Tibetans rejected by Bhutan

The Kingdom of Bhutan rejected the Tibetans back in 1979. Click to enlarge.

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By: Solaray Kusco

Of the four modern day countries that border with historical Tibet – India, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar – Bhutan has always been traditionally closely associated with Tibet. Both have Buddhism as their main religion, rely on the same writing script developed by Thonmi Sambhota, and the Bhutanese and Tibetans share many of the same saints, form of worship, foods, customs and even architectural styles as one another. Someone who is familiar with Tibetans would feel very at home and familiar in Bhutan.

So on paper and in theory, one would be forgiven for assuming that the Bhutanese are the Tibetans’ biggest supporters. After all, why would two brothers in Central Asia with so many commonalities, struggle to find reasons to be supportive of each other? To be anything other than supportive seems almost inconceivable.

Yet, as we dig deeper into the issues of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA; Tibetan leadership), we can see clearly why support has not been forthcoming by the Bhutanese to the Tibetans. For the last 60 years, the CTA’s selfishness and schemes, and sense of entitlement have led a close ‘relative’ to effectively reject them since the 1980s.

King Jigme Singe Wangchuck introduced many modern reforms to Bhutan. He even used his absolute power as a monarch to force democracy on his adoring people, before abdicating the throne in favor of his son King Jigme Khesar, whom he is seen here crowning. In 1974, 28 Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama’s representative to Bhutan, were arrested for conspiring to assassinate Bhutan’s respected and forward-thinking king. No wonder Bhutan eventually came to reject the Tibetans.

In 1979, the Bhutanese government issued the Tibetans in their country with an ultimatum: become Bhutanese or go back to China. This came after 28 Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama’s representative in Thimphu (Bhutan’s capital) were arrested and accused of conspiring to assassinate Bhutan’s beloved King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. It also followed after tensions had grown between the Tibetan refugees and the local Bhutanese who were understandably upset by the Tibetans’ refusal to assimilate into Bhutanese culture.

Although the government’s move seemed harsh at the time, we now know from history that this decision was fueled by some incredible foresight, because the government knew that allowing Tibetans to remain Tibetans would:

  • Allow them to engage in constant protests for the ‘Tibetan cause’ which would be disruptive to Bhutan’s peace and own drive towards modernization and improvement
  • Encourage them to remain ostracized from the Bhutanese population, and therefore suffer resentment and discrimination for being refugees
By giving Tibetans the option of becoming Bhutanese, it would instead:
  • Encourage them to be assimilated into Bhutanese society so they would have legal access and rights to all of the services and economic potential that every Bhutanese has a right to
  • Ensure that their kingdom would remain peaceful and avoid all of the disagreements and conflicts that India and Nepal had to struggle with in the succeeding years
  • Ensure that Tibetans who remained in the country would become contributing members of their society and economy, and become less reliant on hand-outs
  • Take the “Tibetan refugee” situation out of the equation in any of their dealings with China, and allow them to remain focused on developing their country holistically

Shockingly however, the CTA at the time opposed this ultimatum by the Bhutanese government who had already kindly given refuge to 4000 Tibetan refugees. CTA officials were even accused of creating difficulties for the Tibetans refugees in Bhutan, although these Bhutan-based Tibetans had already accepted that Bhutan was the country of their future. It is a move that was echoed 38 years later when, in 2017, Tibetans were given the opportunity to become Indian citizens but the CTA made moves to sabotage it. The CTA clearly have a pattern of acting against their people’s own best interests.

And in spite of the CTA’s opposition to Bhutan, 2,300 Tibetans did opt to become Bhutanese citizens while the remainder resettled in India where they continue to live under the yoke of the CTA. And since that time, Bhutan has remained silent on the issue of Tibet and scarred from their experiences in the 1970s, it looks like they will continue to do so. So just add Bhutan to the list of countries who have rejected the Tibetans, as the CTA are increasingly disfavored around the world and sadly, they fail to take into account how much the world does not need them. In befriending, supporting and donating to the Tibetan leadership, what do the world get except for the feel-good factor, and a pat on the back for having helped the less fortunate? In befriending and supporting China, nations get jobs, a more vibrant economy and a boosted tourist industry.

The green line on the map delineates historical Tibet, while the countries in grey below are those which border with them. Except for India, whose support is already waning, none of the countries which border with historical Tibet support their “Tibetan cause”. Meanwhile, instead of focusing on the welfare of their people in India, the Tibetan leaders gallivant around the world on the pretext of drumming up support. What support have they accomplished when no one in their region will stand up for them?

So what do the CTA have that anybody really wants? Not much. They are like a door-to-door salesman you made the mistake of opening your front door to; he will just keep coming back over and over again because he knows someone he can make a sale to, and squeeze money from. But while the CTA has focused on traveling the world to make this sale so they can accumulate financial support and not much else, China has been focused on Tibet’s doorstep, courting the border countries and locking down their support in order to ensure that they remain in control of the situation. As a result, aside from India, none of the other countries sharing a common border with historical Tibet have lent their support to the Tibetan cause – Myanmar remains supportive of China’s policies, as are Nepal and eventually Bhutan.

So is the CTA’s policy working? It is a firm and resolute ‘no’, and it is obvious to see when you compare the successes of the Bhutanese with that of the CTA. While Bhutan is lauded as an internationally recognized and shining example of a “people and environment first” government policy, the CTA is famous for being refugees. Since entering exile in 1959, the CTA has become a dab hand at offending, rejecting and befriending all of the wrong people. They continuously offend and protest against the Chinese leadership who controls Tibet; they befriend the West who will not do anything except give pocket change, and they reject and abuse the people who have been kind to them, like India and Bhutan.

They even reject and abuse their own people, regardless of where in the world they are – just as Bhutan accused the Tibetan leadership of making life difficult for Bhutanese-based Tibetans, the CTA have also been accused of making life difficult for marginalized groups like Dorje Shugden practitioners and the Jonangpas who have been fighting for equal representation in the Tibetan parliament. So 60 years in exile has resulted in a leadership that has failed to garner firm and decisive political support for their goals, and failed to provide a decent future for their people. If the CTA continues down this path, Bhutan will not be the last nation that rejects them until one day finally, there will be no one and nothing left but disappointments.

 

Bhutan: Tibetan Tangle

Click to read the full report. (Source: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bhutanese-government-says-political-ties-between-tibetans-and-dharamsala-unacceptable/1/427120.html)

 

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  1. I would like to share with you about this courageous Tibetan parliament MP who is speaking up against Nechung. He received a lot of backlash due to his bravery, but I hope it won’t deter him to speak up in the future. There are many people who actually agree with him

    1. Tibetan Parliament member representing Kagyu School, speak up about Nechung

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if2dFMKIr_8

    2. Tibetan shaves off his hair in protest against MP Tenpa Yarphel 2017 Sept
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M30NL4hG8oA

  2. Sikyong Lobsang Sangay creating trouble

    Growing public anger as Kashag reluctant to give clear statement on NA Rep. row
    [Thursday, November 16, 2017 21:19]
    By Tenzin Dharpo

    DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 16: Following the announcement to relieve North America CTA mission representative and former Speaker Penpa Tsering from his position on Nov. 7, there has been a general sense of dissatisfaction among sections of the community with some even suggesting protests and boycott of events where President Sangay is scheduled to attend.

    While the Kashag asserts that the issue was handled as per the binding rules and with rightful authority, the handling of the situation, many say, has rolled back on President Sangay’s campaign claims of transparency and unity. An official announcement and a press briefing by Kashag have not mentioned a clear reason for Penpa’s ousting other than vague reference to dereliction in his role there and hints at insubordination.

    Officiating President Ven. Karma Gelek Yuthok told the media last week that the Kashag need not give a clarification over the transfer or firing of any staff and that the issue is an “internal matter”.

    The growing impasse between the public and Kashag’s (cabinet) reluctance to give a clear explanation over the cause of Penpa’s ousting has escalated over the last week. A New York based individual going by the name of Mila Rangzen has called for a non-violent mass protest at the end of the month here in Dharamshala, prompting the settlement officer here to issue a public appeal, urging peace and order in the community.

    Dharamshala settlement officer Dawa Rinchen told Phayul, “While I have no knowledge of when and how many people are going to hold a protest, my prerogative is to avoid any incidents here in Dharamshala where His Holiness the Dalai Lama resides where the CTA is based and subsequently where the eyes of the international community is transfixed on. Hence I appealed the public to maintain peace here.”

    Sporadic posts and videos on social media sites such as Facebook and WeChat expressed dissatisfaction over the handling of the situation calling for a transparent approach to the matter by President Sangay led Kashag. A Tibetan nitezen Tsering Chomphel wrote on Facebook, “I personally think transparency is the first rung of so called democracy ladder. In today’s world, we cannot and should not trust any individual or group blindly. If PT is innocent this time, he needs to speak out. It’s not about PT or Kashag. It’s about peoples trust. People will surely lose trust and interest in our politics if things are not made clear this time.”

    Tsering Samdup, a Tibetan sweater seller, said that it would be inappropriate if the Kashag issues a clarification simply because some section of the community demands it. “The concerned individual here is Penpa Tsering and if he denies Kashag’s decision and seeks clarification then Kashag might be obliged to give one. Otherwise, there is no need to clarify.”

    Another nitezen opined that three advisory letter/directives were enough caution by the Kashag. Tenzin Kunkyab wrote, “He got fired after three written warning (three yellow cards) after that they pulled red card, I don’t see any wrong with that unless PT himself have some explanation.” Penpa Tsering however claimed he only received one letter prior to his termination letter and has maintained he is not at fault.

    Some people have even called for more dramatic action to boycott the ‘Solidarity with Tibet rally for peace and non-violence’ on 10th December in New York where President Sangay is scheduled to attend. Penpa Tsering, the outgoing representative urged Tibetans in North America to participate in the event with the broader sense of the Tibetan issue at mind and not divisive politics.

    Meanwhile the Tibetan President who is currently on an official visit to northern Europe indicated that the Kashag might not budge and give a clear-cut answer on the issue. He said that Penpa Tsering has accepted the Kashag’s decision to remove him from the Washington office and his cabinet’s decision to remove and appoint liaison officers abruptly, is neither unprecedented nor illegal.

    The NA office remains the most crucial position in the hierarchy of outposts of the Tibetan polity. The new man in that seat, Education minister Ngodup Tsering today said he has gotten the blessing of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his new role in Washington.

    Source: http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=39805&article=Growing+public+anger+as+Kashag+reluctant+to+give+clear+statement+on+NA+Rep.+row

    _____________________________________________________

    Citing Fatigue, Dalai Lama Appoints Personal Emissaries

    November 16, 2017 12:29 PM
    Yeshi Dorje

    WASHINGTON —

    The Dalai Lama says he has appointed emissaries to attend international engagements or speak on his behalf indefinitely.

    Citing increasing physical fatigue, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader made the comments while meeting with a group of international youth leaders brought to Dharmsala, India, by the Washington-based Institute of Peace.

    “I’m 82 years old, and since last year [my] feeling of tiredness has been much increased,” he told the group during video-recorded meetings last week.

    Because he may not be able to maintain a regular international travel schedule, he said, the president of Tibet’s current government-in-exile, Lobsang Sangay, along with prominent Buddhist scholar and former prime minister in exile, Samdong Rinpoche, would act as his official emissaries.

    These “trusted friends, they know my thinking,” he said. “Our work, continuously, should be more active [and internationally engaged], so in these two persons,” he said, pointing to Lobsang and Samdong, “I have full trust.”

    Looking to the dialogue moderator, USIP President Nancy Lindborg, the Dalai Lama said: “If your side … or your government’s side” has concerns, “then these two persons, either one, can participate as my representative or my personal emissary.”

    Penpa Tsering, representative for the Office of Tibet in Washington, which represents the Tibetan government-in-exile, downplayed the significance of the Dalai Lama’s statement.

    “I think this was more of a general statement,” he told VOA. “His holiness is sometimes too tired to travel, and his April visit to the United States has been suspended indefinitely, but he will continue to travel in India, and Europe is only a seven hour flight.”

    Adding that Lobsang’s presidential term is limited to five years, and the fact that Samdong has long served as a kind of unofficial deputy to the Dalai Lama, he said the November 6 comments do not represent a major diversion or change in Dharmsala’s official representation on the world stage.

    Symbol of Tibet

    However, Carole McGranahan, a University of Colorado anthropologist and historian of Tibet, says although prioritizing the Dalai Lama’s health requires a reduction in his international travel schedule, his physical absence from global engagements cannot be substituted via proxy.

    “So much of the goodwill and attention Tibet receives in the world is due to his holiness, and specifically due to his personal interactions with world leaders and with the large audiences he draws around the world. His deep wisdom, his humor and charisma, his serious attention to pressing world issues, and, of course, his model of compassion and leadership, make a deep impression on people,” she told VOA’s Tibetan Service via email.

    “For so much of the world, the Dalai Lama is the symbol of Tibet. Will his trusted emissaries be able to achieve the same effects? Of course not, as no one can truly stand in for the Dalai Lama,” she wrote. “They will be able to represent him, but no one can embody the message of Tibet as he does. His holiness’s stepping back from international travel will signal a new era of Tibetan diplomacy in the world.”

    Robert Barnett, director of the Modern Tibet Studies Program at Columbia University, says the decision may be a signal to Beijing.

    “Of course, there’s always the possibility that this move is intended as a post-19th Party Congress signal to Beijing of increased openness to a resumption of talks, or possibly even a response to a request from there,” he said. “It certainly should make Zhang Yijiong happier,” he added, referring to Communist Party’s Tibet working group chief, who told reporters on the sidelines of a party congress that there could be no excuses to meeting the Dalai Lama.

    “Except that it seems unlikely that warhorses of that type can ever be appeased,” Barnett said.

    In the United States, a California-based Tibetan monk named Tenzin Dhonden, who chairs the non-profit Friends of the Dalai Lama and was secretary of the Dalai Lama Trust, a charitable organization chaired by the Dalai Lama, has acted as a gatekeeper between the Dalai Lama and American philanthropists, scholars, celebrities and donors.

    Late last month, Dhonden, who falsely named himself Personal Emissary of Peace for the Dalai Lama in 2005, was suspended from the trust over corruption allegations.

    This story originated in VOA’s Tibetan Service. Pete Cobus contributed original reporting.

    Source: https://www.voanews.com/a/dalai-lama-appoints-personal-emissaries/4118315.html

    Growing public anger as Kashag reluctant to give clear statement on NA Rep

    Citing Fatigue, Dalai Lama Appoints Personal Emissaries

  3. China vs. Dharamsala in receiving President Trump

    https://youtu.be/Na3lcejmqZ4

    7b44bf47-5640-4d0a-80ad-ef457a048c58

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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.

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