this apparent threat can be reconciled with the democratic right to have political stands.  Any genuine debate inherently requires arguing why one position is better than the other, and it is difficult to do that while avoiding criticism.  And to some degree, “unrealistic” is in the eye of the beholder – certainly it is problematic if a single person seeks the power to be the arbiter of such a highly subjective concept.

These voices also do not explain why they feel it is proper to associate criticism of the Middle Way with somehow denigrating His Holiness, given the normal response to anything perceived as “anti-Dalai Lama”.  On the contrary, His Holiness has made it quite clear that the fate of Tibet is for the Tibetan people to decide, and that they are free to make up their own minds.  These statements were therefore very regrettable, and do not reflect well on the Tibetan commitment to democracy and free speech.  It could also make His Holiness look bad, by improperly associating His Holiness with all this.

A much more healthy approach was taken recently by former Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche.  Rinpoche made it clear that it is “wrong to construe that those who don’t support the Middle-Way Policy are against His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”  He endorsed “the need and importance of divergent views and lively debates in a healthy democracy and added that whether it is independence or the Middle Way, the real aim of both of these ideologies is the welfare of the Tibetan people.”<FN3>

It would be pure speculation as to why Rinpoche decided to make this statement now.  Certainly, some people (including us) have been concerned that disagreements surrounding the Middle Way recently may be getting out of hand.  Regardless, this statement is welcome.  Hopefully everyone will remember Rinpoche’s wise observation that supporting independence is not anti-Dalai Lama, and that “the real aim of both of these ideologies is the welfare of the Tibetan people”.

Hopefully everyone will also recall that on October 14, 2001, His Holiness made a “Second Strasbourg Address” to the European Parliament.  There, His Holiness stated that he “always maintained that ultimately the Tibetan people must be able to decide about the future of Tibet”.  His Holiness added, “While I firmly reject the use of violence as a means in our freedom struggle we certainly have the right to explore all other political options available to us.  I am a staunch believer in freedom and democracy and have therefore been encouraging the Tibetans in exile to follow the democratic process.”

Obviously, even among supporters of the Middle Way Policy there is a debate about its meaning (witness the disagreement between the Sikyong and Speaker of Parliament on the question of democracy in a future Tibet).  His Holiness has made it clear that the Tibetan people should be encouraged to debate the future of their nation.  Now is the time to do so, recalling Samdhong Rinpoche’s reminder that both sides of this debate are motivated by the same good cause.

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[1]  http://chungdak.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/questions-and-suggestions-for-parliament/

[2]   http://tibet.net/2013/09/19/middle-way-approach-shapes-growing-world-support-for-tibet-issue-kashag/

[3]  http://tibet.net/2013/09/10/former-kalon-tripa-talk-on-middle-way-policy/

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Living at Gunpoint: A review of Woeser and Wang's "Voices from Tibet"

posted Dec 28, 2013, 6:44 AM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Dec 28, 2013, 6:58 AM ]

By Bhuchung D. Sonam
(Member of the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review)

Review of Voices from Tibet: Selected Essays and Reportage by Tsering Woeser and Wang Lixiong
Translated from Chinese by Violet S. Law
Published by Hong Kong University Press & University of Hawai’i Press

For over nine thousand years Tibetan nomads have skilfully managed their lives in the fragile environment of the high plateau.  They raised limited numbers of livestock, which provided them enough to sustain their mobile civilization.  This symbiotic relationship between nature and man never tipped to either party’s disadvantage.

That’s until the red flag began to flutter against the blue sky of the Tibetan Plateau.

The year 2009 marked half-a-century of China’s occupation of Tibet.  In the same year, according to cables leaked by Wikileaks, the Dalai Lama told the then US ambassador to India that the international community should focus on the critical state of Tibet’s environment for five to ten years; the Tibetan leader reportedly said this was far more crucial than the political situation.  ‘Melting glaciers, deforestation and increasingly polluted water from mining are problems that cannot wait,’ the Dalai Lama said.

Despite the Tibetan Nobel Laureate’s emphatic appeal little is being done.  In fact the scale of mining on the plateau has increased manifold and since 2008 China has effectively banned the international media’s entry into Tibet.  Today North Korea is more accessible to foreign journalists than Tibet said professor Carole McGranahan of the University of Colorado and the author of Arrested Histories: Tibet, the CIA, and Memories of a Forgotten War.

At such a worrying time, the voices of Beijing-based Tibetan author and blogger Woeser – and her Chinese husband Wang Lixiong – are crucial in creating a vital communication link between Tibet-under-China and the free world.

Voices from Tibet: Selected Essays and Reportage by Woeser and Wang Lixiong, jointly published by Hong Kong University Press and the University of Hawai’i Press, is an urgent and timely book.  The authors’ courage in expressing their dissenting views on Tibet is matched by the authenticity of their reportage on wide-ranging concerns such as demolition of historical buildings in Lhasa, forceful resettlement of nomads, mining, self-immolation and flooding of Chinese migrants into Tibet – many of whom engage in crass and barefaced appropriation of Tibetan culture and religion to make quick and easy money.

Woser and Wang Lixiong, Tsuklhakhang, Lhasa, Tibet

Forty essays are thematically arranged in five sections – Old Lhasa Politicized, Economic Imperialism with Chinese Characteristics, Religion Under Siege, Wrecking Nature, and Culture Twisted, Trampled – to provide a clear picture of daily Tibetan experiences under the machinery of authoritarian rule that Woeser and Wang describes as ‘grounded on rigid structure and ruthless logic’.

The defining appeal of the book is the legitimacy of the couple’s writing.  The authors are no armchair commentators.  They have put their lives in danger by traveling to many places on the Tibetan Plateau to gather accounts of people and places most affected by dictates from Beijing.

Soon after Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was sentenced to death in December 2002 with a two-year reprieve for his alleged possession of explosives, Woeser made a trip to Rinpoche’s homeland deep inside Kardze in Kham to find out about the Chinese authorities’ claim to have found ‘bombs’ hidden a ‘secret compartment’ in his house.  Woeser found out that to build his new residence, Rinpoche – like many others who constructed houses in that region – used explosives to level a piece of land located at a ravine.  Some unused sticks of dynamite were stored in a ‘space between the rugged slope and the wall panels of the house’.  These were what the police found which led to Rinpoche being handed down the death sentence, later commuted to life in prison.

This year, from his prison in China’s Sichuan province, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche said, ‘There are some people who say that taking up my case will make things worse for me.  At this point, I have fallen to the lowest point.  Nothing worse can come.  So, you can make appeals and initiate campaigns for me.'

Woeser and Wang also write about ‘charlatan lamas’ and tulkus stationed in monasteries charging exorbitant prices from unsuspecting tourists for phony future predictions and fake puja ceremonies.  When visitors ran short of cash, they would say, ‘No problem, we take credit cards here.’  These operatives are Tibetan-speaking Chinese from tour companies that have colluded with local religious bureaus which issue them permits to set up bases and business in major monasteries.

For exile Tibetans and the international community, Woeser and Wang’s essays are perhaps the most reliable source of information on Tibet that still continues to flow through many channels such as books, blogs, press interviews and social media.  Many other Tibetan writers such as Theurang, Dolma Kyab and Kunchok Tsephel who have articulated national aspirations are serving various sentences – some as long as fifteen years – in Chinese prisons for their writing.

Though Woeser and Wang are facing threats, harassment, house arrest and being tailed daily, they have managed to avoid being put behind bars thus far.  There is however real danger that, like their friend and Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo who is serving eleven years in jail for his role in drafting Charter 08, their days may be numbered.

But for the moment they bear witness and chronicle issues facing both Tibet and China today under the Communist Party.  Woeser writes that ‘for the powerless, the pen can be wielded as a weapon – a weapon honed by the Tibetan faith, tradition and culture,’ and that ‘[i]n the face of the devastation Tibet has endured and the aspirations of Tibetans who have gone up in flames, I shall redouble my strength to resist oppression; I simply will not concede, or compromise.’

It is long overdue that the CCP listens to the voices of this brave couple and realize that their articulation carries the weight of every person on the plateau whose voice is stifled and whose aspiration for freedom rebutted with bullets and armoured vehicles.

Voices from Tibet is an incisive and an urgent book that must be read by anyone who has an interest not only in Tibet and China but also in the struggles for freedom elsewhere in the world.  If any record of oppression can fend off state-sanctioned collective amnesia, it is this.


(A copy of Voices from Tibet was kindly provided to The Tibetan Political Review by the Hong Kong University Press.)

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Our Belated Response to the Sikyong's "Ten Questions"

posted Dec 19, 2013, 5:34 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Dec 19, 2013, 6:11 PM ]

By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review 

Photo: DIIR/Tibet.net

In August 2013, on the anniversary of his second year in office, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay gave an interview to Tibet.net entitled “Ten Questions for Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay.”<FN1>  This continued the tradition of Mr. Sangay’s previous three “Ten Questions” interviews, given during his candidacy, when he would respond to questions posed by the manager of his campaign website.<FN2>  (A different set of questions for the Sikyong was posed by Dechen Tsering of California, so far unanswered).<FN3>

The August 2013 interview addressed a number of topics that are of interest to the electorate.  The Sikyong gave lengthy responses, laying out the policy of his administration and its reasons.  This sort of in-depth, systematic discussion is a positive step toward transparency and engaging the electorate in a real discussion on some important issues.

As the volunteer editors of The Tibetan Political Review, it would be inappropriate not to state our appreciation that the Sikyong addressed several important issues that we have raised in the past: (1) gender equality and gender violence; (2) the question of whether eligible Tibetan refugees should assert Indian citizenship; and (3) the Sikyong’s re-interpretation of “genuine autonomy” to abandon democracy and accept Chinese Communist Party rule for Tibet.

As a small, all-volunteer website, we may have been somewhat remiss in not expressing this acknowledgement sooner.  We do so now, and, in the spirit of constructive discussion we offer the following additional thoughts on these topics, which include both agreement and differences of opinion.

Gender Equality and Gender Violence

The Sikyong made a welcome commitment to the principle of gender equality.  He recognized that the administration still has a way to go in terms of equal representation, which is a realistic assessment that shows a certain non-defensiveness.  One could quibble over Mr. Sangay’s claim that the inclusion of two female Kalons represents “progress”, since the 10th Kashag from 1993-1996 also included two women, but overall it is a welcome development that the administration made an unequivocal commitment to promoting gender equality.

As far as putting this stated commitment into practice, we recommend “Reaching for the Sky: A Solution to Gender Equality”, by Tenzin Palkyi and Tenzin Dickyi.
<FN4>  This article lays out some important deficiencies in the administration’s Women’s Empowerment Policy, which can hopefully be addressed going forward.

Regarding the Sikyong’s statement on the gender violence in Tenzingang in June 2011, Mr. Sangay called it a “most unfortunate case” but added that it happened two months before his administration took office.  He noted that his Home Minister, Dolma Gyari, is promoting “gender sensitization” in the Tibetan settlements.  That was the extent of the discussion.

The Tenzingang case was more than “unfortunate”.  It was horrendous.  TPR has already written about this case, so there is no need to again recount the vicious attack nor the blatantly unfair way the victim was treated compared to the man.
<FN5>  The Tibetan Women’s Association report on this incident suggests that the CTA Home Ministry was involved in overseeing the Tenzingang settlement officer’s shameful handling of this case even after Mr. Sangay took office, and the new administration certainly had several missed opportunities to revisit this case.  As TPR’s editorial noted, the facts suggest either the Sangay administration’s “abdication of responsibility, or its consent to the outcome”.

In September 2011, the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile called on the Kashag (Cabinet) to ensure the effective enforcement of the host country’s laws on dealing with any forms of violence against women, and to issue new guidelines to the settlement officers aimed at protecting women’s rights and submit it to Parliament, with a deadline of March 2012.  It is deeply disappointing that the administration has still not fulfilled this mandate over two years later.

On the other hand, the August 2013 sexual assault on a minor in Mungod was condemned much more forcefully by the Home Minister.
<FN6>  And in October 2013, the Sikyong finally condemned the Tenzingang assault.<FN7>  Perhaps this is a sign that the administration will belatedly take a more active stance against gender violence?

Mr. Sangay congratulates the winner of the first "Sikyong Scholarship", May 2013.  Photo: Tibet Sun

Indian Citizenship for Tibetan Refugees

Mr. Sangay explained clearly in his August interview that his administration believes that the “decision to apply for Indian or any other country’s citizenship is a personal choice”.  This is a welcome change from the past, when the Tibetan government-in-exile exhibited an informal disapproval of eligible Tibetans asserting Indian citizenship.  For example, Mr. Sangay stated that his administration has granted all 14 requests for the “No Objection Certificates” that the Indian authorities require for eligible Tibetans seeking to invoke their right to Indian citizenship.

Oddly, however, Mr. Sangay once again mistook the legal process for eligible Tibetans asserting their Indian citizenship rights.  Tibetans born in India between January 26, 1950 and July 1, 1987 are automatically Indian citizens.  Citizenship is not something they have to “apply” for; they only have to prove certain facts.  Mischaracterizing this as “applying” for a new citizenship might have the consequence of discouraging some Tibetans who do not want to betray their Tibetan identity.   The fact is, the law says that Indian citizenship is already theirs.

The Tibetan administration also seems to be maintaining unequal treatment for Tibetans on Indian versus Western citizenship.  While the administration claims to take no position (neither for nor against) on Tibetans asserting Indian citizenship, Mr. Sangay spoke very positively about the Canada Tibetan resettlement program.  He even described the active involvement of the Tibetan exile authorities (the Canadian project was started in 2007 and is run by an NGO in Canada).  This suggests that there remains a bit of a double-standard.

Mr. Sangay’s interview does not address the key concern raised in TPR’s editorial on this issue.
<FN8>  We believe it is an unaffordable luxury for the Tibetan government-in-exile to remain agnostic about eligible Tibetans asserting Indian citizenship.  Actively promoting this path might be the best way to provide for the Tibetan exile community’s -- and the Tibetan government-in-exile’s -- long-term security in India.  If Mr. Sangay believes differently then perhaps he could explain his thinking, but the issue of long-term security simply cannot be ignored.

Abandoning Democracy for Tibet

The Sikyong’s August interview addressed his statements at the Council on Foreign Relations in May 2013, where he abandoned democracy as a goal for Tibet and accepted Chinese Communist Party control, China’s full discretion on militarization, and a limited duration for any autonomy agreement.  This caused quite a controversy.  For example, Tibetan writer Woser responded that she “felt like I’ve been punched in the gut” and suggested that Mr. Sangay “join the Chinese Communist Party” so he can “be the Obama of China”.

(In a November 2013 interview with Radio Free Asia, Mr. Sangay again stated that democracy is “not a precondition”, making it clear that his Council on Foreign Relations comments were not a mistake.)

The Sikyong’s August interview incorrectly asserted that there is “no divergence between my comments and the long-held official CTA position”.  As described in TPR’s editorial, however, there are major divergences.
<FN11>  It is simply incorrect to suggest that the Memorandum and Note abandon democracy and accept Chinese Communist Party rule, unlimited militarization, and a limited duration.

The Memorandum and Note are very careful in their wording.  While they do not use the word “democracy”, they also do not abandon it as Mr. Sangay did.   The Memorandum calls for “the right of Tibetans to create their own regional government and government institutions and processes”, which certainly is consistent with democracy.  The Note says it does not “challenge the socialist system of the PRC … [or] demand its exclusion from Tibetan areas”, but not excluding the overall Chinese socialist system from Tibet is far different than allowing the Communist Party unfettered rule in Tibet.

And it must be remembered that the Memorandum and Note grew out of the Middle Way as originally envisioned by His Holiness, which proposes Tibet as a “self-governing democratic political entity.”
<FN12>  Unfortunately, Mr. Sangay’s re-interpretation of “genuine autonomy” eviscerates this goal.

Given all this, it would be reasonable to worry that foreign supporters and governments may become concerned that the Tibetan cause is heading in a troubling direction.  In fact, we believe that some governments, organizations, and individuals who currently support the Middle Way will likely begin to question the Sikyong’s abandonment of democracy and acceptance of Communist Party rule.

Already this questioning seems to have started.  At the September 2013 Tibetan Democracy Day celebrations (no irony there), Parliamentary Speaker Penpa Tsering made a forceful endorsement of a future democratic Tibet -- in apparent opposition to the Sikyong’s position.  The Speaker called for “present[ing] this excellent system of democracy as a gift when Tibetans inside and outside are reunited after a solution to the Tibetan problem is found”.

In another possible example, the Tibetan Election Commission’s official webpage now prominently features a 2011 quote by His Holiness calling the lack of elections “immoral and outdated.”

Speaker Tsering could hardly have made a stronger endorsement of democracy for Tibet.  It is regrettable that a universal principle such as democracy could even be in question at all, but the Speaker’s stance is welcome.  Clearly, there is an ongoing debate among Middle Way supporters about the contours of such a policy, and about how many concessions to China are too much.  We encourage all Tibetans to consider how the administration has re-interpreted “genuine autonomy” in their name and in the name of the six million Tibetan people in occupied Tibet.

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[1] http://tibet.net/2013/08/24/ten-questions-for-sikyong-dr-lobsang-sangay/

[2] http://www.tibetanpoliticalreview.org/project-updates/tenquestionstodrlobsangsangayiii

[3] http://www.tibetanpoliticalreview.org/articles/anopenlettertosikyongdrlobsangsangay

[4] http://www.tibetanpoliticalreview.org/articles/reachingfortheskyapolicysolutiontogenderinequality

[5] http://www.tibetanpoliticalreview.org/editorials/revisitingthetenzingangincidentafterthedelhirapemurdercase

[6] http://tibet.net/2013/08/24/cta-condemns-sexual-assault-on-minor-girl-in-mundgod/

[7]  http://m.timesofindia.com/city/chandigarh/Tibetans-chalk-CAN-strategy-to-take-struggle-forward/articleshow/24898478.cms

[8] http://www.tibetanpoliticalreview.org/editorials/tobeornotbe

[9] http://www.tibetanpoliticalreview.org/editorials/tashidelekcomrade

[10] http://www.tibetanpoliticalreview.org/articles/chinashardlinepolicieswillnotworkintibetexileleader

[11] http://www.tibetanpoliticalreview.org/editorials/tashidelekcomrade

[12] http://www.dalailama.com/messages/tibet/strasbourg-proposal-1988

[13] http://tibet.net/2013/09/02/statement-of-tibetan-parliament-in-exile-on-53rd-tibetan-democracy-day/

[14] http://tibet.net/about-cta/election-commission/

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Infected with Politics: WHO and China Turn Public Health into Political Battleground

posted Dec 18, 2013, 6:34 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Dec 22, 2013, 5:08 PM ]

By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review 

On October 14th, the doctors at Delek Hospital, the main hospital for the hundred and fifty thousand Tibetan refugees in India, received some good news.  The Stop TB Partnership Secretariat of the World Health Organization informed them that the Kochon Prize selection committee had chosen the Tibetan TB Control Programme as one of this year’s recipients.  The winners had to be approved by the WHO’s director general, but this was a mere formality—the WHO had never refused its approval to the selection committee’s choice before.  There was no reason for anyone—not the prize committee members, not the staff at the Stop TB Partnership Secretariat, certainly not Dr. Tseten Sadutsang and Dr. Kunchok Dorjee —to doubt the approval would go through.  The doctors made travel arrangements to Paris for the award ceremony, and were even asked for photos of the hospital for the press release, and for their dietary restrictions regarding the annual Kochon Dinner.

Then came the bad news.  The WHO’s director general, Margaret Chan, had refused to approve the Tibetan TB Control Programme to receive the Kochon Prize, citing the hospital’s ties to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration.  The Chinese Ambassador to the UN had stormed into the Geneva office of the Stop TB Partnership and demanded that the prize be withdrawn from the Tibetan hospital.  Ms. Margaret Chan, celebrated as “China’s pride and the Chinese people’s pride”<FN1> by the Chinese Minister of Health upon her appointment to the top job, did the “right thing” by China.  Drs. Sadutsang and Dorjee were requested to cancel their flights.

Delek Hospital, Dharamsala, India

This is not surprising.  China has exerted great effort to undermine the work of His Holiness and the Tibetan cause on the world stage, and shown petulance and spite when it hasn’t gotten its way.  China refused to recognize all degrees awarded by the University of Calgary after the University honored the Dalai Lama with an honorary degree.  The fear of Chinese reprisal is so profound that Prime Minister David Cameron, who angered the Chinese a year ago for simply meeting with His Holiness, embarrassed himself and his office by “kowtowing” to China on his recent visit (this according to the Telegraph, which usually supports the conservative party).<FN2>

Margaret Chan insisted on her appointment, “First and foremost, now that I have been elected as director-general, I will no longer wear my nationality on my sleeve .”
<FN3>  Unfortunately, she has proven to be a good foot soldier for Beijing.  In 2010 she came back from Beijing’s ally North Korea, one of the most dictatorial regimes in the world, with glowing praise for Pyongyang’s health care system, a system that her own predecessor had described as near collapse just ten years before.<FN4>

But it is especially saddening, to see the WHO, an avowedly nonpolitical, humanitarian organization dedicated to universal health, let China lead it by the nose into making an unjust political decision.

For Tibetans, tuberculosis, like so much else, is a byproduct of exile.  In Tibet before 1959, TB was almost unknown.  TB first became a public health issue in the new Tibetan refugee settlements in India and Nepal, as a people from a cold, dry climate suddenly struggled to adjust to a hot, damp climate amid factors such as over-crowding, poor diet, migration, and lack of access to healthcare.  TB has dogged the settlements ever since.  Tibetans now have one of the highest TB incidence rates in the world, with over 95% of Tibetans in US and Canada having latent TB infection.

That’s why the work of the Tibetan TB Control Programme (TTCP) is so crucial and why the efforts of Dr. Tseten Sadutsang and Dr. Kunchok Dorjee, who directed the program, so deserve this recognition.  Since its inception at Delek Hospital in 2007, TTCP had seen tremendous success in treating and preventing TB; by 2012, working in a challenging refugee set-up on a limited budget, they achieved an overall treatment success rate of 93%.

By denying the prize, WHO bowed to politics and refused to recognize Delek Hospital for its extraordinary achievement.  But institutions and people who succumb to injustice can be persuaded to find their integrity once more.  In April 2013, the University of Sidney bowed to Chinese pressure and disinvited H.H. the Dalai Lama, and then bowed again to public pressure and re-invited His Holiness.  There is still a chance, however small, that the WHO will do the right thing.  People of conscience everywhere should call on Margaret Chan to honor her promise not to wear her nationality on her sleeve, and stand for the humanitarian principles of the organization she leads.

*A petition has been started on Change.org regarding this issue:


[1]  http://www.scmp.com/article/571279/giant-responsibility

[2]  http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100248542/cronyism-and-kowtowing-in-china/

[3] http://www.scmp.com/article/571279/giant-responsibility

[4]  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704342604575221661454759110

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Tibetan Democracy Takes a Step Backwards

posted Oct 24, 2013, 6:32 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Oct 24, 2013, 6:39 PM ]

By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review 

On September 20, 2013, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) spent an entire session censuring Member of Parliament (MP) Karma Chophel for his prior comments supporting Tibetan independence and speculating that, when composing the Words of Truth Prayer,<FN1>  His Holiness the Dalai Lama had “independence in his heart.”  This session was purportedly justified by statements supposedly expressed by His Holiness during a private audience with Tibetan civil servants on September 2, 2013.   According to TPiE Speaker Penpa Tsering, His Holiness stated that because of low confidence in Him by the Tibetan people, He would live to 108 and not 113 as previously stated.  His Holiness also supposedly made references to several individuals, including Karma Chophel, who had allegedly expressed dissatisfaction with the Dalai Lama’s decision to change the name of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile (TGiE), according to Speaker Tsering.<FN2>  (It turns out that key points were seriously distorted, as explained below.) 

During the September 20 session, the TPiE suspended parliamentary rules to permit members to speak without time limits, in which numerous members criticized Karma Chophel’s remarks for hurting the feelings of His Holiness.  Karma Chophel denied he said anything that would cause His Holiness to be hurt, and prior to the September 20 session, Karma Choephel had even written a private letter of apology to His Holiness and pledged to never express his views about this issue again.  The TPiE ultimately passed a resolution that 1) asked His Holiness to live to 113 and beyond, 2) pledged the TGiE would confront such issues in the future without hesitation, and 3) pledging to fulfill the Dalai Lama’s aspirations with democratic polity endowed by His Holiness, according to a Tibet Sun article.

On September 22, 2013, Speaker Tsering and Sikyong Lobsang Sangay sought an audience with His Holiness to discuss the Karma Chophel controversy. After the audience, Speaker Tsering and Sikyong Sangay said:

His Holiness was speaking to a private audience; he was making a general comment — not aimed at particular individuals.  The reduction of his lifespan [from 113 to 108 years] is related to his health matters. He will continue to pursue the Middle-Way policy and live among us as long as the Tibetan issue remains unresolved.<FN3>

This means that the TPiE engaged in an entire session attacking Karma Chophel for supposedly shortening the lifespan of the Dalai Lama, when it turns out that the original interpretation of what His Holiness had said was untrue.

Looking at the Parliament’s Actions Against Karma Chophel

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees freedom of expression and opinion for all people.  Freedom of speech is also protected in the Charter of Tibetans in Exile.  His Holiness has said “[t]ruth is the best guarantor and the real foundation of freedom and democracy.”<FN4>  In any democracy, it is important that people be allowed to comment on and criticize the political decisions and policies of their leaders.  A democratic government needs to tolerate such speech, especially so if the government disagrees with such speech.   Otherwise, a government’s stated commitment to free speech is just empty words. 

Moreover, in 2010, the CTA published a document entitled The Middle Way Policy and All Recent Related Documents.<FN5> That document specifically cautioned:

“whatever political ideologies one may follow, one should be able to gain certainty about that particular ideology through reason; one should never follow hearsay and blind-faith, as well as be prejudiced, gullible and be more reliant on ‘individuals than the doctrine.’   In short, it is very essential that without undertaking a proper and thorough investigation on one’s own, one should not blindly follow what other people say.”

In addition, the CTA document stated:

“if any of those organizations or individuals who support the Middle Way Policy try to propagate this policy by saying that it is the expressed wish of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and so all should accept it, then they are simply spreading disinformation. We consider this absolutely inappropriate and undesirable.”

The CTA document emphasized that His Holiness “has never said all should agree with his line of thought.” Apparently, the TPiE forgot these admonitions in their September 20 session.

Perhaps coincidentally, one day before on September 19, Sikyong Sangay criticized those who “make baseless and unrealistic criticism” and warned that his administration “will not hesitate and spare no efforts in dealing with such criticisms in its pursuit of Middle-Way Approach and those who denigrate and misconstrue His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”<FN6>  This statement -- like the TPiE resolution the following day -- carries an implicit threat against critics, and attempts to improperly link criticism of the Middle Way Policy with disloyalty to His Holiness.  That is unfortunate. 

Factually, too, it bears pointing out that His Holiness composed the Words of Truth Prayer in 1960, more than a quarter-century before the Middle Way was put forth.  At the time, the objective truth was that independence was probably in every Tibetan’s heart.   For example, His Holiness’s March 10 address in 1969 declared: “Even if the Chinese leave nothing but ashes in our sacred land, Tibet will rise from these ashes as a free country even if it takes a long time to do so. No imperialist power has succeeded for all time to keep other people in colonial subjection for so long.”<FN7>  Pointing this out does not detract from those who now genuinely believe in the Middle Way Policy. 

The TPiE lashed out against MP Karma Chophel for his remarks about His Holiness and the issue of Tibetan independence.   In other words, Karma Chophel was publicly lambasted for his views without any credible basis, evidence, or investigation.  This kind of behavior is reminiscent of anti-democratic systems where public attack, shaming, and self-criticism are used to ensure ideological orthodoxy.  Such behavior does not speak well of the development of Tibetan democracy in exile.

In addition, the TPiE’s actions have caused a chilling effect on free speech in the Tibetan exile community. On September 30, 2013, Gu Chu Sum, an organization of former Tibetan political prisoners, named for the months that saw massive pro-independence demonstrations in Lhasa in the 1980s, suddenly changed its formal position from independence to the Middle Way.<FN8>  This change by Gu Chu Sum appears to be an attempt to deflect attacks against them for their prior support for Tibetan independence.  This appears to be fallout from the growing free speech problems culminating in the TPiE’s September 20 session verbally attacking Karma Chophel. 

It was improper for the TPiE to attack an MP for his personal opinions in the manner that they did.   It is unacceptable that the TPiE used His Holiness’ name to attack Karma Chophel, particularly without a thorough investigation into the facts.  The TPiE’s actions are a step backwards for Tibetan democracy in exile and free speech.  They have caused some Tibetans in the exile community to be extremely reticent in expressing any criticism of the CTA’s policies for fear that others will paint them as anti-Dalai Lama.  Clearly, His Holiness has a high regard for democracy and free speech and the TPiE’s actions on September 20 are in direct contravention of such ideals.


[1]  http://www.dalailama.com/teachings/words-of-truth

[2] http://www.tibetsun.com/news/2013/09/21/tibetan-parliament-in-exile-discusses-karma-chophel-controversy

[3] http://www.tibetanpoliticalreview.com/articles/independence%E2%80%93noearwantstohear

[4] http://www.dalailama.com/messages/buddhism/buddhism-and-democracy

[5] http://tibet.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/MIDWAY-ENGLISH.pdf

[6] http://tibet.net/2013/09/19/middle-way-approach-shapes-growing-world-support-for-tibet-issue-kashag/

[7]  http://www.dalailama.com/messages/tibet/10th-march-archive/1969 

[8] http://www.tibetsun.com/news/2013/09/30/gu-chu-sum-changes-stand-to-middle-way

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Response to Chitue Jamyang Soepa by the volunteer editors of The Tibetan Political Review

posted Oct 23, 2013, 3:51 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Oct 23, 2013, 5:55 PM ]



By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review  (TPR)

Jamyang Soepa, Chitue (MP) in the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile

It has come to our attention that Chitue Jamyang Soepa,* a Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile member representing Kham, recently referred to TPR in a parliamentary debate.  As a small, young, all-volunteer website, we are flattered to receive the attention of the honorable Chitue.  However, we regret to have to point out that the honorable Chitue is mistaken in his unflattering assertions about TPR.

The honorable Chitue referred to TPR in a statement about what he described as His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s lha-gung-truk-yeh (disruption of divine thought).  Speaking in Parliament, the honorable Chitue asserted that the situation allegedly causing distress to His Holiness didn’t happen suddenly, and that it was the accumulation of many causes, and then the honorable Chitue specifically named TPR, among other names, as being in part responsible.

We believe it is highly improper for the honorable Chitue to attempt to speak on behalf of His Holiness.  We also respectfully remind the honorable Chitue that statements on the floor of the Parliament should not be made irresponsibly.  TPR has no more to do with this issue than any number of other Tibetan websites.  If the honorable Chitue has any actual facts to back up his baseless allegation, it would be our honor to publish a statement by him in Tibetan and/or English.

Our motivation in volunteering our time for this website is to help advance His Holiness's vision of a strong and vibrant Tibetan democracy, whose success stands as a beacon to our brothers and sisters in Tibet.  We believe we are making a small contribution to this goal, and we thank our readers for this opportunity.

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* Chitue Jamyang Soepa is a native of Lithang, Kham. He was elected to the Parliament in 2011 with 6,536 votes. A brief biography is available here.  His statement on TPR is available here  (2:00:00 - 2:03:57).

ཉེ་ཆར་གྱི་གྲོས་ཚོགས་ནང་གི་བགྲོ་གླེང་ཞིག་གི་སྐབས་སུ། མདོ་སྟོད་སྤྱི་འཐུས་འཇམ་དབྱངས་བཟོད་པ་ནས་བོད་ཀྱི་ཆབ་སྲིད་བསྐྱར་ཞིབ་དྲ་བའི་སྐོར་ལ་གླེང་སློང་བྱས་བ་དེར་ང་ཚོས་དོ་སྣང་བྱུང་། དང་བླངས་དགོས་སྒྲུབ་བཞིན་པའི་དྲ་རྒྱ་ལོ་གཞོན་འདིར་དོ་སྣང་སྤྲད་པར་ང་ཚོ་སྤྲོ་བ་འཕེལ། གང་ལྟར། ང་ཚོས་བཀུར་འོས་སྤྱི་འཐུས་ཀྱིས་བོད་ཀྱི་ཆབ་སྲིད་བསྐྱར་ཞིབ་དྲ་བའི་སྐོར་གྱི་སྐྱོན་བརྗོད་གཏམ་བཤད་དེའི་ཁྲོད་དུ་ནོར་འཁྲུལ་ཡོད་པ་ཁ་རུ་འདོན་དགོས་བྱུང་བར་དགོངས་འགལ་མེད་པ་ཞུ།


ྱལ་བ་རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་དགོངས་གཞི་དཀྲུགས་གཞིའི་སྐོར་གྱི་བསྒྲགས་གཏམ་དེའི་ཁོངས་སུ་བོད་ཀྱི་ཆབ་སྲིད་བསྐྱར་ཞིབ་དྲ་བ་ཁུངས་འདྲེན་བྱས་སོང་། གྲོས་ཚོགས་རྭ་བའི་ནང་དུ། སྤྱི་འཐུས་ཁོང་གིས་༧རྒྱལ་བ་རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་དགོངས་གཞི་དཀྲུགས་རྐྱེན་གྱི་གནས་སྟངས་ནི་གློ་བུར་དུ་བྱུང་བ་ཞིག་མིན་པའི་གཏམ་བཤད་དང་མིང་འགའ་བཏོན་པའི་ཁོངས་སུ་བོད་ཀྱི་ཆབ་སྲིད་བསྐྱར་ཞིབ་དྲ་བའི་མིང་ཡང་བཏོན་ཡོད་པ་མ་ཟད་དེ་ལ་འགན་འཁྲི་ཡོད་པའི་སྐོར་ཡང་གླེང་ཡོད།

གིས་༧གོང་ས་མཆོག་གི་ངོ་ཚབ་ལྟར་གཏམ་གླེང་བྱེད་པ་ནི་མ་འོས་པ་ཞིག་ལ་ཡིད་ཆེས་བྱེད་ཀྱི་ཡོད། ང་ཚོས་ད་དུང་གུས་བཀུར་ཡོད་པའི་སྒོ་ནས་བཀུར་འོས་སྤྱི་འཐུས་ལ་དྲན་སྐུལ་ཞུ་རྒྱུར། གྲོས་ཚོགས་ར་བའི་ནང་ནས་འགན་མེད་ཀྱི་བསྒྲགས་གཏམ་སྤེལ་མི་རུང་། གནད་དོན་འདིའི་ཐད། བོད་ཀྱི་ཆབ་སྲིད་བསྐྱར་ཞིབ་དྲ་བར་བོད་ཀྱི་དྲ་རྒྱ་གཞན་ལས་ལྷག་པའི་བྱེད་བབས་ཅི་ཡང་མེད། གལ་སྲིད་བཀུར་འོས་སྤྱི་འཐུས་ལ་ཁོང་གི་གཞི་མེད་སྐྱོན་འཛུགས་དེར་བདེན་པའི་ཁུངས་སྐྱེལ་ཡོད་ཚེ། ང་ཚོས་ཁོང་གི་རྒྱུ་མཚན་དེ་བོད་དབྱིན་གང་རུང་དུ་དཔར་བསྐྲུན་བྱེད་རྒྱུའི་དགའ་བསུ་ཞུ་གི་ཡོད།

འི་ཆེད་དུ་དུས་ཚོད་གཏོང་དོན་ནི། ༧རྒྱལ་བ་རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་བོད་ཀྱི་གཏིང་ཚུགས་པའི་མང་གཙོའི་འཆར་སྣང་དེ་རྒྱ་བསྐྱེད་ལ་རོགས་རམ་བྱེད་ཆེད་ཡིན་ལ། དེ་ཡི་གྲུབ་འབྲས་ནི་བོད་ནང་གི་ང་ཚོའི་སྤུན་ཟླ་དག་གི་ལམ་སྟོན་གྱི་སྒྲོན་མེ་ལྟ་བུ་ཡང་རེད། ང་ཚོས་དམིགས་ཡུལ་འདིའི་སླད་དུ་ཞབས་ཞུ་ཆུང་ཆུང་ཞིག་བསྒྲུབ་བཞིན་པར་ཡིད་ཆེས་བྱེད་ཀྱི་ཡོད་ལ། ང་ཚོའི་ཀློག་པ་པོ་རྣམས་ལ་ཡང་གོ་སྐབས་འདིའི་ཆེད་དུ་ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ་ཞུ།

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སྤྱི་འཐུས་འཇམ་དབྱངས་བཟོད་པ་ནི་ཁམས་ལི་ཐང་ནས་ཡིན་ཞིང་། ཁོང་ཕྱི་ལོ་༢༠༡༡ལོར་འོས་གྲངས་༦༥༣༦ཐོབ་ནས་སྤྱི་འཐུས་སུ་འདེམས། ཁོང་འདི་ལོ་རྒྱུས་མདོར་བསྡུས་ཤིག་འདི་རུ་འདུག (http://bit.ly/H80I9d) ཁོང་གིས་བོད་ཀྱི་ཆབ་སྲིད་བསྐྱར་ཞིབ་དྲ་བའི་སྐོར་ལ་བཏོན་པའི་གཏམ་བཤད་དེ་འདི་རུ་ཡོད། (http://bit.ly/1ib6jHi  (2:00:00 - 2:03:57))

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Hu Jintao's Genocide Indictment: What Does it Mean?

posted Oct 13, 2013, 2:23 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Oct 13, 2013, 8:42 PM ]

By the editorial board of The Tibetan Political Review 

The scene: Zhongnanhai Home for Retired Comrades, Beijing
The cast: Hu Jintao and his Personal Secretary
Date: 7:00 a.m., October 10, 2013
HU shuffles into his private study, five months after his retirement as Chinese President.  He is wearing his favorite bunny slippers.

SECRETARY: "Comrade Hu, I'm afraid I have some bad news for you.  The so-called Spanish National Court has just so-called indicted you for so-called 'genocide' in Tibet, due to a universal jurisdiction lawsuit brought by a group called CAT.  This was reported this morning in major global media including the imperialist BBC, hegemonist AP, gaullist AFP, and even the South China Morning Post from China's Hong Kong.
HU:  "What?  What are you talking about?  I just woke up." 
SECRETARY: "Sir, unfortunately you are now a criminal defendant and an indicted genocidaire.  The Spanish Court formally accused you of being responsible for coordinated actions aimed at eliminating the population and country of Tibet.  Supposedly, this was by imposing martial law, carrying out mass sterilizations, torturing dissidents, and forcibly transferring in Chinese in order to dominate and eliminate the population and country of Tibet.  I mean 'so-called country'.  This relates to your time as Party Secretary in Tibet, as well as your time as President of our Glorious Motherland."

HU:  "Do you mean that some Spanish court recognized Tibet as a so-called occupied country?  I thought we buried that truth a long time ago.  We've gotten everyone to recognize Tibet as part of the Motherland, right?" 

SECRETARY: "Unfortunately not, sir.  The Spanish Court looked at the facts and the law, and determined that Tibet is a so-called occupied country.  This is huge setback for our global propaganda efforts, especially as it comes from what many gullible foreigners will consider a so-called impartial tribunal. 

"Even worse, the Spanish court made it clear that your so-called genocide was directly aimed at the 'country' of Tibet.  This means that this is not just an issue of individual rights or minority rights.  This means that so-called human rights abuses against Tibetans are linked to our efforts to secure our rightful sovereignty over our Tibet Region.  In other words, some pesky human rights issues are actually linked to Tibet's so-called political status.  And that is very bad indeed for our Infallible Party."
HU:  "Yes, I guess that's really bad for us.  That audacious Spanish Court is attacking the heart of our sacred 'core interest' to control Tibet.  The nerve!  Well anyway, why should I care?  This is just a futile symbolic act by one court in one tiny European country.  How can this possibly affect me?"

SECRETARY: "Comrade Hu, do you remember when you met General Pinochet of Chile at a Global Tyrant's Club meeting back in the 1990s?"
HU: "Of course!  Good old Augusto.  When he told me how he used to fly dissidents over the ocean and push them out of airplanes, I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants."
SECRETARY: "Well, sir, the Spanish National Court indicted General Pinochet for genocide, just like you.  When Pinochet traveled to London in 1998, the Spanish Court issued an arrest warrant and the British arrested him.  This was shocking because Pinochet was friends with Margaret Thatcher, but in Britain they have something silly called 'rule of law' where the judicial process is insulated from politics.  Pinochet was placed under arrest, and nearly extradited to Spain to stand trial.  He was only released back to Chile on humanitarian medical grounds.  The Spanish Court brought another genocide lawsuit against an Argentine officer called Adolfo Scilingo, and he is rotting in a Spanish prison right now, sentenced to 640 years."
HU: "Wait, you're telling me that if I travel to Spain or the European Union, I could be arrested?  Me, Hu Jintao?"
SECRETARY: "You are correct, sir.  You are now a criminal defendant, and the Spanish Court can issue an international arrest warrant for you.  I'm afraid it also looks like the Spanish Court can try to freeze your international assets." 

HU: "You mean like Bo Xilai's $2 million villa in France or his overseas bank accounts?  Well, unlike ex-Comrade Bo, I am a simple man and I have no overseas assets, but..."
SECRETARY: "Right sir, whatever you say."
HU:  "Wait, can't I just get on the phone and get the Spanish government to kill this, like I killed all those Tibetan protesters back in the day?  Or what about hoping that the so-called Tibetan administration in Dharamsala to kills this, like they called off those annoying protests when Jiang Zemin and I visited the US?"

SECRETARY: "Well, sir, as I mentioned, Spain has this silly thing called 'rule of law'.  And I know what you're thinking about those Tibetan exiles.  Unfortunately in this case, they seem to be standing up for themselves: one exile MP is an actual plaintiff in the Spanish case, and two exile MPs recently brought a private member's resolution in the exile Parliament to support the Spanish case.  And the so-called Tibetan exile Foreign Minister issued a formal statement supporting the Spanish case.  I don't know what's gotten into those Tibetans."
HU:  "Gàn!  Those Tibetans are nothing but trouble!"
SECRETARY: "You are correct again, sir.  Unfortunately, it's my duty to tell you that you are also in trouble.  You can't travel freely any more, and we need to worry about your international assets.  We might be able to pressure countries to resist this upstart Spanish Court, but that's what Pinochet and Scilingo thought too, and look what happened to them.  Unfortunately, sir, the Tibetans and their allies have just won a huge victory against you -- and it might get even worse."

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