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[Editors' Note: all candidates for Sikyong and Chitue are invited to send their campaign literature to TPR for publication.]
by Lukar Jam
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The glorious history of Tibetan empire had sustained and nurtured the Tibetan people. During the height of its power, the Tibetan empire extended nearly the half of Asia – from the then Chinese capital city of Chang’an in the east to the Gangetic plains of India in the South, and to the Oxus River in the west. The hoofs of cavalry from the high plateau have left an indelible imprint over these territories. Tibet even controlled the Silk Route, emerging as a bridge between the Eastern and Western worlds and a major hub of trade and civilization.
Tibetan people possess the spirit of rebellion. During the imperial time, when the masses suffered atrocities due to unjust rule and heavy taxation, they, in alliance with the military, revolted against Tibetan kings. They even ransacked the royal tombs at Chongye, distributing the treasures buried therein among themselves.
Tibetan people have the willpower to revive the glory of Tibetan civilization. After the political disintegration of Tibet, the fire of Tibetan Buddhism kept burning in eastern Tibet. The learned Panditas and Lotsawas travelled to India, China and other countries to bring in their cultures, thus reviving the Tibetan civilization. These efforts enabled great advances in Tibet’s political, economic and cultural fields.
The Tibetan people have the ability to seize opportunity for political changes. The one who can seize such an opportunity in accordance with changing times is a true leader. In the recent history of Tibet, there were several proud events such as the expulsion of Chinese invaders from Tibet. His Holiness the Great Thirteenth Dalai Lama, taking advantage of the downfall of Manchu dynasty in China, not only expelled all the Chinese from Central Tibet but also reiterated the independence of Tibet in 1913, thereby rendering unimaginable service to the Tibetan people.
Tibetans are the first to revolt against Mao’s China. In the 1950s, Tibetans from Dotoe, Domey and Utsang launched both peaceful and armed struggle against the invading PLA forces. Although the Chinese eliminated leaders of the Tibetan government, including those that attempted to cooperate with them, Tibetans continued to revolt, culminating in the Tibetan National Uprising on 10 March 1959.
Tibetans have never surrendered to the occupying Chinese. In early 1980s, a new generation of Tibetans rose up against the Chinese colonizers in Tibet’s capital Lhasa. In 2008, a new chapter was opened in the Tibetan freedom movement as Tibetans from across the entire Tibetan Plateau rose up against the Chinese. Nearly 150 Tibetans who have self-immolated so far are at the forefront of this new movement.
Tibetans are fiercely independent in nature and self-sufficient. Tibetans in exile are doing quite well because of the hard work of the older generations. Refugee settlements in India, Nepal and Bhutan are functioning well and young Tibetans, who are decently educated, are able to face the challenges of the modern world and walk shoulder to shoulder with other people.
Lack of long-term vision has obstructed political reforms. We need to change the political status quo and to wake up from this inferior attitude of having lost our nation and having to face existential uncertainty in exile. I don’t believe that change will emerge out of the coffers of a rich merchant. I don’t believe that change will come from the prayer of a hermit meditating in a cave. I don’t believe that change will be ushered-in by anyone just because he or she has a degree from a western university.
Political reform can only be achieved when we imbibe the wisdom and fortitude of our forefathers and the spirit of the Great Emperors of Tibet. However, if we forfeit our collective wisdom and espouse the knowledge of others while aping the western culture in all our works, we will never be able to rise up for freedom. Even if we do manage to rise up, we will not be able to build a Tibet that is the true spirit of Tibet or one that is truly suitable for Tibetans.
As human beings, exile Tibetans have had instances of disagreements between various groups. Ideally, CTA should have been able to maintain a fair and balanced stand on minor issues and conflicts within our community. However, occasionally we have made mountains out of molehills. Cases in point are the dissension between the old and the new Chushi Gangdruk, the issue regarding propitiation of Dolgyal and the recent fiasco in New York where a few so-called supporters of the Middle Way Approach warned other Tibetans chanting pro-independent slogans that they would be handed over to the police. In such instances the exile administration should have shown visionary and non-partisan leadership.
We must eliminate our servitude mindset. Chinese propaganda alleges that the barbaric and backward Tibetans will never make progress without the leadership of the Chinese Communists. In exile some of us, as if to augment this Chinese narrative, preach that Rangzen is unrealistic and that Tibet will profit if we remain under China. This is tantamount to reinforcing our servitude mindset.
The other form of servitude mindset prevalent in exile is the failure to identify those people who talk about honesty and integrity yet engage in corrupt acts. Although we know those unscrupulous people yet we look the other way. If we fail to overcome these forms of servitude mindset, we will never be able to rise up.
The perversion of faith has sown seeds of discord in our exile society. With the progress of civilization, we hoped that the discords between different religious traditions would subside. However, as elsewhere around the world, tensions within our exile society seems to have risen. There have been cases of murder due to contention in propitiation of deities or demons. In the past few years, many of those who practice Dolgyal and those who allegedly oppose them have unabashedly washed their dirty linens in the public, creating a sad spectacle. The harmful repercussions of such actions have gradually emerged in Tibet as well. As of now, it is not the exile administration’s role to interfere in the dispute between deities or demons. Instead it must take steady and careful steps in restricting the perversion of faith, which is destroying the foundations of peace and unity within our society.
In the history of Tibetan democracy, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s decision to devolve his political responsibilities was historic. However, those who inherited the precious gifts of democracy from His Holiness, seem to have forgotten their responsibility to restore Tibet’s freedom as soon as they entered the gates of Gangchen Kyishong. They forget that Gangchen Kyishong is not Lhasa. Due to their ignorance about ground-shifting changes taking place in Tibet, the exile leaders fail to respond actively when protests take place inside Tibet.
I am standing for the Sikyong elections not because it is about winning or losing. Rather it is about its significance. I have to enter this election. This is not just an act of protest but because we need concrete reforms and a new vision.
Long Live Tibetan Independence! Long Live Tibetan courage! Long Live Tibet!
Sikyong Candidate 2016
3 August 2015
Vision for Political and Cultural Renaissance
Vision for Non-partisan Governance
Resist the Servitude Mindset
Resist the Abuse of Faith
By Sonam Paljor
Dulwich Hill, Sydney, Australia
We Can Shape our Tibetan Election Debate #TibetanElection2016
Tired of seeing the Dalai Lama’s name used as a crutch during these Chithue (Members of Parliament) and Sikyong (Prime Minister) elections? Tired of hearing the same old "doktsa-chigdril" slogans without any tangible plans to show how it may be achieved? Then, asking the right questions will encourage our candidates to take stands on the really important issues and help shape our discussion.
#TibetanElection2016 should be about informed discussion, not continuing with the same old thread based on narrow personal considerations.
About the Dalai Lama
The institution of the Dalai Lama has great historical legitimacy. Because of his tireless work for Tibet, the 14th Dalai Lama is today universally synonymous with Tibet. However the issue of Tibet is also the issue of 6 million Tibetans and many more. How will you progress the issue of Tibet independent of the Dalai Lama? What structures and systems will you put in to progress this reality at the state, national and international level?
About U-may lam or Rangzen
There are two main views on how we might advocate for our cause: The official U-may lam (Middle Way) of the past several decades and the other “minority” Rangzen (Complete independence). Considering U-may lam has been our government policy for many decades, do you think it needs to be reviewed like any other policy? Do you view Rangzen people as “against the Dalai Lama”? Which policy do you support? How would you propose that you will work with people you don’t agree with and unite this diversity into a coherent voice at the state, national and international level?
About religious harmony and unity
Minority religious groups such as Shugden propitiator have been in the news for various reasons. How has it affected our cause and what secular democratic structures and systems will you propose or put in to include such minority groups and work with them?
About Non-Government bodies
Do you see a role for non-government Tibetan or non-Tibetan organisations in furthering our cause? E.g. Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, Students for Free Tibet, Tibet Support groups, etc. If so, what’s your plan to work with them at the state, national and international level?
About increasing representation of Tibetan voices from inside Tibet
There appears to be no letup in Chinese control over our people in Tibet. How do you propose we find ways to increase representation of Tibetan voices from inside Tibet in forging a common future path with our exile set up?
About equal gender representation
This election appears to follow previous election trends and seem to offer little or no representation from women and other genders. How will you create space to increase gender diversity in leadership roles in our community?
If you are a candidate, please do share your responses here. And if you are not, then, please help forward these questions to our candidates so we know where they stand.
I want to declare that this is a personal initiative with no organisation or business involved behind it.
[TPR editors' note: any Sikyong or Chitue candidates are invited to send responses to TPR for publication]
Email to a friend or share on Facebook, Twitter, etc.:
21 August 2015
Dear Mr. Chief Election Commissioner Mr. Sonam Choephel Shosur la:
I write on behalf of the Tibetan National Congress (TNC), a democratic, non- sectarian, non-regional, pan-Tibetan political party formed in March 2012 with members in India, Europe, and North America. Since its founding, TNC has contributed to the Tibetan cause, for example taking the lead in the campaign to move the Nobel Summit from Cape Town to Rome so His Holiness the Dalai Lama could attend. In light of the upcoming elections, I respectfully request that TNC be included without delay in the list of officially-recognized Tibetan organizations and institutions.
According to the rules that the Election Commission (EC) recently released, Tibetan organizations now have different rights depending on whether or not they are officially recognized. Only officially-recognized organizations now have an unrestricted right to free speech in Tibetan elections. Non-recognized organizations are not allowed to make any statements of support whatsoever for any candidate, without express written consent of the individual candidate, if their activity involves any financial expenditure whatsoever. The penalty for violating this rule is the loss of the right to vote for five years.
This new rule is highly unusual, since it conditions the right to free speech on official permission, and sets up a two-tier system that treats organizations differently. A TNC member recently asked the EC for clarification, and was informed by the EC that the list of officially-recognized organizations is currently limited to: the tsokpas for the three Tibetan provinces, TWA, TYC, NDPT, Gu-chu-sum, Ngari Welfare Association, Tibetan National unity organization, Welfare Association of Pokhra, Nepal.
The EC has not released any guidelines on how an organization becomes officially recognized, or what criteria are used to decide. In light of the EC’s mandate as the guardian of Tibetan democracy, I can assume that the criteria are neutral and aimed at ensuring maximum democratic participation.
I therefore respectfully request that TNC be included without delay in the list of officially recognized organizations. We wish to participate fully in the Tibetan democratic process, and under the new rules we cannot do so without official recognition.
We trust that the EC will have no problem recognizing us so that we can participate in the Tibetan democratic process. If you would like any additional information about our organization, please do not hesitate to contact us. If you decide not to recognize us, we ask that you please provide us with the specific reasons and criteria that you used to make your decision. If the power to recognize an organization rests with a different CTA body entirely, please advise on the steps the EC will take to ensure that the effects of this this new rule are fair, impartial, and depoliticized.
Given the fast-approaching election dates, we respectfully ask that you please inform us of your decision within two weeks.
Thank you for your assistance and your continued guardianship of the Tibetan democratic process.
President, Tibetan National Congress
By "People's Group for Dr. Lobsang Sangay"
On 8 August 2011, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay became the first democratically-elected political leader of the Tibetan people in their history. Grounded in his fundamental guiding principles of Unity, Innovation and Self-Reliance, the exile administration has achieved outstanding results in the political, economic, education and social spheres. Sangay has ushered in a new political awareness by successfully raising the Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA) visibility and the status of Sikyong in global politics.
When His Holiness the Dalai Lama devolved his political and administrative powers to the elected leadership, a cloud of doubt and anxiety shrouded the hearts and minds of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet. However, following the footsteps of former Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, and the dedication of his fellow Kalons and civil servants, Sangay has performed his responsibilities exceptionally well and achieved great progress in almost every field these last four years. Consequently, he has inspired confidence among Tibetans in the exile administration.
Following are Ten Outstanding Accomplishments achieved under his leadership:
ONE: Praise from His Holiness and Recognition from the Tibetan people
In his address at the swearing-in ceremony of Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, His Holiness the Dalai Lama stated that with the devolution of his political and administrative powers, one of His Holiness’s long-cherished aspirations was fulfilled. In March 2014, while inaugurating the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile’s new building, His Holiness expressed his confidence in the Sikyong’s administration, and stated that now everything should not be dependent on a single person. During a visit to Germany on 27 August 2014, His Holiness said that he had handed over all his political responsibilities to an outstanding young leader Lobsang Sangay. Similarly, on 23 March 2015, in his address at a conference to mark the legacy of the former Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes, His Holiness reiterated that the Sikyong has been fulfilling his responsibilities with full competence.
Although the devolution of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s political authority marked a time of great transformation and anxiety, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay successfully champions the cause of the Tibetan people. Under his leadership, there has been a blossoming of a high level of awareness about, and trust in the Central Tibetan Administration, especially among people inside Tibet. This is evident from the abundant songs, letters and prayers offered by Tibetans from all walks of life from Tibet. This outpouring of faith is largely due to His Holiness’ guidance and his kind introduction of the Sikyong at various internal and international platforms.
TWO: Creation of Awareness and Mobilization of International Support for the Critical Situation in Tibet
In light of the critical situation in Tibet as highlighted by ongoing self-immolation protests, Sikyong is leading a strong global campaign to raise awareness about the ground reality in Tibet by meeting, appealing to, and garnering support from world leaders and parliamentarians.
In four years, he has visited over twenty countries and discussed the urgency of the Tibet issue with influential global leaders, including ministers, speakers and parliamentarians, Nobel Laureates and Tibet Support Groups. Sangay has appeared in major international news media, such as CNN, BBC, The New York Times, Globe Mail, Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Economic Times and the Washington Post. In addition to articles on his work and life, they have published articles authored by the Sikyong. These have greatly contributed in generating discussions and gathering support for Tibet.
Due to Tibet’s critical situation, a Special Tibetan General Meeting and Tibet Support Groups meeting were organized in Dharamsala in 2012. This was followed by a major event jointly-initiated by the Kashag and the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile in Delhi. This year the Paris Rally for Tibet, which was attended by Sikyong, attracted over 7,000 supporters. Similar events were organized in Austria, Japan and Australia.
THREE: A Greater Level of Awareness and Support for the Middle-Way Approach
The Middle-Way Approach was democratically-adopted by the Central Tibetan Administration to resolve the Tibet issue under His Holiness the Dalai Lama. When the Sikyong took his oath of office, he pledged his commitment to this policy and to carry forward the works done during the administration of the former Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche. As soon as the Sikyong took over the reins of the administration, he created a think tank, the Tibet Policy Institute (TPI). The TPI, in close partnership with many reputed scholars and international think tanks, has organized conferences on the Middle-Way Approach, as well as many other issues related to Tibet.
In 2014, the Sikyong, his fellow Kalons as well as secretaries of the departments visited all Tibetan settlements, schools and monasteries to speak and to raise awareness on the Middle-Way Approach. In June 2014, the Middle-Way Approach Campaign was launched, during which His Holiness released the campaign documents and the video. The launch included the opening of a website, dissemination of an eight-minute video and various print materials on the Middle-Way Approach in Tibetan, English, Chinese languages. The campaign was covered in 30 major international news media. Latest addition is an hour long video in Tibetan language featuring head lamas of various sects, Bon tradition and former political prisoners from Tibet endorsing the Middle Way Approach. Today many major world leaders unequivocally praise and support the Middle-Way Approach in resolving the issue of Tibet.
FOUR: Efforts to Promote Sino-Tibetan Talks Through Various Means
Believing that the best way to resolve the Sino-Tibetan conflict is through dialogue, the current administration under the Sikyong increased the members of the Task Force on Sino-Tibetan Negotiation with Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche as its special adviser. Efforts were made with the special envoy, and presently, efforts are being made without a special envoy. Prof. Jin Wei of the Central Party School in Beijing has on various occasions underlined the need for Sino-Tibetan dialogue. Her comments have been published in various Chinese news websites. On 29 January 2015, the BBC aired the story about a former high-ranking Chinese official, Xiao Wunan, visiting Dharamsala to meet His Holiness and Tibetan leaders. Xiao commented on the changing scenario of the Sino-Tibetan situation.
On 25 August 2014, the Indian daily newspaper, The Hindu, quoted Wu Yingjie, the deputy party secretary of Tibet Autonomous Region, as saying that the Chinese government is already in talks with the people of the HH Dalai Lama. EU President Donald Tusk publicly urged the visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang for China to restart meaningful dialogue on Tibet. Major global leaders, including the foreign ministries of the US and Europe, have issued statements and passed over seventeen resolutions in support of a Sino-Tibetan dialogue.
The Sikyong continues to reiterate that he attaches more importance to the substance than the process of the dialogue and that there should be dialogue between the envoys of the Dalai Lama and Chinese counterparts. Hence, there will likely be some progress in this field in the near future.
FIVE: Excellent Relations with Indian Leaders
The Government of India’s support is crucial to the Tibet issue, and the importance of the Tibetan Administration’s relationship with India can never be exaggerated. Since the Sikyong took office, his strong personal relationship with many Indian leaders has resulted in the successful implementation of several new innovative projects.
The official celebration of His Holiness’ 80th birthday this year was attended by two Union Ministers representing the Indian Government. The ministers visited Dharamsala – the first time in 55 years – to attend His Holiness’ birthday.
Similarly, the Sikyong’s appearance at the swearing-in ceremony of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has signaled a powerful political message. The Sikyong has also personally met with chief ministers of many Indian states, including Karnataka, Orissa, Uttrakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh to discuss and resolve a range of problems and challenges faced by local Tibetan communities. Furthermore, the formalization of the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy 2014 by the Government of India, the renewal of RC for five years and invitations for the Sikyong to deliver lectures at various Indian universities show a high level of support for the incumbent Kashag under the leadership of Sikyong Lobsang Sangay.
At the request of the Sikyong, the road running from McLeod Gunj to Lower Dharamsala via the exile Tibetan headquarters at Gangchen Kyishong was renamed the Potala Road and is now being extensively renovated. Perhaps, this is an auspicious sign for His Holiness to return to the Potala Palace in Tibet one day.
SIX: Accomplishments in the Field of Education
The Sikyong has consistently said that education is the top priority for his administration. Significant investments include: initiatives to take over the administration of Tibetan schools from the CTSA; the distribution of an unprecedented amount of funds to fully implement the Basic Education Policy; the establishment of a special teacher training center to train holistic Tibetan teachers; visits to every Tibetan school and first-hand assessments of their situation; and organizing parent-teacher meetings to gain valuable feedbacks. All these initiatives have yielded outstanding results.
In 2010, the Department of Education provided scholarship of over nine million rupees [Ninety Lakhs] to 130 students. The Department today spends forty million [Four Crores] in scholarship awards to 600 students, including 300 scholarships to those pursuing specialized professional courses and special scholarships for poverty affected children. As a result, the number of students who attained distinction — scoring over 75% — in the 12th standard has increased from 127 in 2010 to over 321 in 2014. The same figure for 2015 was 443 students. There is a growing body of students securing over 95% to win the prestigious Sikyong Scholarship.
As a result in June 2015, while delivering introductory talks on Buddhism at TCV in upper Dharamsala, His Holiness said, “Despite years of deterioration in education, things are improving today. The staff of Education Department must continue to work hard.” Since there is no end to progress, the opportunity to further increase the standards of Tibetan education must be seized with both hands.
SEVEN: Two-fold Increase in the Administration’s Income
No works can be implemented without a sound financial base. For about fifteen years since 1999 the annual budget of the exile administration has been around one thousand million rupees. However, the annual budget for this year stands at two thousand million rupees. This increase shows that the CTA’s income has doubled. The exile administration used to receive US$ two million in aid from the United States towards welfare programs for Tibetans in India, Nepal and Bhutan. The amount of aid Tibetans receive from them today is about US$ seven million. The CTA also receives US$ one million in aid each from two western countries. These funds, along with the funding aids extended by various other countries, are extremely significant from a political point of view. These funds are now being invested in education, sustenance of settlements, promotion of political knowledge, promotion and preservation of Tibetan religion, culture and language, promotion of Tibetan businesses, including sweater sellers, salaries of Tibetan teachers, raise (recently) in pensions, renovation and expansion of CTA offices, upgrades in CTA office equipment, building of recreational facilities, etc.
Furthermore, after the US Office of Tibet was moved to Washington D.C., a new office building was purchased at US$ 2.7 million. The Office of Tibet in Japan also purchased a new building at US$ one million. These new innovative projects are possible because of the Administration’s healthy financial status. Since mobilization of funds also requires developing strong interpersonal relationships, the CTA must therefore take into consideration the importance of further improving the present Administration’s robust financial health.
EIGHT: Projects to Sustain Tibetan Settlements
The Sikyong has time and again reiterated that in order to ensure the long-term sustenance of Tibetan settlements, we must sustain the ownership of settlement land. The Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy 2014 formalized by the Government of India, which will soon be implemented by the states, has already opened a way to legalize Tibetan ownership of settlement land, including those grouped under scattered communities. Provision of loans to those who undertake both organic or modern agriculture methods, the Sikyong Entrepreneur of the Year Award and low-interest loans to young new entrepreneurs are provided to ensure economic freedom and the long-term sustenance of Tibetan settlements.
The fear of eviction that once prevailed over the residents of the Tibetan colony at Majnu-Ka-Tilla, Delhi, has now been resolved. Similar problems faced by around 210 families in Dharamshala, along with many families in Shimla and Rewalsar or Tso-pema were likewise successfully resolved. The state government of Himachal Pradesh has already formulated a new policy based on the Government of India’s Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy 2014.
Over the last four years, Sikyong visited every Tibetan school and settlement and assessed at first-hand the actual situation on the ground, especially in the far-flung settlements with acute problems as in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.
In order to build a lasting relation between Tibetans residing outside India, Nepal and Bhutan and Tibetans in the West, the current administration has introduced Sister Shichak project. Provisions were also made for Tibetan professionals and scholars around the world to serve as volunteers in the CTA under Tibet Corps. Concrete measures were taken to simplify the process of making corrections in the Green Book. The Tibet Online TV and website of the CTA has been completely overhauled in order to enable Tibetans across the world to be better acquainted with the policies and works of the CTA. Today, a Tibetan residing in any part of the world can remain connected to and actively involved in the works initiated by the CTA. This new development has benefitted the Tibetan peoples, both individually and collectively. This is also politically very significant.
Public health constitutes a major factor in the overall development of a community. The Tibetan Medicare System has spent significant funds providing proper medical care to those in need of urgent medical attention, particularly the poor and the vulnerable. There are over 21,000 Tibetans who have enrolled in the Medicare System. The number of enrollment is expected to rise up to 50,000 in the next five years, hence covering not only the poor but a significant portion of middle-income families as well.
The current Administration has already announced new welfare schemes for all families with more than three children. Other health programs like those promoting mother and child health, prevention of communicable diseases and drug addiction rehabilitation programs were also carried out extensively. The number of doctors serving in Tibetan hospitals has increased from seven in 2012 to sixteen at present. There are also over 100 nurses presently serving in Tibetan hospitals. In 2014 Sikyong successfully obtained over US$ three million dollars in aid for the Department of Health, funding a variety of health projects.
NINE: Fresh Policy for Proper Rehabilitation of New Refugees
A large number of new Tibetan refugees have been successfully rehabilitated in major Tibetan settlements today. A new land was purchased in Bir/Chauntra to rehabilitate 73 families of recent refugees from Tibet. Similar initiatives to rehabilitate new refugees are also being implemented in Bylakuppe and Mundgod in the South. The monthly stipend for former Tibetan political prisoners (or their immediate relatives) was doubled and new projects are initiated to build residential quarters for them.
Similarly, a large number of families of former Tibetan political prisoners have been successfully rehabilitated in Australia. The number of years that a recent refugee from Tibet can study at the Sherab Gatsel Lobling School has been increased from five to eight years. The school today offers a number of vocational training programs such as tailoring and computer education. At least four students have successfully completed the All India Senior Secondary School Examination and provided scholarships to attend colleges. Ten students, expected to complete their class 12th exam next year, will be provided scholarship to pursue college.
As a result of a new policy, students who are unable to be in monasteries or study in Bir or Suja due to health issues are being offered alternate opportunities to continue their studies. In brief, the scale and scope of welfare programs for a comprehensive rehabilitation of recent Tibetan refugees has seen a tremendous improvement in the last four years.
TEN: Personal Security of His Holiness and Religious and Cultural Projects
The personal security of His Holiness is of paramount importance to the current administration under the Sikyong. In close association with the Government of India, the security detail of His Holiness was upgraded both in terms of personnel and high-tech equipment. Given the nature of works undertaken by the Department of Security, most of their major endeavors cannot be discussed in the public domain. The current administration has strongly dealt with the handful of Dhogyal followers who disrupt events and protest against His Holiness during his foreign visits.
The current 14th Kashag has dedicated 2014 as the Year of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and organized various events to express deep gratitude toward His Holiness. Major conferences of all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism were held. Tibetans nuns today can receive the Geshema degree. In addition, large-scale prayers and rituals for the long life of His Holiness were organized. Projects promoting scholarships and the specialization in major Buddhist texts were introduced. The traditional Tibetan performing arts, including the regional opera associations were promoted and supported with additional resources. The Tibetan people inside Tibet as well as those around the world were ecstatic with joy when His Holiness restated that he would live over 100 years during the grand official celebration of his 80th birthday. In fact, His Holiness asked Tibetans to begin preparing for the celebration of his 90th birthday.
In brief, despite the fact that the Tibetan administration is based in exile and has to depend on others, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, his fellow Kalons and civil servants, has accomplished a great deal in the last four years. There is much more he can deliver in the coming years. In fact, the next five years will reveal the rewards of his far-sighted policies. A continuation of a consistent and stable social and political environment will ensure the achievement of the core aspirations of the Tibetan people and to serve the fundamental cause of Tibet. The need of the hour, therefore, is for Dr. Lobsang Sangay to continue to serve as Sikyong for a second term.
Thus, on behalf of the Tibetan people inside and outside Tibet, the People’s Group for Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, urge him to serve as Sikyong. The Group requests the Tibetan people across the globe to re-elect Dr. Lobsang Sangay, outstanding leader, eminent scholar, and dedicated Tibetan.Author's Note: The facts cited above have been compiled from various websites, including the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration, Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Phayul news portal, and Tibetan newspapers, radio news services and major international news media.
Click image to enlarge.
Tibetan: Ganzey Tsering (781).502.8423
English: Jigme Ugen (612).812.5846
The Tibetan National Congress is pleased and proud to support the candidacy of Lukar Jam Atsock for the position of Sikyong.
Lukar Jam’s candidacy represents a truly positive advance over the status quo politicians who have failed to deliver the changes that the Tibetan people desperately need. The Tibetan people need progress on relations within the exile community; the government-in-exile; the view that China takes of Tibetans; the direction of the Tibetan struggle; and the way the Tibetan struggle is perceived by the outside world. He is the only candidate who is pledged to change this status quo.
Lukar Jam is the only candidate who knows Chinese rule up-close: he lived a good part of his life under that rule. He has personally confronted Chinese power inside Tibet, and paid the price in imprisonment and torture. Lukar Jam reads, speaks and writes Chinese. He understands China and its Tibet policy directly, not by relying on second-hand translations or second-hand opinions but by interacting directly with Chinese people, their writings and their ideas.
More importantly, Lukar Jam is the candidate who knows, based on long personal experience, how best to connect with our sisters and brothers inside Tibet. He is the leader who can build bridges between those inside Tibet and those in exile, and forge a greater unity for the entire Tibetan people.
Lukar Jam knows in his heart that Tibet is a nation. He knows Tibet’s nationhood is not something to be given away, or used as a bargaining chip. He knows it is the entirety of the struggle itself, and that this fact alone is what makes our struggle so strikingly just. Like the patriotic Prime Ministers Lukhangwa and Lobsang Tashi in the 1950s, he is not afraid to stand up for the Tibetan nation and for its spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Unlike other candidates, Lukar Jam makes no distinction between what is in his heart and what is in his words. He doesn’t try to confound people by pretense: he does not tell Tibetans that he supports freedom while telling non-Tibetan audiences that he is fine with Chinese Communist Party rule in Tibet.
Lukar Jam stands firmly for the principle of non-violence. And he understands that non-violence does not mean the surrender of Tibet’s nationhood. He understands that it means standing firm on what is just: non-violently but with steady commitment, even in the face of overwhelming odds and brutality. This refusal to compromise justice, combined with non-violence, is the essence of Gandhian struggle. Lukar Jam’s non-violence is based firmly in the truth of the Tibetan cause.
Lukar Jam stands for democracy within the exile community and for our sisters and brothers in Tibet. He opposes the suppression of free speech not only inside Tibet but in exile society as well, as happened in the censorship of political expression in this year’s March 10th rally in New York City.
For these clear reasons, we are convinced that he will impart vigor to a struggle that has been plagued in recent years by feeble acts and disingenuous words. He will inspire people with a renewed commitment to Tibet’s nationhood; he will use the mechanisms of the Tibetan government-in-exile for that sole purpose, not as a tool for promoting personal ambition or rewarding friends and supporters.
Lukar Jam is the very candidate Tibet needs at this crucial and perilous moment. We proudly endorse him to become the next Sikyong.
The Tibetan National Congress (TNC), is a political national freedom movement. It is a non-sectarian, non-regional, pan Tibetan movement that seeks to pursue the ultimate goal of the restoration of Tibetan Independence, to bring about a Renaissance of Tibetan society of Tibet’s ancient culture, literature, language, and history, and to uphold and vitalize the principle of a democratic society gifted to the Tibetan people by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
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