The Dalai Lama accepts money from China

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By: Solaray Kusco

This article, published in the Hindustan Times, is the latest in a long list of publications highlighting the Tibetan leadership’s financial inefficiency, irregularities and hypocrisies.

For the last 20 years, in a misguided attempt to discredit Dorje Shugden practitioners, supporters of the Tibetan leadership have led a feverish charge to falsely accuse Shugden devotees of being anti-Tibetan, pro-China traitors. Among the many unproven charges levelled against Shugden practitioners has been the accusation that they are receiving money from the Chinese leadership, to maintain their practice and create a split within the Tibetan community. This accusation is in spite of the fact it was the Tibetan leadership themselves who banned Dorje Shugden, thereby creating the split.

This “China pays you” accusation has persisted despite no evidence having ever been produced to support such claims. Even those who do not rely on Dorje Shugden themselves, such as Justin Whitaker (Buddhist author and speaker) have rubbished these claims, stating that the oft-cited Reuters investigation similarly provided no such proof.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been accused of receiving money from the Chinese Communist Party

The Hindustan Times recently revealed however, that Dorje Shugden practitioners are not the only individuals or groups who have allegedly received money from the Chinese leadership. In this latest revelation, it has been asserted that none other than His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself receives funding from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

What this allegation really brings into question is the Tibetan leadership’s source of income which has never been revealed. What percentage of Dharamsala’s income is derived from government-run businesses? What proportion stems from donations from Tibetan non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and from private donors throughout the world? And what is this funding being spent on? Some of these questions were asked by Maura Moynihan, daughter of Senator Patrick Moynihan. Both father and daughter have been lifelong stanch supporters of the Tibetan movement. Yet Ms Moynihan penned an article in the Washington Times implying that the Tibetan leadership and its associated organisations are at best inefficient, and at worse guilty of financial mismanagement.

Ms Moynihan stated that Tibetan NGOs, in particular the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), have raised millions of dollars in donations and aid over the last 60 years. Yet these donations have resulted in very little, both politically and physically. The Chinese continue to reject dialogue with the Tibetan leadership, Western countries refuse to take a stand for the Tibetan cause, and the Tibetans living in exile continue to endure terrible living conditions. In short, the Tibetan leadership operates some of the most intensive fundraising campaigns in the world, but has very little to show for it.

Ms Moynihan’s article is not the first time the Tibetan leadership has been accused of financial mismanagement. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher previously directed the same accusation against the Tibetan leadership, stating that Dharamsala receives millions in funding from the American government and yet, they have very little to show for it. He alleges that the Tibetan leadership are guilty of financial mismanagement to some degree, and even alleges that the Tibetan leadership had a role to play in the firing of Ngapo Jigme, the head of the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (RFA). RFA is an American government-funded radio program broadcasting in areas of the world where unbiased journalism is suppressed and freedom of speech is next to non-existent. It has been alleged that when Mr Ngapo Jigme refused to use his RFA platform to propagate the Tibetan leadership’s policies, they influenced the RFA to dismiss him.

This behavior of removing opponents who refuse to follow the leadership’s diktats is a pattern and habit when it comes to the Tibetan leadership who bear no accountability to anyone. To claim that the Tibetan leadership is held accountable could not be further from the truth. Whatever bodies, organisations, institutions or regulations established to maintain accountability are farcical in nature, a smokescreen designed to provide a veneer of democracy and transparency when in fact, there is none. And there is plenty of proof that the Tibetan leadership is not accountable to anyone. For example, during the recent 2016 Sikyong election debacle, the supposedly impartial Election Commission was harangued into changing the rules mid-election. This was done to disqualify the candidate Lukar Jam Atsock after he had been socially blacklisted as “anti-Dalai Lama”. That the rules of an election can be changed mid-way through the voting process is unheard of in any modern-day democracy.

Being a democracy however, the leadership should at least attempt to appear accountable to their people who elected them into positions of power. So based on this, we call on the Tibetan leadership to reveal their accounts. In the interests of full transparency, and to prove to their people that they have nothing to hide, all government employees (those who receive any form of remuneration from the leadership) should be compelled to declare their wealth and sources of income. Similarly, the government themselves should open their accounts and budgets for their people to examine.

What is there to hide if they have been using money as it has been donated?

Rather disappointingly, though unsurprisingly, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not the first religious leader within the Tibetan community to face questions over his sources of income. In more recent times, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Orgyen Trinley was taken to court for failure to declare income. When the police raided his residence in Gyuto Monastery, they found US$1mil stashed away in 26 different currencies. He was subsequently charged with money laundering, illegal possession of foreign currency, forgery and conspiracy. It is worth noting that Orgyen Trinley is Dharamsala’s approved choice of Karmapa (Dharamsala being the Indian town where the Tibetan leadership is headquartered).

The 41st Sakya Trizin later implemented changes to the Sakya Trizin system of hereditary inheritance, amidst accusations that he had been taking advantage of and benefiting from being in power. Meanwhile, another one of the Dalai Lama’s associates was also embroiled in financial scandal. Lodi Gyari Rinpoche, who has a history of questionable financial dealings, found himself and his son-in-law, Phakchok Rinpoche in the middle of an investigation. From Phakchok Rinpoche’s various bank accounts, Nepali authorities seized approximately US$1.4mil. This followed the authorities’ previous seizure of US$375,000, an act which alerted them to the even larger sums of money he had been receiving. In this case, the US$375,000 had been sent from the USA to his bank accounts, on the pretext of raising funds for victims of the 2015 Nepali earthquake.

And this just refers to religious leaders in the Tibetan community, where nepotism is rife and pretty much accepted as fact by the populace. Amongst the Tibetan political leadership, the 9th Session of the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile saw the former Speaker of Parliament Penpa Tsering accused of murder whilst two of his colleagues faced accusations of embezzlement and corruption. Penpa Tsering has also been accused of orchestrating a visas-for-money ring, abusing his position to obtain visas from the American embassy in Delhi in return for financial compensation. Meanwhile, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay’s sudden windfall and ability to pay off a US$227,000 mortgage shortly before his first election win is still considered to be highly suspicious.

Thus the financial dealings of the Tibetan elite continue to hover like a cloud over their community, casting a dark shadow of suspicion over every decision they make. This suspicion arises from the fact the Tibetan leadership are not, and have never been answerable to their people. And so in light of this revelation of the Dalai Lama receiving money from China, the Tibetan leadership need to take clear and definitive steps to allay their people’s fears. For a government that has conducted most of its dealings in the dark, the most effective way of doing so would be for the Tibetan leadership to finally come clean and be fully open with their accounts.

In the past, those who received money from China were vehemently accused of being anti-Tibetan, pro-Chinese and traitors to the Tibetan people. This accusation is especially ludicrous now it has been revealed that the Dalai Lama himself, the very top of the Tibetan leadership, has accepted money from CCP leaders. One wonders if the Tibetan people will now question His Holiness, and if the label of ‘anti-Tibetan traitor’ applies to him too. Yes, the very notion is a ridiculous one and hopefully more people will now understand how ridiculous it is to accuse someone of being a traitor for supposedly having Chinese links, when the Dalai Lama himself has these links too.

So instead of always keeping their people in the dark, instead of treating them with kid gloves, instead of babying them and assuming that they would not be able to ‘handle’ or comprehend these issues, the Tibetan leadership should for once put their trust in their people. Trust that their people will be able to handle bad news, make difficult decisions and accept that no matter how holy someone may appear to be, the men and women in their government are just humans and will sometimes make mistakes. Financial scandals are a mistake and the Dorje Shugden ban is a mistake, like so many other poor decisions the leadership has made. Enough covering up and pretending like everything is perfect and things can go on in this way for another 60 years. It is time that the Tibetan leadership takes into account the fears, worries, frustrations and concerns of their people, and tries to provide some relief. It would only be fair for Dharamsala to trust their people, as their people have put their trust in them for the last 60 years.

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24 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. “Lies, damn lies and statistics.”

    What this article just described at length while trying to push a view is unfortunately without strong backing evidence, for its assertions. However it does show what the nexus of money, politics and religion can produce. The history of religion is littered with examples.

    Most recently, the Christian conservatives in the USA somehow managed to back and help elect a President who made his living from feeding people’s gambling habits. He was also a bigamist!

    What I am trying to say is that there is no black or white, there is just muck in samsara. And even statistics lie.

  2. There is some justice here for the Dorje Shugden, most Gelug organisations still holding on strongly to Dorje Shugden practices most have to raise their own funds and work to be standing firmly on their own two feet.

    Yet occasionally some international agencies who are misled and armchair politicians will publish a piece on Dorje Shugden people receiving funds from the Chinese. So I don’t think we can label Dalai Lama a Chinese spy right?

  3. “Financial scandals are a mistake and the Dorje Shugden ban is a mistake, like so many other poor decisions the leadership has made.”

    The above statement is what impacted me the most in reading this article. Corrupt Governments will never find the balance to be of service to the citizens. In order to hide their inefficiency the Leaders like those of CTA will put the blame of their poor results on issues that will provoke emotions and irrational thinking. As of now the Ban on Dorje Shugden is definitely creating enough chaos and disharmony for the Tibetans not to rationally question CTA and demand accountability.

    Has the Dalai Lama been receiving money from China? Good question which will never be answered. So blame other Dorje Shugden lamas for this same act.

    No more “Shadow Play” CTA.

  4. This article really nail the Tibetan leadership on the spot. Since Tibetan leadership is surviving with sponsorship it’s important to show transparency not only to the sponsors but also to their own people.

    I have seen that Tibetan leadership ask for monetary support during the draught but at the same time why use the fund to produce book and video to discriminate Dorje Shugden practitioners? What is the logic behind this action? Why not unite their people and support their own people to self-sustain instead of creating segregation to their own people’s spiritual belief?

    The world is watching now and this will not help Tibetan in long run and if the Tibetan Leadership still do not show any positive result not only in managing their funding but also stopping unnecessary discrimination towards their own people, they may face even greater lost in the end.

  5. To put to rest this allegations, the Tibetan leaderships should declare their income and assets as do other countries’ politicians and government office bearers. Whatever donations and sponsorships to the CTA should be used for the welfare of Tibetans, including for spiritual and religious benefits to the people. It’s coming around in full circle for the CTA, and now they are on the receiving end after accusing others of receiving money (without proof) from China. Let’s see what CTA have to say or as usual, remain mute hoping this will be forgotten in time.

  6. Well, this is exciting. I would wonder how the CTA settle their people thoughts over their own head leader accepting money from neighboring country cum enemy. To remain with their idiotic ego or let go, apologize and make peace?
    Apology is the hardest word to said when lots of misunderstanding been dragged for many years. This should be end. That’s a quote say,” A cow will never get it drink without bending it head.”

  7. I totally understand how it feels like to be accused of something so serious. Just like what was written in this article http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/features/did-reuters-get-it-wrong/. No solid evidence yet the accusations are always made to defame Dorje Shugden practitioners. So now, it is being aimed at CTA. I wonder how does it feel like to have this written and shown to the world, back at them. Karma returning?

    Whether or not CTA receive fundings from China officials, its up to them but the question is…. what do they spend it on? The betterment of Tibetans in exile or personal gains? The Sikyong also have ‘sponsor’ to pay for his mortgage? Wow! Covering up, more lies, poor decision making, scandals, etc will all be revealed in time. People are not ‘stupid’ to see and understand what is really going on. To think that you are smart, there will always be others who are smarter than you.

  8. The Dalai Lama spent his whole life trying to separate Tibet from the mainland of China, regardless of how much privilege and freedom the government offered the people of Tibet. His conflict with China government caused property loss, deaths of innocent people and panic among the general public.

    ‘Money, money, money: where is morality, where is religion freedoms?’

    My point : Instead of receiving money, and why don’t the Dalai Lama release the ban of Dorje Shugden practice?

  9. Another elucidating article on dorjeshugden.com! How come that a so-called democratic government does not show openly where they spend the money they receive from many generous donors towards the Tibetan people.

    It is clear that many people have helped the Tibetan Government over the past 60 years but what have they done with the money to benefit their Tibetan people?

    A lot of money has been spent in undemocratic activities such as splitting the Tibetan people based on their religious choice, pressure families, friends, monastics to stay away from their friends and family members because they are Dorje Shugden practitioners.

    Is this appropriate for a government? Sure not and this is why there are people who investigate such us Ms Moynihan and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
    How come the “democratic” CTA focusses on things such as firing of Ngapo Jigme, the head of the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia (RFA) who asks too many questions for the CTA. And the supposedly impartial Election Commission, rules were changed mid-election, to disqualify the candidate Lukar Jam Atsock… yes democratic! What a shame CTA!

    Now, what will the CTA do against HH the Dalai Lama… who apparently receives money from China!

  10. In this world there will always be people being accused and being bad mouthed. In this case, Dalai LAMA is not excepted from this. As there are no proofs to this, I can’t really conclude what is this all about but probably just an accusations because why would China want to give money to Dalai LAMA? I hope however is something that the Dalai Lama will understand how it feels to be being framed or wrongly accused as this is how Dorje Shugden practitioners feel since 1996. Somehow I do hope the ban on Dorje Shugden be lifted once and for all after this.

  11. I had heard many times that how Tibetans / CTA accusing people who receive money from China and they are being called traitor to Dalai Lama, so now if Dalai Lama is receiving money from China, what is it called then? Dalai Lama betraying himself? This is just so inappropriate..

    Whether anyone received money from anyone, it is not the matter of who the money they received from, but it is how they use the money to benefit others, get funding from China is still far more better than some party who get funding all the time but the money is only for their own use and not for the benefit of others. Really hope CTA can wake up soonest and realize their harmful act that is damaging their own people and not anyone else.

  12. It’s heart breaking to know that the government of one country is not doing their best to develop the country and provide better living quality for their citizens. It’s not an easy task to do so, therefore, as part of the government, they should get better pay and more benefits from serving the country. However, visible physical results of the growth of the country should be showed obviously. Otherwise, the government has failed to manage the country.

  13. I am not surprise if Tibetan leadership received fund to help development Tibet and help the exile Tibetan has better living condition to settle down with good shelter. But the sad news is CTA always using those fund to power up their political side but not helping their own tibetan people.The worse is divined their own people believe, no human and religion practice freedom. This cruelty act has to stop. Dorje Shugden ban have to end. People cannot tolerent anymore if their continue get hurt and suffering.

  14. Thank you for the article. As Dorje Shugden practitioners, we are often being accused of receiving money from the Chinese government or being considered as Chinese spies just because we practice a religion that is not in accordance with the Dalai Lama’s advice not because the accusers have adequate evidence.

    Now that it is revealed that the Dalai Lama accepts money from China, but nobody was accusing the Dalai Lama of being a Chinese spy or agent. However, if we apply the same logic that if one is assumed to receive money from China, one is a Chinese agent. Then, should the CTA claimed that the Dalai Lama is also a Chinese agent/ spy too?

    I do not wish to defame the Dalai Lama in anyway shape or form. But I do wish that the Dalai Lama’s followers and the CTA stop making a baseless accusation against Dorje Shugden practitioners.

  15. Interesting article but sad to read. I always hope this kind of corruption issue is happening every where in the world but monasteries. Sangha cannot be trusted neither when comes to money. The funds collected are suppose to help the people, rebuild the community and country, but end up millions of USD being kept personal reasons. Now, who is actually receiving money from who and put up the drama to lie the people and then happily put donors kept in their own pockets and get over everything.

    I believe this is nothing new to Tibetan exile government. A country with such a poor management, corruption is like a tradition or culture for those who are in the pool. Those do not want to participate will have to be out just like during the recent 2016 Sikyong election debacle, the supposedly impartial Election Commission was harangued into changing the rules mid-election done to disqualify the candidate Lukar Jam Atsock.

    The conclusion is stop believing these people because they are really corrupted. Dorje Shugden ban is something they made up and to be used to distract and confused people’s mind away from all the bad the CTA have done. Stop burning yourself for your country because this will be used as the reason to ask for more funds by CTA. Being the poor baby shouting for help. In another words, you are helping them to generate more income so that they can have bigger and more houses and cars.

    We all know that this is happening in every where in the world, but it doesn’t mean that we should do nothing and continue to let it happen. Tibetan should wake up and look at your own Tibetan leaders. The CTA is created severe karma by using the Dorje Shugden ban which is the Buddha Dharma to lie and create so much of sufferings for their own benefits. So siinful.

  16. Whether the Dalai Lama receive money from China or not, only he knows it. But by looking at the relationship between Dalai Lama and China, I don’t think China would give him any amount of money. Even if the Dalai Lama and CTA really received money from China, where do the money go? Yet, they still need to ask for financial aid from the west? And why nobody calling Dalai Lama the spy from China? I think CTA start to feel shaky now, as everybody start asking where do the money go. I think the only way to clear all these questions and doubts, is Dalai Lama goes back to China since he said he wants to be part of China, lift Dorje Shugden ban, all the Tibetan in Dharamsala go back to China, dismiss CTA, case close, world peace.

  17. What will CTA say now that Dalai Lama is also receiving money from China? What actions will CTA take for this matter? Are they going to say that His Holiness is pro-China too? Will CTA say that His Holiness is a traitor too? I am really curious of the next action that they will take. CTA better think twice before their next move because they are already weak.

  18. Oh, what a relief! Now that Dalai Lama receives funding from China, “too”, the names calling and baseless accusation of Dorje Shugden practitioners having received funding from China will no longer be a valid contention. It’s like the pot calling the kettle black.

    Unless, of course, CTA and Dalai Lama do not view themselves as the pot, nor the kettle. Which means, they are imposing the “I can it but you cannot” rule. Technically, it is called tyranny.

    Well, tyranny is not new in human history. The only thing new is, Dalai Lama happens to be the King of Buddhism, “too”. Does it mean that Buddhism and Buddha Dharma is dead in the hands of Dalai Lama?

  19. Over the last 60 years, Tibetan government in exile and the peoples are surviving on largely fund from international sponsors especially from the west. However is very upset to hear the mismanagement of fund which the funds is misused to satisfy CTA selfish agenda. And to cover all their failure and the misuse of fund, CTA accused that Dorje Shugden practitioners take money from the China government. Obviously this is just an excuse in order to shift the focus of Tibetan peoples that the failure of Tibetan cause in not Tibetan Leadership but caused Dorje Shugden practitioners. Can you see that the Nechung Oracle is also upset with the Tibetan leadership. See here http://tinyurl.com/gqhg3no

  20. This is hilarious! After all these years of damning accusations against the Shugden practitioners of receiving funding from China, now this revelation that the Dalai Lama also receives funding from China. This should be able to shut down CTA’s propaganda against Shugdenpas as the enemies of Free Tibet movement when their Head of State, the Dalai Lama is “colluding” with China too. I think that all the sponsors of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans in Exile should demand proper accounts of receipt and expenditure for the sponsored funds of USD millions if not billions over the 60 years span as nothing of value seemed to have been accomplished. Certainly not for the majority of the “refugees” who still strive hard for living under the governance of CTA. So what have they spent the monies on? What we see are the CTA, their cronies and families living in luxury as well as expensive PR and materials wasted on propaganda against China and illogically against the practice of enlightened protector Dorje Shugden. Imagine 60 years of easy living on sponsored monies and not an iota of accountability nor progress in meeting for dialogue on the matter of the exiles returning home. Are the sponsors so gullible or is CTA that good at playing the victim?

  21. Dare I say, that asking the CTA to be honest, open and transparent is like asking a leopard to change its spots? Do you think they would kill the goose that laid the golden egg? CTA and their cronies will try to create more smokescreen to cover this smokescreen.

    After all, they are running out of time before the Tibetan community has to consider moving out of those land that they have occupying. Their lease is almost up. As the article said, it’s been 60 years. The rot could have gotten really deep in those years. 2 generations have grown up in those intervening years.

    The sponsors obviously have their own agenda, so they have not been asking for accountability from the government in exile. So, where do the poor Tibetans go from here? More, “anyone not following the Dalai Lama’s dictate is a traitor”?

    You can call for transparency for all you want, it will not happen.

  22. Perhaps CTA doesn’t really want Free Tibet cause to succeed. Imagine if this cause is successful, donations will stop coming, CTA cannot victimise themselves to get more money. They have to put in a lot of effort to rebuild their country, to develop the economy of the country, to fulfil the promises they have been giving to their people. Looking at how developed Tibet is now, CTA won’t be able to provide the same quality of life to Tibetan if they ever become the ruler of the country. Just look the the current situation now, what have CTA done for the Tibetans in overseas? And how many Tibetans in Tibet really want CTA to become their leaders?

    CTA continues to use Dorje Shugden as the scapegoat to the failure of CTA delivering what they have promised the Tibetans since 60 years ago. The real reason is they do not want Tibet to be freed, they want to continue receiving financial aids from the West so they can have easy life and yet not accountable at all for the failure.

  23. I think everyone must know about this clear video showing His Holiness the Dalai Lama asking the monasteries to expel monks that practice Dorje Shugden. Click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTgYWidYw3U

  24. Nechung is ZUMA 👎 before I m think he is one of d best when I m watch dis video By Geshe Dorjee la but now I m think is not d truth n he is lie to Tibet people we r not back to Tibet yt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIDZLzXIgW8 Chithue Tenpa Yarphel la tq for talk about truth of Nechung . I m watch to this video many time la https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if2dFMKIr_8 n after I hear you talk I m not belief to Nechung

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.…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.

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