By Dicki Chhoyang
North American Chitue candidate
Answers in Response to TPR's
"10 Questions for North American Chitue Candidates"
(1) What, in your opinion, makes you qualified to represent North American Tibetans in the Parliament-in-Exile?
An individual’s qualifications are a combination of multiple factors: life experience, skills, education, personal temperament, and motivation. What I can bring to this position is strongly linked to my experience working in Tibet for several years and the generation I represent. Those years spent in the field enabled me to deepen my understanding of daily realities affecting Tibetans inside Tibet. As the TGIE strives to defend the rights of Tibetans inside Tibet, this exposure to their reality is invaluable as a Tibetan parliamentarian.
Furthermore, I belong to an important segment of the North American diaspora, the growing number of young Tibetans who were born and/or raised here. Many of us care deeply about the Tibetan cause and are searching for opportunities to contribute to the growth of our community in a way that is meaningful and respectful of efforts made by previous and current generation of Tibetan public servants. I see my holding the office of Chitue as a way to help bridge a gap between the TGIE and a younger generation in Tibetans both inside Tibet and the diaspora.
The position of Chitue will also call for analytical, communication, and planning skills. I have had the opportunity to develop such skills over the years through professional assignments as well as academic training. Community development is also an area that has always captured my interest. It is what brought me to work in Tibet and my current position as a community liaison officer for a large urban project downtown Montreal.
Philosophically speaking, I see whatever contribution I can make as parliamentarian as a dot in a continuum. We are here because of others’ hard work and dedication, and it is now our generation’s turn to further reinforce that foundation so that others after us may continue to build upon it. As Chitue, I believe I will learn a great deal about different facets of the TGIE: its successes, the challenges it faces and the resources necessary to address them. Throughout my term, I want to take the essence of that learning and share it with the younger generation of Tibetans so that together we acknowledge the accomplishments of the TGIE, while also contributing to address the challenges it faces.
(2) What would you do as Chitue to best represent the interests of Tibetans in North America?
I believe the role of Chitue is that of both a parliamentarian and constituency representative. As a parliamentarian, one is an ombudsman, a facilitator who deals with community concerns about government. He or she examines the work of the government, how it spends public funds; and contributes to debates on national issues. Given the Tibetan political context, the limited human and financial resources to support the official responsibilities of a member of parliament, a Chitue must be strategic and innovative when undertaking initiatives and investing efforts. A collaborative attitude, and strong communication skills are essential for this role
To represent a group, one must be accessible and actively engaged with members of that group to understand their concerns. So, on a practical level, I would begin with the basic following steps:
During the five-year term as Chitue, my current plans include, but not limited, to the following actions:
(3) What do you see are the short term (1-5 years) priorities of the Parliament-in-Exile and what would you do as Chitue to deal with those priorities?
Note: Priorities of the Parliament-in-exile should reflect issues related to the collective interest of the Tibetan community as well as specific concerns affecting different groups, beyond the North American Diaspora. As such, it is difficult to answer question (3) and (4) thoroughly, based solely on one’s personal understanding of events and interpretation of official information intended for the general public. Nonetheless, I am presenting a few preliminary thoughts. Some, if not all, are likely to be issues the TGIE is already addressing. As Chitue, I would support initiatives to address these issues, and for unaddressed issues, try to understand why, and take it from there.
I understand short-term priorities to mean issues that need to be addressed within 5 years and long-term priorities as issues to be raised now, but that will take several years to address adequately or should remain an on-going concern.
(4) What do you see are the long term (5-10+ years) priorities of the Parliament-in-Exile and what would you do as Chitue to deal with those priorities?
See Note for Question (3). Below are some preliminary thoughts.
(5) What do you see are the greatest issues or problems currently facing the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and what recommendations would you make to deal with those issues?
(6) What changes, if any, would you recommend concerning the Parliament-in-Exile? Examples could be in the term of office for Chitues or the current regional make-up of the Chitue representatives?
For the moment, I do not have any changes to recommend.
On a practical level, a simple wish would be for new members of parliament to receive an orientation if this is not already an on-going practice, and that the biographical summary for each member of parliament be distributed to all parliamentarians. This information will prove useful for the election of Standing Committee members as it is unlikely that all 47 new members will be familiar with each other’s background.
(7) What amendments, if any, in the Charter for Tibetan Exiles would you recommend?
For the moment, I do not have any amendments to recommend.
(8) How do you think His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s retirement from politics would affect the Tibetan struggle and what suggestions would you make to the Exile Government for handling the issue of His Holiness’ retirement from politics?
Although His Holiness has significantly reduced his political role during the last few years, his imminent further retirement from Tibetan politics still strikes a deep emotional chord within our community. The best way for the TGIE to handle the issue of His Holiness’ retirement from politics is to make deliberate efforts now to operate in an autonomous manner, with all due respect to His Holiness, without soliciting his participation and input. Establishing confidence amongst Tibetans that the TGIE can function effectively without His Holiness’s involvement will help alleviate some concerns.
(9) What are your views towards the Middle Way Policy (Ume Lam) and rangzen for Tibet? Do you support either one or something else and why?
I support the Middle Way Policy. Under the current circumstances, I believe this is policy that is most reflective of the wishes of Tibetans inside Tibet. Over time, however, we may collectively decide it is in our best interest to envisage other policy options more seriously.
(10) Is there anything else you would like to tell voters, either about yourself or the issues, on why they should vote for you as a North American Chitue?
As a member of the first Tibetan generation raised in North America, I believe our generation must start taking greater responsibility and interest in our community’s governance structure and related issues. This will help ensure the long-term well-being of our community, a shared common vision, and optimal strategic use of our resources.
For readers wishing to learn more about me, you may visit my web site: www.dickichhoyang.org