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A Review of Dr. Lobsang Sangay’s Published Scholarly Works

Dr. Lobsang Sangay as of late expressed to the Harvard understudy paper that “Who I am presently, as a researcher and a dissident and a representative, is fundamentally a result of Harvard. It appears to be that one of the fundamental attractions of my [Kalon Tripa] bid is a direct result of my Harvard qualifications and validity.” Setting to the side the Harvard mark briefly, Sangay’s mission has set unique accentuation on his situation as a legitimate researcher. It has filled in as a reaction to analysis that he needs insight or judgment, and in radio meetings and the New York banter it has permitted him to be presented as khewang (learned one).

Understanding Sangay’s office hence requires understanding his situation as a researcher/khewang. Shockingly, there has been little examination of his genuine grant among the Tibetan electorate up until now (rather than the other two Katri applicants, whose previous presentation involves openly available report). Grant is estimated fundamentally by distributed yield. Along these lines, to help Tibetan citizens better assess Sangay’s presentation as a researcher, the Editorial Board of The Tibetan Political Review sets out a short audit of Sangay’s distributed insightful works.

This survey is in two sections: general and explicit. We first direct an overall review of Sangay’s distributed insightful works. At that point, we lead a particular survey of every one of the works. To sum up, since Sangay’s graduation with his S.J.D. degree in 2004, he has distributed three academic articles, albeit none in set up legitimate diaries. In those three articles, one discovers moderately more verifiable data and backing, and generally less lawful or academic investigation. One additionally discovers an essayist zeroed in on vote based system and looking for self-governance for Tibetans inside the People’s Republic of China.


We set off to find the entirety of Sangay’s distributed insightful works, barring non-academic pieces, for example, paper commentaries. Our hunt was just about as exhaustive as could be expected.

We initially counseled Westlaw, the standard lawful examination apparatus utilized by lawful researchers and rehearsing attorneys, containing 40,000 information bases covering lawful diaries all throughout the planet. One would hope to discover in Westlaw all academic articles by any legitimate researcher at an American college. A Westlaw look for insightful works distributed by Sangay returned zero (0) results.

Then, we widened our pursuit past lawful diaries via looking through the Social Science Research Network, a data set covering sociology distributions. A quest for academic works distributed by Sangay returned zero (0) results.

At that point, we looked in Google Scholar, bringing about the accompanying two (2) articles and one (1) part from a book, yet completely distributed while he was an understudy preceding 2004:

1. Tibet: Exiles’ Journey (2003), in Journal of Democracy. This journal is not run by a university but rather by the National Endowment for Democracy, which has given grants to various Tibetan organizations including NDPT. That may explain why this journal does not show up in an academic search.

2. One chapter in Human Rights: Positive Policies in Asia and the Pacific Rim, by J.D. Montgomery (2001). We have been unable to obtain a copy of this book.

3. Human Rights and Buddhism: Cultural Relativism, Individualism & Universalism (1996). It is unclear where, if anywhere, this article was published.

Lastly, we consulted the autobiographical blurbs contained in  Sangay’s non-academic articles in Phayul, which led us to three (3) scholarly works, all written after his graduation in 2004. The articles were not published in established legal journals, but rather in two student publications and a South Korean journal begun in 2008:

1. China in Tibet: Forty Years of Occupation or Liberation? (2004) in Harvard Asia Quarterly.  This student publication is affiliated with the Harvard Asia Center and covers diverse topics related to Asia. Articles have ranged from Islamic education in China to girls’ graffiti culture in Japan.

2. China’s National Autonomy Law and Tibet: A Paradox Between Autonomy and Unity (2006), in Harvard South Asian Journal. This journal is an undergraduate publication run by a South Asian student association.

3. Legal Autonomy of Tibet: A Tibetan Lawyer’s Perspective (2008), in Journal of East Asian International Law. This journal, begun in 2008, is run by a South Korean research organization called the Yijun Institute of International Law.

By correlation, Sangay’s director at Harvard Law School, Professor William Alford, has composed ten (10) articles or sections and three (3) books since 2004, and furthermore shows classes, coordinates the East Asian Legal Studies Program, is bad habit dignitary, and seats a venture on incapacity. This isn’t implied as analysis of Sangay, but instead as setting. While distribution is the essential proportion of a scholastic, there are other academic pursuits past distribution (educating, coordinating examination communities, organization, talking, arranging gatherings, and so forth) Sangay has positively invested energy talking and arranging gatherings; this other work ought to be contemplated while assessing his academic yield of 3 articles more than six years.


1. China’s National Autonomy Law and Tibet: A Paradox Between Autonomy and Unity (2006)

This article had Sangay’s best lawful focuses. Sangay basically takes a nearby perusing of China’s National Regional Autonomy Law of 1984 (NRAL), and presumes that “when a contention shows between the matchless quality of one or the other solidarity or saelf-rule… solidarity bests independence.” What he implies is that Chinese self-sufficiency law favors the prerequisites of Beijing over the necessities of “minorities” like Tibetans.

The best model that Sangay gives is that under the NRAL, any alteration of a public law made by an Autonomous Region should be “accounted for” to and “endorsed” by the National People’s Congress (NPC), though a territory can make an adjustment by just “announcing” it to the NPC. Sangay additionally invests energy taking a gander at identity insights for administrators and authorities in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), reasoning that non-Tibetans are predominant.

There are, notwithstanding, a few regions where Sangay’s article misses the mark. For example, he puts together his lawful contentions with respect to perusing simply the content (or English interpretation) of the NRAL. Sangay might have shown how laws, for example, the NRAL are really upheld, comprehended, and bantered in China itself (where any execution fundamentally should happen). Taking a gander at the content is a decent initial step yet insufficient. By relationship, a non-American can peruse the “free discourse” arrangement of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, however they would miss the whole assortment of First Amendment case-law that arrangements with nuances and understandings not present in the words on the page.

Besides, Sangay might have arranged his contentions inside the discussion occurring in the bigger field of Chinese legitimate investigations. This incorporates researchers taking a gander at China’s “minority” strategy for the most part. Essentially, Sangay’s article remains solitary. Great grant doesn’t just come to a meaningful conclusion, however adds to a continuous talk of information and thoughts among numerous researchers.

Ultimately, we comprehend that Sangay can’t cover everything in a four page article, yet he ought to be cautious about utilizing the level of Tibetan authorities in the TAR as an intermediary for authentic Tibetan self-rule. What makes a difference is the way those Tibetans are picked and how much opportunity they need to plan strategies to profit their constituents. A 100% ethnic Tibetan TAR government brimming with Chinese colleagues like Ragdi, Legchok, and Pema Choling isn’t the objective. Regardless of whether the TAR council were allowed the capacity to just “report” to the NPC, there would be no genuine change except if Tibetans can pick their own officials.

2. China in Tibet: Forty Years of Occupation or Liberation? (2004)

In this article, Sangay presents unmistakably and compactly a large number of the contentions that the Tibetan development makes about Tibet. While we completely concur with the vast majority of this article, it is fundamentally a reasonable, elegantly composed repackaging of what numerous Tibetans and allies have effectively said.

He sums up his article as follows: “I will zero in on … the Communist Chinese government’s defense for their control of Tibet, and show how Tibetans see themselves as unmistakable from Chinese. I will likewise show how Tibetans and Chinese hold generally different points of view on the Chinese government’s case that they have improved strict, instructive, and monetary conditions in Tibet.”

It is unimaginable to expect to consider this article a piece of lawful grant – or grant all the more comprehensively – since it is fundamentally a promotion piece. Backing is totally significant. Notwithstanding, promotion and grant are two distinct things: one is energetic and obstinate, and one is impartial and objective.

Sangay makes an unmistakable contention, yet it is one that is problematic. He composes of the Sino-Tibetan “agreement” that ruled during the marriage of Emperor Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wencheng, which amicability he says ought to be “restored” in spirt. He additionally expresses that Tibetan surrender before a rule of Emperor Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wencheng in the Tsuklhakhang show that “there is no intrinsic disdain among Tibetans towards the Chinese essentially.”

In our view, it is dangerous to depict Princess Wencheng as an image of free concordance. Tang Emperor Taizong hesitantly gave Princess Wencheng in marriage simply because of Emperor Songtsen Gampo’s tactical strength, not through sensations of Sino-Tibetan kinship. Furthermore, “congruity” among Tibet and Tang China was fleeting, as Songtsen Gampo’s replacements every now and again fought Chinese powers.

Nor do we believe Sangay’s surrender contention works. Maybe Sangay pointed his contention to a Chinese crowd, who will in general celebrate Wencheng as the sacrificial Han princess who “cultivated” the “primitive” Tibetans and carried them into the “group of the Motherland.” However, we alert Sangay against utilizing a contention that depends on becoming tied up with China’s brute/civilization polarity. It might appear to be astute from the outset, however any complex Chinese will perceive what is happening. It is smarter to contend for a Sino-Tibetan goal dependent on a sure affirmation of Tibetan rights and personality. China regards strength and certainty, not shortcoming and docility.

3. Tibet: Exiles’ Journey (2003)

Albeit this article was distributed in 2003 while Sangay was as yet an understudy, we incorporate a survey of it since Sangay refers to it in his personal blurbs. This piece doesn’t propose new scholastic thoughts or more extensive speculations of law or majority rules system by and large, as numerous lawful researchers may do. Maybe, Sangay presents perceptions on the particular case close by dependent on a verifiable outline.

Sangay’s attention is on the endeavors of His Holiness to achieve democratization, while additionally addressing partisan quarrels and the alleged “Taiwan issue” (which Sangay faults on the Chitue and Kashag making “a factional football”). Sangay portrays how, in the consequence of such embarrassments, “the [Dalai] Lama took his most sensational actions for democratization” by dissolving Parliament and calling new decisions in 1990.

Sangay infers that, while “nothing is guaranteed,” a mainstream fairly chose pioneer may “help direct Tibetans strategically while the following Dalai Lama satisfies a profound job.” This vision of a part for His Holiness much the same as an established ruler, with the Kalon Tripa going about as the head of government, is a typical reformist idea in Tibetan culture, and it is clear that Sangay shares it.

Sangay likewise intrigues a few assertions about the Tibetan privileged and devout local area. For instance, he makes the statement that the “dominant part of these [Tibetan government] workers are from ‘plebeian’ foundations; just around one out of 100 has connections to the conventional inherited gentry.” We are indistinct why Sangay felt that a point about “ordinary people” versus “privileged” required making. We additionally noticed Sangay’s inquiry whether “the moderate Buddhist devout local area will acknowledge common vote based system.” This is a decent inquiry, and we keep thinking about whether the time Sangay has as of late spent in the cloisters of South India has given any answers.

Taking a more basic view, we can’t help contradicting Sangay’s depiction of pre-1959 Tibet as a “primitive domain” that was “shackled to feudalism,” with “priests and grandees” showing “traditionalist” hostile to present day perspectives. Feudalism is a term explicit to the political and social framework in Europe during the Middle Ages. Pre-1959 Tibetan culture had numerous considerable contrasts from European feudalism. It is horribly erroneous to allude to pre-1959 Tibet just like a “medieval domain.” As Sangay should know, one doesn’t have to parrot phrases from Chinese publicity to show that one is a genuine researcher of Tibet.

In conclusion, we can just accept that Sangay’s 15 references to “the Lama” instead of “the Dalai Lama” probably been an altering botch.

4. Legal Autonomy of Tibet: A Tibetan Lawyer’s Perspective (2008)

Unfortunately there is little that one can tell from three pages.  Clearly, Sangay is arguing for Tibet’s autonomy within the People’s Republic of China, but unfortunately the details are unavailable.


According to a yield of three articles since his graduation six years prior, apparently Sangay’s situation as a researcher isn’t yet immovably settled. Besides, Sangay still can’t seem to distribute the sort of protracted and thorough article in a set up legitimate diary, complete with lawful references, that one would expect of a lawful researcher. This isn’t an analysis of Sangay’s abilities, but instead a judgment of his presentation to date.

With regards to the substance of Sangay’s distributed articles, he by and large shows a worry for popular government and to looking for a goal to the Sino-Tibetan struggle that ought to be commended. While we consider some to be his situations as oversimplified or immature, and keeping in mind that we don’t really share his particular perspectives on self-rule, we additionally extol his readiness to set out his situations on some basic issues confronting Tibet. We might dare to dream that more Tibetans do as such later on, and that such conversations consolidate a more noteworthy information on global and Chinese law.

These are the assessments of the TPR editors, who are altogether attorneys (J.D. or then again J.D./LL.M.) with some level of involvement with assessing legitimate grant. We invite different points of view. We additionally energetically welcome Dr. Sangay to react on the off chance that he feels we have made any blunders or exclusions.

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