Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Introspection on The Dalai Lama's 2009 Tawang Visit

PM Manmohan Singh's response to China on Dalai Lama's
visit: Only India will decide Hu and Wen can visit TAWANG..!
The Economic Times' Cartoon. By Salam
By Tenzin Lekshay

In 2003, India became jubilant when China agreed to not just remain mum over Sikkim but also went ahead in removing Sikkim as an 'independent nation' from their official website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The gesture, which Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee after returning from China justified by saying that he extracted concessions from Beijing on Sikkim without offering anything new on Tibet in exchange.

Even after more than 60 years of establishing diplomatic relationship, India and China faces unprecedented challenges on its Himalayan borders. There has been a contest on the recognition of the Line of Actual Control and considers whole stretch of Himalayan border as a disputed zone. Analysts say that China wants to keep the status quo over border issues, which would help in maintaining China's leverage over India in their chase for power politics. Therefore, it is evident to find ever increasing transgressions along the borders.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On Tibet, Will Xi Leave the Last Word on Tibet to a Dead Man?

By Thubten Samphel*

Chinese President Xi Jinping, centre, during the
 third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC 
Central Committee in Beijing Photo: AP/XINHUA
The international verdict on the outcome of the third plenum of the 18th congress of the Chinese communist party held from 9 to 12 November is out. The verdict both within China and outside is positive. The breadth of reforms to be introduced is ambitious. If carried through despite stiff resistance from vested interests, these reforms will improve the lives of the ordinary Chinese. The proposed reforms include doing away with the one-child policy, the forced labour camps,  loosening the household registration system, putting more emphasis on market forces so that private enterprises could find more level playing ground to compete with the giant state-owned enterprises and the creation of a national security agency to co-ordinate the activities of China’s sprawling and powerful domestic security apparatus, which during the reign of Hu Jintao posed a distinct challenge to the top leadership.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mohan Singh and Tibet connection

By Tenzin Lekshay

Tibetan Parliamentarians led by Speaker Penpa Tsering 
meet Mr Mohan Singh, (3rd from right) senior member of 
Indian Parliament in New Delhi on 15 October 2011
After the untimely demise of Mohan Singh, an eminent socialist leader and a member of Parliament, Tibet has yet again lost one of her oldest confidante. As soon as I received the shocking news, I called upon a small contingent of Tibetans based in Delhi to visit his residence at Pandara Road, Delhi. We paid homage to our dear friend, along with scores of Indian who thronged to condole his passing away. When we arrived, the gentleman who was coordinating the last rite announced the gathering to remain silent when the Tibetan monks recite monlam prayer. In the midst, he told us that Mohan Singh ji stood up for the Tibetan cause. He was right!  Mohan Singh has been one of our oldest friend who unflinchingly supported us throughout his life.

Over the years, I had a privilege of meeting Mohan Singh ji on several occasions. Even though, he was physically unwell for years, I saw him interacting with groups of people all the time. He was receptive and always tolerate our presence with his benign gesture whenever we visit him. While lying on bed with a simple white kurta, he would tirelessly inquire about the latest development inside Tibet. He had a deep interest on Tibet and was always ready to show his solidarity with Tibet.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Will China Be True To Their Constitution?

By Tenzin Lekshay

Current Chinese Leaders
Last month, after I wrote an article on Yu Zhengsheng, I met Mr. Dawa Tsering, former colleague who is currently based in Taiwan. He is one amongst the small contingent of Tibetan bureaucrats in exile, who has prolific knowledge on China. While we discussed briefly about the current Chinese leadership, I asked his expert opinion on Yu's remark on Middle Way Policy. Though, our meeting was short, he made a very good observation by saying that the current Chinese leaders are presently emphasizing on the importance of constitution and the rule of law. If they stick to their words, then it may generate a possibility in resolving the Tibet problem. This gave me space to acknowledge that despite painfully traumatized by the Chinese intruding forces for more than 5 decades, Tibetans are keeping faith in hope and optimism. Mr. Thubten Samphel, former Information Secretary of the Central Tibetan Administration confirmed that the hope is the best friend of the Tibetans.1

Friday, August 30, 2013

100 Essays on Tibet from 1850-1950

1904 Lhasa group photo Sir Charles Bell, Henry Martin,
W. P. Rosemeyer, Kaziman Nepalai
By Tenzin Lekshay

Over the years, I have been collecting articles written on Tibet. Interestingly, with the growing inquisitiveness in Oriental studies over the last two centuries, few foreigners ventured into Tibet. Though Tibet was earlier known to be the forbidden land, the foreign activities inside Tibet remained diverse ranging from missionary works to political establishment. Some went explore the heights of the mountains while others visited for scientific excursions. it is therefore evident that early write-ups on Tibet are mostly travelogues. 

Here is the collection of 100 essays on Tibet within the span of 100 years in between 1850 to 1950. The purpose of making such references is to make it easy for the students and the Tibet observers to find the literatures and the source materials in a more convenient way. All the essays given below are in accordance with the years of the publication.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

30 Books to Read on Contemporary China

Part of my small personal library
Yesterday, Prof. Jon Sullivan, China specialist and a political scientist at the University of Nottingham released a reading list of 30 books on the introduction of contemporary China in his website. While going through the list, I felt that he chose nearly all the issues that are essentially connected to China, but he missed a very important issue, which China believes as one of their core interest. For China, Tibet is not just merely a so called  Western Treasure House, but also holds a very important strategic position in the political field. I have requested Prof. Sullivan to include Tibet, or else the minority issues in his reading list, which I believe he is receptive of the idea. He responded to my tweet asking for some Tibet related books.

Irrespective of whether Tibet be included in the reading list or not, I think his recommendation of 30 books on the introduction of contemporary China is a great collection which consist diverse issues and hence are worth to read, especially the students and the China observers. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Can India Provide Balanced Multipolarity in Southeast and East Asia? (AUDIO)

By Tenzin Lekshay

Maj Gen. Vinod Saighal (retd.)
On the humid evening of 21 August 2013, Major General (retd.) Vinod Saighal gave a detailed and insightful lecture on "Can India Provide Balanced Multipolarity in Southeast and East Asia?" at the Annexe Lecture Hall of India International Centre, Delhi.

As usual, the audience were mixed baggage of different professional background, which include over a dozen of foreign diplomats with few ambassadors, ranks of serving army personals, experts and some young educated Tibetans who are notably interested on that issue. As I wrote in the beginning, though Delhi weather was bit humid, the speaker makes every one attentive to this burning topic.

To layout the talk in a nutshell, he spoke about the progress of China in 3 ways i.e. 1) Implosion Model, 2) Expansion Model and 3) Dynamic Expansion Model. Later, he focussed his main talk on the basis of 4 components that are categorized into 1) China Factor, 2) ASEAN, 3) India and 4) Environmental Factor. While speaking on China, he stressed that there is a lack of governance legitimacy in China.

In his stand alone talk, he raised Tibet issue many times with concerns to environmental degradation, militarization, resource exploitation, damming, and border disputes.

The talk was jointly organized annually by Eco Monitor Society and Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre, Delhi.

For listening the full talk (94.17MB), Click here
To download the talk (94.17MB), Click here

Friday, August 16, 2013

10 Point Similarities between Indian and Tibetan Freedom Movement

By Tenzin Lekshay

Happy 67th Indian Independence Day
Yesterday, 67th Indian independence day was observed in all over India as well as in abroad. As a Tibetan, I would like to wish and congratulate this great nation for their triumph in cherishing freedom from the clutches of Great Britain. It is on this joyous moment that makes worth of all the bloods and sweats of thousands of Indian freedom fighters. I salute them for their unwavering courage, determination, and the dream of swaraj that makes them immortal in the historical chapter of Indian freedom movement. At this present moment, we, Tibetans are living in such traumatic era of foreign invasion, which resembles that of India during the British rule. Over the last six decades, thousands of Tibetans sacrificed their lives for the noble cause of attaining the sacred freedom, and continue to do so. As Subhash Chandra Bose rightly said, "Freedom is not given, it is taken". So far, while observing China's iron fist control over Tibet, it is obvious that they will not let it go easily, despite the fact that the truth is not in their favor. They continue to distort the Tibetan history and adopt policies that annihilate every bits of the existence of tibetan culture and identity.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Yu Zhengsheng on Tibet: Following the footsteps of his predecessor

Xi Jinping joins a discussion with deputies from TAR,
who attend the first session of the 12th NPC, in Beijing,
March 9, 2013. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
By Tenzin Lekshay

Over the last two years, there were lots of speculations on China's position on Tibet with the change in the Chinese leadership. As many believed that Xi Jinping, the incumbent heir of the Chinese leadership would show softness in handling the Tibet issue, because of his reformist father who had some connections with Tibet. Bao Tong, former aid of purged Chinese leader Zhao Ziyang said that “To understand what kind of leader Xi Jinping will be, one must study his father’s (policies)," and he confirmed that “No (Chinese) Communist will betray his father.”1 Some even felt that his wife's cultural background might influence him to handle Tibet in a possibly better way. But, many remained skeptical of any ground breaking changes in Tibet due to the prevalence of hard-line party policies inside Tibet. It was however, in mid July 2011, during the 60th Anniversary of so called 'peaceful liberation of Tibet' in Lhasa, Xi Jinping declared that "We should fight against separatist activities by the Dalai group, rely on cadres and people of all ethnic groups, seek long-term policies and take measures that address the root cause, and completely destroy any attempt to undermine stability in Tibet and national unity of the motherland."2 Such rhetoric statement of Xi Jinping prior to becoming the President of People's Republic of China (PRC) clearly determined that he will adhere strictly to the party line.

Monday, August 5, 2013

1989 Statement of the 10th Panchen Rinpoche (Audio)

10th Panchen Lama Choekyi Gyaltsen
By Tenzin Lekshay

Early January 1989, the 10th Panchen Lama Lobsang Trinley Lhundup Choekyi Gyaltsen visited Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, Tibet and had consecrated a memorial stupa of the past Panchen Lamas, which were earlier destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. During the ceremony, he spoke in length on the current situations inside Tibet, which were critical of Chinese government's policy on Tibet. Four days after the ceremony, Panchen Lama died mysteriously at the age of 51 on 28 January 1989.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Virtues of Tibet's Resolution on China

By Tenzin Lekshay

Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay
Over the last few decades, exiled Tibetan administration under the political leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama pursued Middle Way Policy to resolve Tibet's long pending crisis with People's Republic of China. In 2011, Sikhong Dr. Lobsang Sangay after succeeding His Holiness the Dalai Lama when latter voluntarily devolved Tibet’s political authority pledged to continue embracing Middle Way Policy. Since day one, Sikyong called for dialogue anyway and anytime. But the Chinese government did not respond positively despite having been complimented by many Chinese people. Even many world leaders urged China to resume the dialogue, which went deadlock in 2010. It is particularly interesting to know why China is indifferent yet continues to enforce hard line policies inside Tibet. As a result of such repressive policy, we have witnessed widespread demonstrations in 2008 and a wave of self-immolations that continue to burn Tibet, calling for freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Tibetans in Exile: Democracy and Activism

By Tenzin Lekshay

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Dr. Lobsang Sangay
(Courtesy:Harish Tyagi/EPA) 
Since the devolution of political leadership by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2011, Dr. Lobsang Sangay, then the newly elected Kalon Tripa was bestowed with the authority that the former inherited from Tagdra Rinpoche. However, in 2012, the Tibetan parliament decided upon changing the title of Kalon Tripa to Sikyong, which literarily means political leader. Some amongst the Tibetan critics raised skeptic questions about the legitimacy of change in title, which they fear are misleading and undemocratic.  It is therefore, important to understand the all over democratic process in exile, that emanated such transfer of power.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Assessment on Ladakh Incursion: Ignoring Tibet

By Tenzin Lekshay

Courtesy: Manjul
A month ahead of Li Keqiang, the new Chinese premier's planned visit to India, Chinese troops yet again played their game by sneaking into Indian territory. This time, unlike earlier incursions, they pitched tents in Depsang Bulge area of Ladakh. It is now confirmed that supply lines are on their way, which somehow gives a clue that they are not planning to retreat from their newest found base in India. The government of India initially downplay the recent incursion by calling it an acne. Such may be because, India wants to prepare for a grand red carpet reception for the visiting Li. But, now, with the seriousness of what is happening in Depsang Bulge, and its future implications on India's security, both the civilian and the military leaders are on their feet to discuss about the possible way out to push back the intruding Chinese troops.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Xi-Li-Administration – High Expection is Inappropiate

 By Tsewang Norbu

Presentation at the International Conference “China´s New Leadership: Challenges for Human Rights, Democracy and Freedom in East Turkestan, Tibet and Southern Mongolia” in Geneva from March 11 to 13, 2013 organized by the World Uyghur Congress and UNPO, GfbV and NED.

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping (right), shakes hands
with the newly-confirmed premier, Li Keqiang.
Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
I would like to thank the organizers of this conference in giving me the opportunity to share with you today my personal views on the prospects of change in China´s Tibet policy in the aftermath of this leadership transition.

For the second successive time in the history of Communist China a smooth transition of power has taken place from the 4th to the 5th leadership generation, called first officially core and later leadership collective.

While the guiding ideology of the first leadership generation under Mao Zedong and later the Gang of Four was the class struggle and socialist revolution, the second leadership generation with Deng Xiaoping at the top, who also played a key role in the first generation, refocused the guiding ideology to economic construction and stability.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Panel Discussion on Tibet: Current Situation and its implication on China and India

  NEW DELHi: Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay and noted China experts Shri Lalit Mansingh, former foreign secretary of India and Shri Jayadeva Ranade, former additional secretary of the Indian Government as well as Kirti Rinpoche, the head lama of Kirti monastery, Dharamshala, discussed Tibet at a seminar at the India International Centre, New Delhi on 31 January 2013.

The Seminar titled “Tibet: Current Situation And Its implications For China and India” was organized by the Gandhi Peace Foundation and was moderated by Mr Karma Choephel, former speaker and current member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.