Tibetans rejected by Bhutan

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

The opinion piece below was sent to dorjeshugden.com for publication. We accept submissions from the public, please send in your articles to ds@dorjeshugden.com.

 


 

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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13 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. The CTA acts all innocent but they are well known for allegedly ‘getting rid’ of rivals permanently in the Tibetan world. Trying to assassinate the Bhutanese king as in this Indiatoday is not surprising but disgusting. Not only have Dalai Lama’s brother and CTA tried to assassinate the Bhutanese King, but they tried to assassinate the 16th Karmapa for not obeying the then CTA’s directives. When you work for or are associated with CTA, there is nothing but deceit and disappointment. The Dalai Lama’s brother is well known for his violence, power hungry and greed based actions within the Tibetan communities. People speak in hushed tones not daring to offend the Dalai Lama. But in truth, the Dalai Lama should do something about this.

    It is not surprising CTA rejected Bhutan’s extremely kind offer of citizenship to the Tibetan refugees because this is what CTA is doing now in India. Not allowing their Tibetans to obtain Bhutanese or Indian citizenship is a way of keeping the refugee status quo to parade the ‘poor Tibetan refugees’ for more money. If you take citizenship, you are not a refugee anymore and not qualified for aid. Simple equation. Why wouldn’t CTA want their people to have a good life and be safe as a citizen of any country? After all, if Tibet is free, all of the Tibetans can just go back to Tibet and take on Tibetan citizenship. Why are all the Tibetans in America, Europe and Canada becoming citizens of these countries? Because the policies of those countries require it so CTA has to remain quiet. Remember, the CTA has received US$ billions in aid from the US alone. CTA’s greedy pockets are lined well with money. The CTA is not out to help their people. For sure.

  2. Yes I agree. The CTA and President Sangay has lost sight of its goal a long time ago.

    Bhutan has been dragged into the current border dispute between China and India-Sangay, over Doklam.

    Bhutan has been dragged into it because Bhutan too has claim over the land currently occupied. However, it is not willing to be held hostage by India. So the divide between the CTA and Bhutan will only widen.

    Read more here:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/world/asia/squeezed-by-an-india-china-standoff-bhutan-holds-its-breath.html?mcubz=0

  3. If you read this article posted by Solomon Lang: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/world/asia/squeezed-by-an-india-china-standoff-bhutan-holds-its-breath.html?mcubz=0

    The article says clearly that Bhutan wants to have diplomatic ties with China. That last year in Bhutan, the most amount of tourists to visit was from China. Bhutan is not wanting the ‘close’ smothering relationship it has with India. India is forcing it’s troops to Bhutan to counter China. Bhutan is not happy with this. Bhutan wants more relations with China and not so much India anymore.

  4. The way the CTA operates seem to focus on cutting off any potential good life the Tibetan in exile may get to enjoy. By making it difficult to get citizenship of India and historically of Bhutan. While officially, it may seem that Dharamsala wants to strategically keep the numbers of Tibetans in exile as a factor when negotiating with Beijing.

    Unfortunately, no effort was made by the CTA to get into a talk with Beijing since the last 50 years. It became clear that the statelessness of Tibetan in exile serves as a tool for CTA to get donation from the West who is ascustomed to pulling out their cheque book at the first sight of poverty.

    Is it right for CTA to do so?

    Well, it is not wrong for CTA to garner financial support using the unflavorable plight of her own people. But it is WRONG, when this sorry plight is orchestrated and engineered by CTA themselves, in the expenses of the welfare and future of her own people; by manipulating Tibetans in exile’s emotional attachment to Dalai Lama and the glory Tibet.

  5. You can’t be a country in exile known for its refugees, there is no benefit whatsoever.

    Reading this article, its clarified for me one thing, China’s strategy to engage with its
    neighbours was absolutely spot on. You can say what you want about China but they have results in what they engage in.

    That should have been CTA’s strategy, to get China to the negotiation table but alas its too late now. Yet another door closes for the CTA and Tibetans.

  6. My goodness! Such audacity! Going into someone else’s country, who out of compassion gave refuge, and plotting murder of the much loved King of the people!!! Losing their own country and then tried to grab another to rule? Well, they chose a wrong target. Even though Bhutan may share the same religious beliefs and foundation, Bhutan was built on the solid foundation of their great ruling King Jigme Singe Wangchuck who was progressive and has the people at heart. Bhutan is well known for their peaceful society, harmony amongst all sects of religion and strong individual rights. The King had kept the country economically stable with conservation leading the priority to uphold the pristine beauty of the country. His son, the current King Jigme Khesar is just as beloved as the former King, as he carries on the great legacy as the People’s King. I applaud Bhutan for the steps taken to keep their country safe and harmonious with the policies forcing the refugees to integrate into society properly. It is also for the good of the refugees that they have a place to call home after the sufferings and uncertainty that they had lived with since leaving Tibet. This way they can set their vision or goal for the future without fear of having to move on to start anew. Such kindness accorded to the refugees by the King and Bhutanese.

    As said, Tibet and Bhutan share very similar background in being Buddhist based but from there, huge differences are glaring between these two countries. Oh wait! CTA does not have a country and are living off India’s kindness.

    1. CTA’s feudal rule impose much hardship to their people while Bhutan ruled with fairness and there are hardly any tax if any with most facilities free of charge.
    2. Where CTA are sectarian. especially with the segregation of Gelugpa practitioners into pro or anti-Shugden with the imposition of the ban on Dorje Shugden practice, the Bhutanese enjoys harmony of religious freedom.
    3. Where CTA used the massive sponsorship funds on their self serving activities with their people living in poverty, the Bhutanese enjoys good living standard and their country’s GDP is measurement of the happiness of the citizens.
    4. Where CTA lived as professional “beggar” for sponsorships, Bhutan is self-sustaining with tourism and natural resources.
    5. Where CTA and the Dalai Lama are no longer welcomed in many countries due to the created animosity between CTA and China which will affect theses countries alliance with China for political and trade agreements, Bhutan King and government are welcome everywhere. I remember listening to a speech given during the world conservation conference by King Jigme Khesar, His Highness gave such an enthralling speech that capture the audiences’ attention throughout the speech and receive such tremendous applause. I don’t remember CTA making any memorable speech that moved the audience but instead creates schism, discomfort and wrong thoughts/views.

    CTA will do well to emulate the Bhutanese King and his government before more countries show the tiring of their refugee statue and rejects them. Create the harmony by accepting people’s choice and lift the illogical ban on authentic practice of Protector Dorje Shugden.

  7. It seems that each time we read a new article about Tibet, there are bad news again. Bhutan’s kindness was repaid in a terrible way. When do the Tibetans finally want to go back to Tibet and live their life!

    The world has already enough problems! it is time for the Tibetans to solve their problems and go back to Tibet, in China.

  8. It is rather surprising that Bhutan would take such a harsh decision of rejecting Tibetans entry into this fairy tale kingdom. However reading this article, I totally understand the decision of Bhutan. It is out of compassion that Bhutan wants the Tibetan refugees in her country to enjoy the same privileges as a Bhutanese. And why not as Bhutan is such a citizen friendly country whose GDP is based on the happiness of her citizens.

    Being so near to Tibet and having Buddhism as her religion, it is easy to imagine all the commonalities between these two countries and their people.

    But there is one stark difference, the King of Bhutan cares for and looks after his people while the CTA of the Tibetans enslave their people to be used as a pawn for their taking monies from other countries and private donors.

    There is so much injustice dispensed by CTA. Creating poverty, frustration and desperation among the Tibetans.

    In order to distract from their inept or purposeful agenda, CTA creates disharmony, division and hate with the Dorje Shugden issue.

    Using Tibetans and the Ban on Dorje Shugden are evil agendas and must be stopped, otherwise CTA will become irrelevant which seem like the direction it is going.

  9. Bhutanese and Tibetans share the same Buddhism, language and many aspects of culture-they share many of the same saints, form of worship, foods, customs and even the same architectural styles . There should have been no problem for Tibetan refugees to assimilate into the Bhutanese culture. However,in 1979, the Bhutanese government had to issue an ultimatum to the Tibetans in Bhutan to either become Bhutanese or go back to China!.

    This ultimatum had come about after a group of Tibetans were accused of entering into a conspiracy to assassinate Bhutan’s beloved King(such audacity!). Moreover, this also followed growing tensions in Bhutan over the fact that Tibetans in Bhutan were not making an effort to assimilate into Bhutanese culture. .

    The move for Tibetans to assimilate into Bhutan’s culture was for the best, to promote harmony and peace and stability in Bhutan.CTA was characteristically against the move by Bhutan. Nonetheless,despite their disapproval,2500 Tibetans did wisely opt to become Bhutanese citizens, while the remainder chose to resettle in India where they continued to be under the thumb of the Tibetan leadership.

    Now, in hindsight, the Bhutanese government had made a wise move. It is now unencumbered in any of its dealings with China, including its efforts to get China’s aid and support. It’s also a win-win situation for the Tibetans who had opted to become Bhutanese citizens.

    If only more Tibetans in India were as wise and opt for Indian citizenship. After 60 years, they would have assimilated themselves into Indian culture – language, food and the like.

  10. Bhutanese and Tibetans share the same Buddhism, language and many aspects of culture-they share many of the same saints, form of worship, foods, customs and even the same architectural styles . There should have been no problem for Tibetan refugees to assimilate into the Bhutanese culture. However,in 1979, the Bhutanese government had to issue an ultimatum to the Tibetans in Bhutan to either become Bhutanese or go back to China!.

    This ultimatum had come about after a group of Tibetans were accused of entering into a conspiracy to assassinate Bhutan’s beloved King(what an audacity!). Moreover, this also followed growing tensions in Bhutan over the fact that Tibetans in Bhutan were not making an effort to assimilate into Bhutanese culture. .

    The move for Tibetans to assimilate into Bhutan’s culture was for the best, to promote harmony and peace and stability in Bhutan.CTA was characteristically against the move by Bhutan. Nonetheless,despite their disapproval,2500 Tibetans did wisely opt to become Bhutanese citizens, while the remainder chose to resettle in India where they continued to be under the thumb of the Tibetan leadership.

    Now, in hindsight, the Bhutanese government had made a wise move. It is now unencumbered in any of its dealings with China, including its efforts to get China’s aid and support. It’s also a win-win situation for the Tibetans who had opted to become Bhutanese citizens.

    If only more Tibetans in India were as wise and opt for Indian citizenship. After 60 years, they would have assimilated themselves into Indian culture – language, food and the like.

  11. The incident happened in 1979 made Bhutanese government understand that they have to stand firm to provide a peace, security and good environment to the people. Otherwise, the disruptive influence may bring harm and ultimately will cause the local people suffer. They understand that to cause the people in suffering is definitely not followed the Buddha’s teachings.

    Bhutanese government’s decision to give the ultimatum to the Tibetans in the country might be the great resolution for now, to let the Tibetans to make up their mind to stay or go.

  12. We love Tibet and we want her free. But the Tibetan government in exile is segregating our people due to religion. Here in Germany today September 13, 2017 Tibetans are protesting against the Dalai Lama. Quite a few videos here: https://www.facebook.com/tenzin.trinlay?hc_ref=ARRLpe1G-46M9gSiGXdCoIyHzB8JjFqDTGTXZEWgWTT3BReqrYp_7clmDoXxv4PzhC0&fref=nf

    free

  13. Here is a clear video of 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

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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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