trump

Trump and Tibetans

A lot of things have been written on Trump and China so far and there is surely more to come.[1] Some experts who have been working on China for decades seem to be worried and some others clueless about the Trump administration’s future course.[2] Tibetans and their supporters while dwelling on the subject of future US-China developments and what it means for Tibet face similar problems. It may be wise to maintain a sense of realism and not to be carried away by hopes of Trump producing marvellous solutions for Tibet or to be unreasonably derogatory about this new US administration.
Having said this, there is no question that we should be extremely vigilant and be prepared for every development and seize the one opportunity that may change the course of events.
There are some more specific questions that need immediate reaction and should be carefully looked into. I tried to identify some of these pressing issues. The first issue is a meeting of Trump with H.H. the Dalai Lama.
Dalai Lama wishes to meet Donald Trump
We do not know what H.H. the Dalai Lama thinks exactly about this. While in Mongolia in November 2016, he expressed his wish to meet President Trump without being specific about the time frame. On the other hand, we have seen some comments by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) suggesting that an early meeting is appreciated. Moreover, CTA has welcomed Rex Tillerson’s response to a list of questions posed by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Tillerson basically reiterates the US policy held by successive US administrations before.
Should the Dalai Lama meet Trump at this early stage or wait till it’s safer to tell what the Trump administration is heading for? Trump himself has announced some major shifts in US-China relations without giving a real clue on how this would effect Tibet.

It makes a lot of sense to meet Trump as early as possible, I assume, provided there is a clear understanding what we want from the Trump administration and what they are expecting from the Tibetans, and from the Dalai Lama.

As for now, there are still no indications for a dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Beijing and therefore our goals should focus on other areas where progress is achievable at the moment: Strengthening our internal setup in exile and Tibet, revive our supporter base in Asia and in the West, and to find new allies for the Tibetan cause inside and outside China, without alienating our old friends. It would be wrong to meet Trump without checking these strategically important questions. The most difficult issue on the table, however, will be Trump’s challenge to Beijing’s “One-China” policy.
Trump’s challenging „One China” policy
Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, head of the CTA, has openly embraced the new elements that Trump brought in the US-China power equation. He said, referring to Trump’s criticism for the “One China” policy: “That was a very bold commentary coming from president-elect Donald Trump. We do think that boldness with substance is the right approach with the Chinese government.”[3]

This seems to be a new tone from Dharamsala, primarily fed by instinct and hopefully by the same amount of analysis. Though the CTA and the Dalai Lama have never openly endorsed Beijing’s stand on Taiwan, there are many instances that could be interpreted as an accommodation to China’s “One China” policy.[4]

Trump’s intentional disregard for China’s sensitivity on this core issue may very quickly overturn the principles laid down in the Taiwan Relations Act. This could have far reaching implications and could be the seed of a war. It is thinkable that the US’s new position on Beijing’s One China Policy will also lead to some heated internal Tibetan discussions and to a situation where the Sikyong and the Dalai Lama may have notable differences, i.e. to establish more direct and formal relations between Dharamsala to Taipei. It would therefore be better to discuss these issues thoroughly before meeting Trump and making public statements.

Dependency on US aid and political trade-offs
Tibetans and the CTA have become very dependent on US aid and it is very debatable if this is a healthy development. There is at the moment no indication that the Trump administration will link this aid to political trade-offs. But it is imaginable that many of these traditional US-American activities abroad will be reviewed because they are not in line with Trump’s slogan of “America’s First” and “Good Deal Making”. What will happen to the many programs that were enacted to carry America’s vision of a democratic and liberal society to the people of the world? What about the many foreign language services? Will they be funded in the same way and will there be new conditions attached to it from the US side? We do not know. What we know from the 50ties and 60ties is that US-American funding can be more of a curse than a blessing, especially when it dries out.

The majority of Tibetans who play an active part in the movement definitely are in conflict with Trump’s view of the world and his moral standards. Waterboarding, pussy grabbing and locking up political opponents are not the methods we want to see in the governance of the world. However, individual Tibetans may see this differently. There might be some who feel that Trump’s unconventional and controversial attitudes for established political norms are attractive. But, this is their individual opinion and it would be wrong to think of them as the majority. There is a much larger group, I guess, that disagrees with Trump on many issues but hopes for a change in Washington’s China policy that immensely benefited China’s economy since Bill Clinton’s disconnection of human rights from trade but did not lead to any improvements in Tibet and for human rights in China.

It is now the difficult task of the Dalai Lama to meet the new president and establish a good relationship for the benefit of all Tibetans. We shouldn’t be surprised to see images of Trump and the Dalai Lama enjoying themselves though it might be difficult to digest. This is how things go in the world of politics.


Dangerous Times

Experts fear a rapid deterioration of U.S. – China relations.[5] They are alarmed that the Trump administration could drift away on a dangerous collision course. Their judgment, however, is that the US won’t be able to simultaneously handle a multitude of conflicts (Taiwan, trade, North Korea, South China Sea) with China.

On the other hand, according to the majority of analysts, China’s military though it is catching up can’t match the US military force and won’t be able to support China’s political ambitions in the South China Sea.[6] There are many people who believe that a trade war may also end with more irreparable political and economic setbacks for China than for the US. Though it is difficult to appraise these predictions it is quite clear that the US will most probably recover better from a catastrophic Trump presidency than the CCP of a major failure by their leaders. If Trump fails it is one man who will be replaced in the next elections but if Xi fails the whole system is at stake.

Therefore, there are some good reasons to believe that a serious confrontation between China and the US will lead to lasting damage in China. Any sort of severe showdown, be it a military or a trade war will pose a threat to the survival of China’s Communist Party (CCP) and China as we know it today. The knowing of this risk makes Beijing vulnerable and presents to Tibetans an opportunity.

The scenarios that grow out of such an opportunity are unpredictable and range from a China wanting to ally with Tibetans to counterbalance  Beijing-critical groups in Taiwan to a China in disarray led by a new political elite in a less nationalistic and centralistic fashion. We also should be aware of a Trump administration that could use Tibetans and other dissenting groups in China as a bargaining chip and then leave the arena after four years without having achieved anything but chaos.

While being aware about all the intricacies of international politics, of US-China relations and geopolitical factors it is important to understand that in the long run the most enduring support for us Tibetans will be the one based on values such as freedom, human rights, democracy and the people’s right for national self-determination. It looks like Trump’s new world is divided into winners and losers, supporters and enemies, and that there won’t be much understanding for small groups such as we Tibetans and our aspirations. The turmoil leading to this new world may offer us some opportunities but it will be also a very dangerous path to walk. Therefore, let us pray that our leaders guide us with wit, courage and wisdom through these troubled waters.

Wangpo Tethong

Zurich, 9 February 2017

Note by author: On February 9, 2017 President Trump had a phone call with President Xi of China. A White House statement released on late Thursday, 9 February 2017 said: “The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our one-China policy.” It seems that Trump backed down from his relativisation of the one-China policy. Analysis and more information of further developments is needed before getting to a solid conclusion.

 


[1]   I would like to thank Migmar Dhakyel, Tsedon Khangsar, Dechen Pemba, Tsewang Norbu, Tenam and Tenzin Sewo for their comments and edits on the first draft that was inspired by Kyinzom Dhongdue’s facebook post. I hope to initiate a debate that should be led by people who have more wisdom and knowledge than me.

[2]  Prominent group of US China experts presented a report on U.S.-China Policy on February 7, 2017. On Tibet, there were no new recommendations. See here for the full report: http://asiasociety.org/

[3]     See Interview Lobsang Sangay with Elizabeth Roche – Live Mint, 19 December 2016 www.livemint.com

[4]      See for more Tibet, Taiwan and China – A Complex Nexus by Tshering Chonzom Bhutia in The Diplomat. www.thediplomat.com

[5]   Trump’s China policy represents a very different approach compared to any other president. See here:  www.theguardian.com

[6]      In a report by the Rand Coporation: „Over the past two decades, China’s People’s Liberation Army has transformed itself from a large but antiquated force into a capable, modern military. Although China continues to lag the United States in terms of aggregate military hardware and operational skills, it has improved its relative capabilities in many critical areas.” See her for the full report: http://www.rand.org/

Protesters gather close to Spain's Parliament during a demonstration in Madrid, September 25, 2012. Police prepared on Tuesday for anti-austerity demonstrations in Spain's capital ahead of the government's tough 2013 budget that will cut into social services as the country teeters on the brink of a bailout. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (SPAIN - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS)

The Value of Protest

Over the last few days, Swiss television has shown the footage of the historic 1999 protest by Tibetans against Jiang Zemin over and over again. It feels good to see that something like that had a lasting effect. When Jiang Zemin came to Switzerland in 1999, I was on Parliament Square in Bern and this time, 18 years after, I was again there for Xi Jinping.

The media response to the protest is overwhelming. Journalist, social media reporters and foreign correspondents were on site and fed live on the arrests. Prominent Swiss bloggers and analysts immediately put this in a political context and expressed a very widespread view that the arrest of the 32 peaceful protesters was not correct. A majority of the comments are critical that this should have been handled less heavy handed by the authorities. This discussion will go on for some while, surely in the Parliaments (local and national) and maybe in the Swiss courts.

Though a lot has been written in the past hours and days, there are two aspects that must be looked into a bit more closely.

1. The impact of such protests on western countries: Though the protest of 1999 is considered to have been a blow to Swiss-Chinese relations, it did not result in any negative consequences. On the contrary, Switzerland was the first country from the European continent to sign a free trade agreement with China.

2. The effect of such protests on Chinese leaders: President Xi had to shun the public and sneak into the Parliament building like a thief. Had we not protested back in 1999 and afterwards, this may have not happened. Xi might have been received like a real statesman.

There are some cynical voices saying that protests are useless. This is definitely not true. It was revealing to see what kind of precautions were taken to hide Xi Jinping from the Swiss public. The reception that the Chinese carefully arranged with the Swiss authorities included the same poor tactic of lining up Chinese citizens to stand with Communist style banners.

However, re-arranging reality has its limits. The whole scene was so bereft of spontaneity and a display of political paranoia measured in the numbers of polices forces uselessly standing in the middle of nowhere. The visit was a demeaning day of disgrace for supposedly one of the most powerful men on this planet.

This will continue as long as China’s Communist leaders fail to transform their system into a democratic society and finally rule on the basis of principles that are universally accepted. Our duty and most effective strategy as Tibetans is to recall these principles and continue our protests for the freedom of our people.

Wangpo Tethong

16 January 2017

Handover Letter to Ven. Thubten Wangchen and Mr. Jampa Samdho

Handing File Folder, teamwork concept

To:
Thubten Wangchen
Jampa Samdho

Copy to:
Tibet Offices: Geneva, Bruselles, France and London
Former Chitues in Europe
Presidents of the Tibetan Communties in Europe
Tibetan Youth Association Europe
Student For Free Tibet, France
Tibetan Women’s Association
Tibetan Refugee Groups in Switzerland and Belgium
Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association
International Tibet Network

Dear Chitue Thubten Wangchen la
Dear Chitue Jampa la

I am writing this email with the hope of you taking a closer look into these tasks that I have been working on during my Chitue office tenure and would like to hand them over to you.

It is important to note that these issues have reached a level of preparation in the past weeks and months that makes it convenient for you to conclude these projects with some reasonable prospect of success.
The issues are:
1. Sans Papiers in Belgium (Tibetans without a residential permit in Belgium)
2. Sans Papiers in Switzerland (Tibetans in Switzerland who had been rejected asylum and are forced to leave the country)
3. Swiss MPs activities & journey to Dharamsala
4. Europe Stands With Tibet

1. Situation of Tibetans without a residential permit in Belgium
After long and extensive discussions there is finally an agreed legal strategy. We found lawyers in Belgium who will take a model case to the appeal court. My initial idea of preparing a report proved to be a valid strategy. Mme. Micholt (lawyer, Bruges) and Mme. Depovere (lawyer, Brussels) are convinced that the report prepared by Tibetan Justice Center (TJC) will play an important role. Mrs. Migmar Khangsar (contact person for „nagpo“ tsogpa“) and Iona Lidell (TJC) are very much involved in the matter and I would like to ask you to stay in contact with them and support them with all your means.

It was my observation that the Tibet Bureau in Belgium has a bit difficult situation at the moment to support our efforts because of the ongoing changes in the office and the forthcoming visit of H.H. the Dalai Lama to Belgium. Anyway, before taking any further and other steps please consult Migmar la and try to get a full picture of the situation. It would be also helpful to read the soon-to-be-published report by TJC.  Anyway, let us hope for a positive outcome!

2. Situation of Tibetans  in Switzerland
In cooperation with “Shenpen” (a group of Swiss andTibetans – largely from the Tibetan Youth Association Europe –  working on asylum issues) we have prepared two cases of sans papiers. We have done some legal work and research and also provided the asylum seekers with some legal advise what to do in their very difficult situation. I would like to advise you to talk directly to Palmo Brunner and Tenchoe Gyalpo (both Shenpen) and Lobsang Damchoe (Nagpo Tsogo) to get a fuller picture of the whole issue.

Shenpen and I tried to have a follow-up meeting on other important issues with the Tibet Office in Geneva and the Tibetan communtiy in Switzerland. Due to their heavy work load  it was not possible to find a date to discuss the next steps regarding the Tibetan refugee situation in Switzerland. Fortunately, there is a detailed minute and report that I shared with all responsible persons about our meetings with the Swiss Immigration Office and is a good base for the future work.
The issues are:
– Change of origine in the residential papers: Instead of Tibet/Stateless China
– Chinese Embassy pressuring and influencing Tibetan Community
– Stop practice of sending Tibetans to Chinese embassy by Swiss authorities. Follow up on the model case of Samden Duna from Canton Obwalden.

I hope CTA and the new Kashag will play an active role and putting more resources for the resolution of these issues.
My impression is that the Chitues can play an important role in pushing these difficult issues that otherwise gets neglected.

3. Swiss MPs’ actitvities & journey to Dharamsala
I initiated the plan of taking a group of Swiss MPs to Dharamsala and it is now in a planning process. However, it is important to follow up on this and it would be great if you could get in contact with the Tibet Office and the Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association.  There are some political issues (human rights dialogue, free trade agreement, etc.) that should be also followed up. And although there is GSTF to take the lead a strong partnership from Tibetan side is required. Please get in contact with Mr. Thomas Büchli (president GSTF).

4. Europe Stands with Tibet
The Tibetan communities in Europe launched Europe Stands with Tibet two years ago this project under the leadership of the European Chitues. It was and basically is still supported by the Tibetans in Europe and by the officials of the CTA and it is now in yours and their responsibility to determine how to conclude this campaign according to our initial objectives and plans.  The result is very good so far though improvable. I would like to thank Kushok for his hard work and my thank also goes to our Tibetan communities who trusted us with this task. Kushok Wangchen la, I as well as other groups, CTA officials and individuals (such as Tsering Dhondup la,  Zöchbauer Tseten la in Austria, Ngodup Dorjee la, Tseten Samdup la and Kelsang Gyaltsen-la in Brussels) have collected about 300 signatures. It would be nice and important to conclude this campaign with some media related activitiy and inform and thank Claudia Roth, Karel Schwarzenberg and Robert Badinter about the outcome. I wish you all the best for the future of this project. Please check the website for more information: http://europe-stands-with-tibet.org. I will send you in a separate email the access details to the website.

Finally, it is for me one of my the most encouraging experiences during the last two years that there are huge opportunities and a lot of goodwill in our communities. Moreover, ways can always be found for some valuable results. However, leadership is indispensible and as elected representative it is the role of the Chitue to contribute one’s own knowledge and experience to advance our common causes!

I wish you all the best and lots of success!!

Best regards
Wangpo Tethong

Thank you Europe!

Dear Tibetan Voters in Europe,

The final results of the Tibetan elections will be announced on 27 April, 2016.

The tentative results of the elections in Europe indicate that I will fail to come in second for a seat in the Tibetan exile parliament by a margin of approximately 80 votes.

It is, however, a great satisfaction that I did very well in Switzerland, my home constituency. Here, in the largest Tibetan community, I secured the second place. This positive result shows that those who knew me best had confidence and support for my candidacy.

This week, a group of friends of mine lodged a complaint regarding an incident during an election event in Volkshaus/Zürich on 21 February, 2016. Based on my past experience with the local election commission, I do not feel too confident that this issue will be carefully examined as required by law.  

Even if this complaint were to be successful, I would not be prepared to take advantage of any change caused by an election commission’s decision. I have decided to use the coming months for a break and then continue with my Tibet-relatedactivities next year. However, I fully support the complaint because there is a lack of openly discussing short-comings and the importance of maintaining neutrality by Tibetan office holders.

I would like to express to my many friends and supporters my gratitude for the fantastic support during the campaign. There were so many good moments I still remember: the launch of the campaign, the election events all over Europe, the supporter videos, funny Facebook postings and the debates.    

My campaign called for:

1. Review of our political work for Tibet.

2. The build up of a solid structure for the Tibetan exile community in Europe.

These issues travelled far beyond Europe and strongly resonated in the Tibetan community as well as in the debates of the Tibetan exile parliament in Dharamsala.

It is a success that over 2000 Tibetans – including my colleague Thubten Wangchen – have shown support for these very challenging issues. Therefore, these elections can be seen as an obligation for the coming CTA leadership to work towards a solution of these fundamentally important questions.

My heartfelt thanks to my wife and family for being part of this challenging undertaking and to the many supporters in Europe.

Tashi Delek!

Wangpo 

I want to strengthen the movement and its actions !

This is an interview for Tibetan Youth Association Europe (TYAE).  Every candidate for the two  European TPiE-seats was requested to submit their answers in written.

TibetanYouth

**********

Foreign Politics / ཕྱི་སྲིད།

How important do you think is the role of the western countries? How would you convince them to help Tibet? How should they manage to improve the situation in Tibet?

སྐུ་ཉིད་ནས་ནུབ་ཕྱོགས་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ཀྱི་བྱེད་སྒོ་དེ་གལ་ཆེ་ཆུང་ཇི་ལྟར་དགོངས་ཀྱི་ཡོད་དམ། བོད་དོན་ཐོག་རོགས་སྐྱོར་ཡོང་བར་ཁོ་ཚོའི་བློ་ཇི་ལྟར་འགུགས་སམ། ཁོང་ཚོས་བོད་ནང་གི་གནས་སྟངས་ཡར་རྒྱས་ཡོང་བར་གང་འདྲ་གནང་དགོས་སམ།

How important do you think is the role of the western countries?

The civil society as well as the governments in North America and Europe are extremely important. In fact, these international stakeholders are our most effective leverage and opportunity to influence China on a governmental level. Saying this, I am fully aware that Western governments won’t struggle for and win our freedom. This is something we have to do ourselves.

How would you convince them to help Tibet?

We have to speak to the government directly and through the general public respectively through their constituencies; we have to build up support on the grass root level, in the city halls and in the parliaments. We have to address the media and improve our campaigning skills in order to build a solid alliance of support for our cause. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has created a huge base of goodwill for us. CTA has so far not achieved to transform these very preferable conditions in solid political support. This has to be changed. A huge, but doable task!

How should the governments improve the situation in Tibet?

Western governments have different means to influence. It is crucial for us to understand that we have to place demands on different levels. I am against monothematic approaches. I, therefor, suggest:

  1. Western governments should include provisions to protect the people and environment in Tibet in all their dealings & treaties (trade, military, infrastructure projects) with China,
  2. Show public support for Tibet by meeting the Dalai Lama and the Sikyong. Including tangible support in form of finance and other resources.
  3. Emphasize the right of the Tibetan people to live in freedom and support a negotiated solution.

China / རྒྱ་ནག།

Lately, there has been some disagreements within our community regarding the Umaylam/Rangzen policy. What do we have to prioritize in your opinion: Unity or the right to freedom of opinion and to express them? Which policy do you personally prefer? Could you please briefly explain how you concretely would try to achieve this goal? And what role does China play?

ཉེ་དུས་ང་ཚོའི་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ནང་དབུ་མའི་ལམ་དང་རང་བཙན་གྱི་སྲིད་ཇུས་ཐོག་བློ་ཁ་མ་མཐུན་པ་ཕྲན་བུ་བྱུང་ཡོད། སྐུ་ཉིད་ཀྱི་དགོངས་པར་ང་ཚོས་དགོས་གལ་དང་པོར་ག་རེ་འདམ་དགོས་སམ་་༼ཆིག་བསྒྲིལ་ལམ་བསམ་ཚུལ་གྱི་རང་དབང་དང་རྣམ་འགྱུར་ཕྱིར་སྟོན་པ།༽སྐུ་ཉིད་ནས་སྐུ་སྒེར་ཐོག་ནས་སྲིད་ཇུས་གང་འདེམས་སམ། སྐུ་ཉིད་ནས་དམིགས་ཡུལ་འདི་དག་འགྲུབ་པར་འབད་བརྩོན་ཇི་ལྟར་གནང་རྒྱུའི་འགྲེལ་བརྗོད་སྙིང་བསྡུས་ཤིག་གནང་རོགས་ཞུ་བ་དང་རྒྱ་ནག་གི་བྱེད་སྒོ་ག་རེ་ཡོད་དམ། 

What do we have to prioritize in your opinion: Unity or the right to freedom of opinion and to express them?

The freedom of expression.

Which policy do you personally prefer? Could you please briefly explain how you concretely would try to achieve this goal? And what role does China play?

I want to strengthen the movement and it’s actions. In order to do this a good analysis of the present situation is needed. Therefor, I recommend a review of all our Tibet related policies. This is my short-term goal. Please also check the website www.future-of-tibet.org and support the initiatives of Wangchen la and me!

Regarding the future and the basic principle of our freedom struggle: It is not for us but for the Tibetan people inside Tibet to have the final say about the future of Tibet. However, we have to keep in mind: China constitutes a very important element of any future solution and we – most probably – can’t have a political solution that does not take into account the Chinese interests.

As for now, we have to undertake a rational, solution-oriented and open review process of our current political situation and our Tibet related political work which is far more than what ‘Umaylam policy’ is about.

The grass root work in the West for example has been neglected. We need to address the aging of our supporter base, increase the support in the parliaments, improve our officials’ training, prioritize spending & reorganise our departments, re-strategize the outreach to the Chinese public and government. What can be done in Asia and how to be better linked to the Indian public. And finally, is it a candid strategy to rely in our international work more or less completely on US political support.

We have many bright people among us and among our friends and we need them all to discuss future political scenarios, their consequences and come up with bold action plans. Opinions and debates are basically fine for me. But, I prefer study and strategizing with established facts and then to develop some powerful and detailed plans how to fight the big challenges ahead of us. This work urgently needs to be done and it is high time for the Kashag to demonstrate leadership on the above issues and cooperate with the wider Tibet movement.

And lastly, a hugely important question: How can we reach out to our fellow countrymen in Tibet, develop common strategies and work together more closely? This also needs a solid answer. I have been working in the past on various issues in relation with the situation in Tibet and am confident to contribute my experience to this deliberations.

Domestic Politics / ནང་གི་སྲིད་བྱུས།

How can marginalized groups such as homosexual, muslim, etc. be more included in Tibetan society? How would you ensure gender equality? What do you think about a quota of women and a quota of youth in the parliament?

བོད་པའི་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ནང་ཟུར་ཕུད་ཚོ་ཁག་དཔེར་ན་རྟགས་མཚུངས་འཁྲིག་སྦྱོར་དང་ཁ་ཆེ་ལྟ་བུ་མང་ཙམ་འཚུད་ཐབས་ཇི་ལྟར་གནང་ཐུབ་བམ། སྐུ་ཉིད་ནས་ཕོ་མོ་འདྲ་མཉམ་ཐད་ངེས་བརྟེན་ཇི་ལྟར་བཟོ་ཐུབ་བམ། སྐུ་ཉིད་ནས་གྲོས་ཚོགས་ནང་བེུད་དང་གཞོན་སྐྱེས་ཀྱི་ཞབས་སྟེགས་ཐོབ་ཆ་ཐད་དགོངས་ཚུལ་ག་རེ་ཡོད་དམ།

Generally, Tibetans are quite liberal compared to other societies in the East. There is among Tibetans i.e. a great sympathy for Tibetan muslims. However, we make a distinction between Tibetan muslims and Chinese immigrant muslims.

I can’t say too much about the situation of Tibetan gays and lesbians. But I do not doubt that there is some condemnable level of discrimination. Discrimination based on racial or social background and origin is much more common among Tibetans and we have to fight this. Our vision must definitely be a compassionate, egalitarian and liberal community.

I support a quota for youth and women. Especially for women, they should claim a minimum quota of 30 per cent.[1] Any good legislation that would work for these changes would have my support. But quotas alone are not the solution. Families need to have concrete financial and other incentives and compensation in order to enable their female members an indiscriminate participation in social and political life.

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TYAE / ཡུ་རོབ་བོད་ཀྱི་གཞོན་ནུ་ཚོགས་པ།

What role does the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe play in our struggle? Do you see any areas where a cooperation would be a good idea and if yes, where? How can NGOs and civil society take part in Tibetan politics? Are there any institutionalized processes needed.

ཡུ་རོབ་བོད་ཀྱི་གཞོན་ནུ་ཚོགས་པས་ང་ཚོའི་འཐབ་རྩོད་ཐོག་འགན་འཁུར་ག་རེ་གནང་གི་ཡོད་དམ། སྐུ་ཉིད་ནས་གནད་དོན་ཅི་རུང་ཐོག་མཉམ་ལས་གནང་ན་ལེགས་པ་དགོངས་སམ། གལ་ཏེ་ཡིན་ན་གནད་དོན་གང་གི་ཐོག་ཡིན་ནམ། གཞུང་འབྲེལ་མིན་པའི་ཚོགས་པ་དང་ཚོགས་སྡེ་གཞན་ཁག་ནས་བོད་པའི་ཆབ་སྲིད་ནང་མཉམ་ཞུགས་ཇི་ལྟར་གནང་ཐུབ་བམ། སྒྲིག་འཛུགས་ཀྱི་རྒྱུད་རིམ་ཐོག་ནས་འགྲོ་དགོས་པ་དེ་འདྲ་ཡོད་དམ།

The TYAE is doing very well, I feel. People respect the work TYAE is doing and has done in the past. TYAE’s biggest asset is its expertise in working with the European public and its enthusiasm and creativity for mobilising Tibetans and Non-Tibetans for specific campaign issues. TYAE always played a leading role in our small community as an open-minded force for progress, change and liberalism. We need to see more of this spirit in the TYAE.

I don’t think that institutionalising NGO’s role or giving TYAE some institutional position is a solution. Instead, we need to create and defend the space for free and open exchange of knowledge, experience, activism and creativity.

Democratization /དམངས་གཙོ་སྒྱུར་ལས།

After the historic transition of political power 2011 by His Holiness the XIV. Dalai Lama and his wish to separate religion and politics – and also the recent events by the Jonang group – do you think that representatives of the Buddhist schools are still needed in the parliament? Which democratic reforms and modernization processes are necessary?

༧གོང་ས་མཆོག་ནས་ཕྱི་ལོ་ ༢༠༡༡ལོར་ལོ་རྒྱུས་ཅན་གྱི་ཆབ་སྲིད་འགན་དབང་འཕོ་འགྱུར་གནང་རྗེས། ཁོང་གི་འདོད་དོན་ནི་ཆོས་དང་སྲིད་གཉིས་ཐ་དད་བཟོ་གནང་རྒྱུ་དེ་ཡིན་པ་དང་། ཉེ་ཆར་ཇོ་ནང་པའི་དོན་རྐྱེན་བཞིན། སྐུ་ཉིད་ནས་གྲོས་ཚོགས་ནང་ཆོས་ལུགས་ཀྱི་སྐུ་ཚབ་ད་ལྟའ་དགོས་གལ་གཟིགས་ཀྱི་ཡོད་དམ། དམངས་གཙོ་དང་དེང་དུས་སུ་སྒྱུར་བཅོས་ཀྱི་བྱ་རིམ་གང་ཞིག་ཐོག་དགོས་ངེས་གཟིགས་སམ།

Religious groups such as the Kagyus, Nyingma, Sakya and Böns have received special treatment in the political system because they have been discriminated in the historic past and were not part of the ruling elite. When these groups were given the seats in the parliament in the sixties it had then a strong notion of political egalitarianism. Nowadays, situation has changed and people perceive it differently. It is time for change. But to be honest, there is a lot of opposition to that and I have no idea how to overcome these hindrances in the parliament and would like to use my energy for projects that have better prospects. Therefor, I suggest to the heads of the religious groups to come up with better solution to guarantee equal representation to the religious sects in our community and to overcome the old concept that only parliamentary representation is a valuable representation.

Tibet / །བོད།

Shouldn´t the exile government focus more on the well-being and interests of the Tibetans living in Tibet? How can the CTA support young political activists in Tibet? Also the environmental situation in Tibet is alarming. How would you stop the exploitation of natural resources during your term?

བཙན་བྱོལ་གཞུང་ནས་བོད་ནང་གི་བོད་མི་ཚོའི་བདེ་སྡུག་ཐོག་ཐུགས་སྣང་ཆེ་བ་གནང་མི་དགོས་སམ། བོད་མི་སྒྲིག་འཛུགས་ནས་བོད་ནང་གཞོན་སྐྱེས་ཆབ་སྲིད་ཐོག་ཕྱག་ལས་གནང་མཁན་ཚོར་རྒྱབ་སྐྱོར་ཇི་ལྟར་གནང་ངམ། དེ་བཞིན་བོད་ནང་གི་ཁོར་ཡུག་གནས་སྟངས་ནི་ཛ་དྲག་ཏུ་འགྲོ་བཞིན་ཡོད། སྐུ་ཉིད་ཀྱི་ལས་རྒྱུན་རིང་རང་བྱུང་ཁམས་ཀྱི་ཐོན་ཁུངས་གང་བྱུང་སྔོག་འདོན་ཐད་བཀག་འགོག་ཇི་ལྟར་གནང་རྒྱུ་ཡིན་ནམ། 

This is one of my favourite issues and one of the most difficult questions I ponder upon since many years. The first step is – I am now convinced – to invite those who have experience in this field and start with small undertakings and gain experience. There is no harm to start without a blueprint at this point.

At some point we need to have a better strategy. I would like to remember you of His Holiness’ concern for the protection of wildlife and public condemnation of wearing fur. The message spread all over Tibet and is a good example how things could work. The fur campaign is an impressive example that last till today.

I guess, the final solution won’t be one single brilliant idea but a multitude of tactics that must be coordinated. I suppose that we will be able to discuss some issues in public and some have to remain confidential.  

One point is clear to me, we need to move our non-violent activities closer to the centres on mainland China. Such a new initiative will call for additional resources such as for training and for action planning.

Finally, I do not believe that CTA would be the most perfect organisation to carry out activities in Tibet or China. We need an independent and very flexible format. Why not TYAE? Why not the youth?

Financial Politics / དཔལ་འབྱོར་གྱི་སྲིད་བྱུས།

How can the financial situation of the CTA be improved? Which innovative ideas are you bringing along? How can we, financially spoken, create more transparency? And how do we have to increase the welfare to help the poorer people in our community?

བོད་མི་སྒྲིག་འཛུགས་ཀྱི་དཔའ་འབྱོར་གནས་སྟངས་འཕེལ་རྒྱས་ཇི་ལྟར་གཏོང་ཐུབ་བམ། ལེགས་བཅོས་འོས་པའི་རིག་གསར་གང་འདྲ་ཞིག་བསྣམ་ཕེབས་རྒྱུ་ཡིན་ནམ། དངུལ་རྩིས་ཐོག་བཤད་ན་ང་ཚོས་ཕྱི་གསལ་ནང་གསལ་ཇི་ལྟར་བཟོ་ཐུབ་པ་དང་ང་ཚོས་མི་མང་དབུལ་ཕོངས་ལ་རོགས་སྐྱོར་ཆེད་བདེ་དོན་འཕེལ་རྒྱས་ཇི་ལྟར་གཏོང་དགོས་སམ།  

Regarding our income, spending and budget structure: More self-reliance. Stop our dependency on few donor countries (US). Increase the income of the Green book. I also would like to examine the possibility of introducing schemes in which private funders and CTA join for business opportunities. The legal format could be cooperatives. Partnerships should be avoided.

Young Tibetans / །བོད་མི་གཞོན་སྐྱེས།

How would you try to make the younger generation of Tibetans more interested into politics? Is there enough support for them by the CTA or do we have to invest more into our future? Regarding “braindrain”: Many youngsters would like to move to the west. What kind of conditions are needed so that people can actually see a future to live in India/Nepal?

སྐུ་ཉིད་ནས་དེང་དུས་བོད་མི་ན་གཞོན་ཚོར་ཆབ་སྲིད་ཐོག་དོ་སྣང་ཆེ་རུ་ཡོང་ཆེད་འབད་བརྩོན་ཇི་ལྟར་གནང་རྒྱུ་ཡིན་ནམ། ཁོང་རྣམས་ལ་བོད་མི་སྒྲིག་འཛུགས་ནས་འདང་ངེས་རྒྱབ་སྐྱོར་ཡོད་དམ། ཡང་ན་ང་ཚོས་མ་འོངས་པར་ཆེད་དུ་འགྲོ་གྲོན་ནམ་དུས་ཚོད་མང་དུ་གཏོང་དགོས་སམ། མཁས་པ་ཕྱིར་ཤོར་ཐད། ན་གཞོན་མང་པོ་ནུབ་ཕྱོགས་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ཏུ་ཕེབས་འདོད་ཡོད་སྟབས། མ་འོངས་པར་བོད་མི་རྣམས་རྒྱ་གར་དང་བལ་ཡུལ་ནང་མུ་མཐུད་གནས་ཐབས་ཆེད་གནས་བབས་ག་འདྲ་ཞིག་དགོས་ངེས་ཡོད་དམ།

  1. I think the Tibetan youth is in general interested in our cause and involved in the struggle and participate in the debate about the future of our community.
  2. There are many good ideas by individuals who have much more experience than me regarding this issue how to improve the living conditions in India. It is obvious that the economy of the past (agriculture and sweater business) can’t remain the future for the youth. We have to move into trade, the service industries as well as in the world of culture and build job opportunities that can compete with those in the West. I would like to commit the CTA to examine and support such ventures by young people in Delhi and other big cities in India.

Europe / ཡུ་རོབ།

What can the exile government do so that the Tibetan writing and language but also the Tibetan culture can continue in the western countries as well? Which conditions do we have to create so that young Tibetans would be interested into that?

བཙན་བྱོལ་གཞུང་ནས་བོད་ཀྱི་སྐད་ཡིག་ཙམ་མ་ཡིན་པར་ནུབ་ཕྱོགས་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ནང་དུའང་བོད་ཀྱི་རིགས་གཞུང་མུ་མཐུད་གནས་ཐབས་ཐད་ག་རེ་གནང་ཐུབ་བམ།བོད་མི་ན་གཞོན་ཚོར་དོ་སྣང་ཡོང་ཆེད་གནས་བབས་ག་འདྲ་ཞིག་བསྐྲུན་དགོས་ཡོད་དམ།

More than 30000 Tibetans migrated to the West changing the balance of our exile community within a few years. This is a challenge as well as a huge potential for the diaspora. Our goal: A strong Tibetan community in the West and on the Indian subcontinent.

In order to do this we need to have a combined effort of the parents, the youth, the Tibetan communities in the West and the CTA. The first step is to agree on a bold masterplan for the future of Tibetans living in the West.  One section of this plan will contain improvements in the way we live our culture. I want the CTA to take responsibility for the preservation of Tibetan culture in the West and develop policies that fits the needs in the West.

Tibet community centres (a combination of training/courses, restaurant, library, meeting rooms and offices) are much needed and could play an important role hereby. There are already such places in Europe where Tibetans do have some basic infrastructure but we need to take them to a higher level. I hope and work for the CTA to play a strong role in these efforts.

Furthermore, we have to understand that our people in the West are a huge asset. I want to see that the Tibet Corps program is expanded and that we develop various attractive opportunities for different age groups and involve Tibetans in exile responsibilities.

 

Future / མ་འོངས།

Difficult times are ahead of us. His Holiness the XIV. Dalai Lama has celebrated his 80. Birthday this year. Are we ready for the time after his demise – and if not, what needs to be done?

ང་ཚོར་ཆེས་དཀའ་ཚེགས་ཅན་གྱི་དུས་ཚོད་ཡོང་རྒྱུ་ཡིན། འདི་ལོར་༧གོང་ས་མཆོག་དགུང་གྲངས་ ༨༠ ཕེབས་པའི་༧སྐུའི་འཁྲུངས་སྐར་སྲུང་བརྩི་ཞུས་ཡོད། ཁོང་སྐུ་འཚོ་བཞུགས་མེད་པའི་སྐབས་དེར་ང་ཚོ་གྲ་སྒྲིག་ཡོད་དམ། གལ་ཏེ་མེད་ན་ང་ཚོ་ག་རེ་གནང་དགོས་སམ།

We are not perfectly ready and we will never be ready for this sad day, I fear. But we have to try and can take some precautionary steps that will hopefully be of some assistance.

  1. Strengthen our system (It is not only about democracy. It is about all aspects of our Tibetan diaspora: efficiency, strategic coherence, sense of public service, etc.) and make our present leaders accountable for their actions and non-actions.
  2. Follow the steps outlined by His Holiness for his succession.
  3. Develop a clear vision of future Tibet that goes beyond our present debate of Rangzen and Uma and recall and practise the core political values such as Freedom, Democracy and the Spirit of Resistance.

Finally, His Holiness has came up with some very clear guidelines about his succession which helps a lot. The Chinese shouldn’t be misled by their own propaganda. They won’t have any say in the succession. This is Tibetan business!

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[1] In response to an active civil society movement and rising awareness of women’s rights, in 1990 the UN Economic and Social Council set a target of 30% female representation in decision- making bodies by 1995. The 1995 UN Beijing Conference on Women went a step further, by providing an impetus for quota policies by calling for governments to “ensure equal representation of women at all decision-making levels in national and nternational institutions.”31 Given this global environment, political quotas began to emerge as a viable and popular policy option in countries across the world.

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