By Choni Tsultrim Gyatso*
[Response to "Ten Real Questions for Dr. Lobsang Sangay" by Tashi Sangay]
All the responds are my own words and this has nothing to do with Lobsang Sangay la.
1. You speak of UNITY amongst Tibetans as one of the core principle of your campaign, yet your campaign has been involved with some of the most divisive politics Tibetans in exile have ever witnessed. Kudrak vs commoners; Old vs young; “pure blood Tibetans”, etc.,
If you have been unable to control your campaign team on this issue of unity, how do you envision promotion of UNITY if elected as Kalon Tripa?
Choni: There is no such thing to control people in democratic society and use force to unity all in one. When people have different opinions and views and brought them up to public and express themselves doesn’t mean Tibetans are disunity but rather it is opposite in reality that people cares about our Kalon Tripa election and debate about who is the timely right to choose our next leader young, old, in another word let continue old citizens to lead exile government or pass to younger generation etc.
2. On VOA, you said Harvard has paid for the bulk of your campaign expenses – particularly international travels. However in your letter to the campaign supporters, you said it was the debate organizers who are paying for the international travels. Now in an interview with Harvard Crimson, you said it was your campaign team who is paying for those expenses.
Will you disclose the true source of your campaign funding?
Choni: What is big deal to dig where the fund came from? It doesn’t matter who fund to travel. The most important thing is candidate needs to travel to the Tibetan communities around the world let people know what is in his mind and what kind plan he has for Kalon Tripa, what kind of changes that he be able to bring in for the betterment of schools, communities and how he is going to deal with China to resolve Tibet issue etc. We all know how difficult it is to travel all the corner of the world wherever there is group of Tibetan but Lobsang Sanygay hold himself together and made through all those.We should appreciate his effort instead of push him aside. Somebody need to pay for it so what is the big deal ask ten of questions about money repeatedly.
3. On VOA and in Minnesota, you said Harvard has given you 5 years leave of absence. You mentioned that Prof Unger was an example of someone with five years leave to serve with the government of Brazil. Prof. Unger had to return to Harvard after 2 years because Harvard refused to extend his leave.
Do you have 5 years leave of absence from Harvard to serve the Tibetan government in exile?
Choni: Lobsang Sangay la was so clear about this third question. If some one still have doubt about his leave 5 years in Harvard then you should call Harvard instead of bring back same question again and again.
4. In 2003, In a paper you wrote, Tibet: Exile’s Journey, you said that “the Lama ... must give way politically to a popularly elected leader and let his office become a purely spiritual one” and then asked "if he is to lead them to full democracy must he not step aside and let a secular system flourish?” Were you calling for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to resign?
Choni: Nobody has attention to call His Holiness to resign from his position as political and spiritual leader of Tibet. Nobody can change that except H,H himself but one thing we must know that H.H is 75 years old now and we couldn’t or shouldn’t leave every single thing to H.H to worry about. One of reasons that H.H and exile government made so much effort to provide and educating younger generation is to replace old people when we needed. I think after 50 years now is time for younger generation to take over and specially political issue because monks and nuns aren’t suite in that field and that is why I think it is very important let the secular system flourish. Why not?
5. At Woodrow Wilson Centre in 2008, when questioned on charges of “serfs and slavery in Tibet”, you responded by joking about nominating yourself as the next President of China.
Do you believe it not important to respond to Chinese charges of slavery in Tibet prior to Chinese invasion?
Choni: Joking is Joking, why we would take so seriously. We all know it was joking. Even if you born outside the Tibet, you should have some idea how Tibetans lived prior Chinese invasion. every single so called “Noble Family” in Tibet had hold hundred of families let them work in field and all sort of thing but provide very little. Some case are true. You should saw and pictures and movies and even read about people living condition prior to Chinese occupation. I am not saying Chinese came improved living condition but reality is that “serfs and slavery” some corners in Tibet happened there is no excuse.
6. The position of Kalon Tripa, as the Chief Executive Officer, of the Tibetan government in exile requires management of thousands of people, allocation of over Rs. 100 crore or $25 million annually. Based on your resume and terms of condition of Harvard’s policy on your job, it appears that you have only worked under supervision of others and have never supervised or managed any department or individuals.
How do you expect to perform your duties as the Kalon Tripa considering you have never previously held any position of responsibility?
Choni: Kalon Tripa is a Political leader not a manager. Plus, every single department has their own Kalons, Why would Kalon Triap worry too much about money instead of push Sino-Tibet issue to international stage and deal with China. Worked under supervision doesn’t mean that Lobsang Sangya doesn’t know how to handle it. It maybe Harvard policy, we need to know that wherever you work there is policy and procedure needs to follow.
For example: I have never had 10.000Rs in my bank account prior come to west and I have never had business experiences. I have never had any experience deal with money but my current job every single week at least $1.200,000 came through my hands and I have to deal with it. I know Lobsang Sangay la millions times smarter than me so I am not worry about it and you shouldn’t too.
7. Your positions at Harvard as a Research Associate and Research Fellow are both with term limits. Both are annually renewable and both have maximum term limit, Research Associate has eight years and Research Fellow with 5 years.
If you are not elected as the Kalon Tripa, will you have contract at Harvard beyond 2012?
Choni: This question again Lobsang Sangay la repeatedly answered. So I am not going to repeat again here. You should call Harvard find out if you don’t trust what had said.
8. Your position at Harvard requires external funding to Harvard.
Who is funding your position at Harvard?
Choni: who cares who fund Harvard. This nothing to do with election but rather annoy and harassment to candidate. What is the problem who fund Harvard or not. Our focus should be who is the best candidate and who can bring fresh leadership, who had plan and who is capable of reshape our future.
9. You said you traveled to China on a white paper that the Chinese government issued.
As a lawyer, did you not examine the content of that document? Were you aware you were agreeing to travel as an "Overseas Chinese National"? When asked about this issue before, why did you not simply answer truthfully?
Choni: You should watch Samdhung Rinpochen’s clarification on this topic. It wasn’t that Lobsang Sangay la traveled to China without inform Kashag and H.H’s private office. They are the ones told him to go and supported him visiting China as scholar. It doesn’t matter what paper document Lobsang Sangay la used as long as Kashag know about it then there shouldn’t be a problem. If that still doesn’t answer your question then instead of ask Lobsang Sangay la you should ask Kashag why they told him to go China.
Another side of visiting China I think is much more important then stay US or India talk the talk and walk the walk. Physically go to China and Tibet watch them, talk to them and try to get more information that we need to head up for future preparation. Without knowing China and actual condition in Tibet there is no way to solve Tibet issue with China. Therefore I am considering his visiting China was a positive approach to China’s scholars and even students to open a side door for future dialogue.
10. Why do you want to become the Kalon Tripa for Tibet?
Choni: he is smart, intelligent, fresh, energetic, expressive, highly educated, knows international law and expert on China. Willing to serve Tibet as Tibetan. He has plan to bring necessary changes. he can represent new generation to lead us to catch up rest of world politically and economically. I am so excited and I can’t wait March 20th vote him on.
Originally published at http://myhometibet.blogspot.com
* Choni Tsultrim Gyatso is also the author of "Let's Move on to the Next Chapter"