CTA: A stunted democracy

As they queue to vote, these women proudly brandish their green tax receipt books which identify them as being eligible to vote in the elections. But with so few choices of candidates who are always the same year after year, and are always plucked from the establishment, are they really participating in any kind of real democratic process?

It has been a turbulent few years for the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA; Tibetan leadership), fraught which many exposes about their behavior and lack of concern for their own population. It is a view that is rapidly picking up steam amongst the Tibetan community

These are the facts:

  • There are never any new viable candidates in the elections. It is always the same names who sit in the positions of donjo (His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s representative), chithue (parliamentarian), kalon (cabinet minister) or Sikyong (Prime Minister). What is more shocking is that even though they serve the people, their appointment into many of these positions is never put to a vote nor does it ever require the approval of the populace.
  • What is more sad is that they rotate amongst themselves. When Penpa Tsering, an alleged murderer, was done being Speaker of the Parliament and lost in the Sikyong campaign to Lobsang Sangay, he was assigned to become the donjo of North America (His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s representative of North America)

Penpa Tsering (left) and Lobsang Sangay (right).Both were forced to apologize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a ‘decline in morality’ after they engaged in mud-slinging and dirty tactics during the 2016 Sikyong elections. If these are the two only viable candidates for the leader of the Tibetan people, what does it say for the community’s future?

  • How come there is such a dearth of leaders within the Tibetan community? Is it because the population is not capable of producing or nurturing more leaders? Or is it because the leadership stifles growth and does not want to allow new people to rise as leaders, because it will hamper the lucrative potential to line their own pockets as a result of holding their positions? In the case of the 2016 Sikyong race, there was a new candidate, the popular Lukar Jam Atsock. He was however, quickly dispatched by a mid-election manipulation of the rules
  • Whatever the real reason, it is sad that even when incumbents run in the competition, they have to mud-sling to win. It got so bad that even the Dalai Lama showed his displeasure by ignoring the candidates at the airport when he arrived back from his travels, and the gods chastized them in public
  • You never see people rushing to work in the CTA. With the exception of perhaps Dhardon Sharling, the Tibetan leadership is populated by the establishment who have been in politics for decades. You never hear kids saying they grow up dreaming to work in their government in the same way American kids say “when I grow up, I want to be President of the United States”

Kaydor Aukatsang

  • Is it because the CTA is essentially an old boys’ club with only aristocratic families allowed to join? Kaydor Aukatsang, for example, the former North American representative of the Dalai Lama, comes from a prominent family which has spawned many other politicians in the Tibetan leadership
  • Or perhaps it is because no one actually wants to work in the CTA. While you often see young Tibetans rushing to the West or trying to establish some sort of hip hop career for themselves, you will not see people within the Tibetan community saying they want to work for the Tibetan leadership. Again, while you will see young Tibetans joining international NGOs fighting for the so-called Tibetan cause, you will not see young Tibetans flocking to join the CTA itself. But if they were really passionate about the Tibetan community and their people, would it not be logical for them to want to work at the center of it all i.e. at Gangchen Kyishong in Dharamsala where the Parliament and government is based? Why join an outside group to work for Tibet when the CTA should be the one applying sufficient pressure on foreign governments to support them?
  • Maybe subconsciously Tibetan youth realize there is not much there in Dharamsala for them so why waste their time?

In which case, if even the youth of Tibet do not clamor to work for the CTA, it does not say much for the future of Tibetan democracy. If no one says they want to be a leader, and the establishment does not encourage leadership qualities, what will happen when the Tibetans no longer have His Holiness the Dalai Lama to rely on? When Lobsang Sangay completes his term, what lies in store for the Tibetan people? Will Lobsang Sangay be the leader in perpetuity, or will a new face be allowed to rise? Or will the Tibetans have Penpa Tsering to fall back on?

The fact choices and options for leaders are so limited within the Tibetan community is the antithesis of what it means to be a democracy. But is it any surprise when everyone knows that the CTA has never really been a democracy? What we now know for sure is that it will never be a democracy and whatever they say about being one is a pipe dream they have and will never come to realize. Scariest still is the uncertain future that lies ahead for the community which at the end of the day, is being left to the whims and fancies of a leadership who never has (and never will) care about them.

Please support this website by making a donation.
Your contribution goes towards supporting
our work to spread Dorje Shugden across the world.

Related Topics: , , , , , , ,

Share this article
102 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is expressing his wish to visit China again. This is not the first time His Holiness mentioned about visiting or returning to China. In fact, His Holiness made a strong statement in November 2017 that he “would return to Tibet at once, if China agrees”. Could this be another sign from the Tibetan leadership that rapprochement with China is happening soon?

    Dalai Lama Waiting For A Pilgrimage Visit to China One Day
    By TJ editor
    January 23, 2018
    The Buddhist spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the course of teaching at Bodh Gaya today told that he is praying for a pilgrimage visit China’s Mount Wutai one day. His Holiness concluded the Diamond Cutter Sutra teachings specially dedicated to the Chinese disciples presently attending in Bodh Gaya on Tuesday.
    While explaining about the significance of the holy place in China, Wu Tai Shan, the five peaked mountain, His Holiness told that he is praying to have an opportunity to visit the holy place to receive the blessings of Manjushri.
    “China has a special connection with Manjushri, and Wu Tai Shan—the Five Peaked Mountain is the sacred place associated with him. If you Chinese can do the practices of these two, Manjushri and Sarasvati, it will be of special benefit to you. Meanwhile, I pray that one day I may visit Wu Tai Shan to receive Manjushri’s blessings—and you can pray for that too. To make your having come to Bodhgaya worthwhile, try to develop an understanding of emptiness and cultivate a good heart.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama explained at the third and last day of teachings for the Chinese disciples in Bodh Gaya today.
    The Tibetan spiritual leader fled from Tibet in 1959, following the military coup by the People’s Liberation Army of China and sought refuge in India since then. Over the last six decades, the Tibetan exile community thrived to rebuild a national struggle and His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been very optimistic that he will be able to return to Tibet within his life time.
    Since His Holiness’s arrival to Bodh Gaya since the beginning of this month, he has conducted three series of teachings to thousands of devotees gathered at the holy place. While the first teaching was organised at the request of his Indian devotees, the third teaching was specially dedicated to the disciples from the Mainland China.
    The Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama is expected to stay in Bodh Gaya till the beginning of February, there will be public talk Education for Universal Ethics in Schools and Colleges to students from private and government schools at the Kalachakra ground on Thursday.


  2. Comic drawn by Tendor, a prominent Free Tibet activist.


Submit your comment

Please enter your name

Please enter a valid email address

Please enter your message

Show More
Show More

(Allowed file types: jpg, jpeg, gif, png, maximum file size: 2MB each)

You can now upload MP4 videos to the comments section. "Choose File" -> click "Upload" then wait while your video is processed. Then copy the link and paste it into the message box. Your video will appear after you submit your comment.
Maximum size is 64MB

Contemplate This

.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

Dorje Shugden and Dalai Lama – Spreading Dharma Together | Terms of Use | Disclaimer

© DorjeShugden.com 2018 | All Rights Reserved
Total views:3,634,011