Tibetans rejected by Italy

Both Italy (top flag) and Switzerland (bottom flag) have rejected the Tibetans, as well as Sweden in a much earlier ruling in June 2016. Which country will the Tibetans next face rejection from? As the years pass by, it becomes increasingly harder for the Tibetans to travel, with fewer and fewer countries willing to risk their economic relationships with China for the sake of the Tibetan community.

By: Kay Beswick

One by one, the world’s nations are dissociating with the Tibetan leadership. On June 28, 2016 Swedish authorities announced a change in regulations, saying that they no longer accepted the Tibetan Identity Certificate as a valid identification document. The Identity Certificate, popularly known as the Yellow Book thanks to its cover, is issued by the Indian government. It identifies the bearer as a Tibetan refugee and protectorate of India, and requests immigration at the traveler’s destination to allow the bearer to enter the country.

This news came as a shock to the Tibetan community because without the Identity Certificate, and without any other identification documentation, they would not be allowed to apply for a visa to enter Sweden. This was swiftly followed by Switzerland’s announcement in July 2016 that they had revised their immigration policy, and that Switzerland no longer recognized “Tibetan” as a valid nationality. The ruling specifically concerned the Yellow Book, which Switzerland also announced would no longer be accepted as a valid identification document. Tibetans in Switzerland were also asked to change their nationality to “Chinese”. With more than 4,000 Tibetans living in Switzerland, they are the largest exile community in Europe so Switzerland’s change in policy was a real blow.

The infographic used by the Voice of America to announce that Sweden no longer accepted the Yellow Book as a valid form of identification that can be used during the visa application process.

Later in the same year, in December 2016, news came that Mongolia had banned the Dalai Lama, after a highly publicized but unpopular visit to the Buddhist nation. And now the latest news is that on May 18, 2017, Italy has followed in Sweden and Switzerland’s footsteps. After the Italian Consulate in Mumbai, India stopped accepting applications from Tibetans for an Italian visa, it was swiftly followed by the consulate in Delhi stopping too. Both consulates had done so upon orders from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome, Italy. Just like Sweden and Switzerland, Italy has stopped accepting the Yellow Book as a valid identity document.

Even India themselves, do not appear to be interested in applying effort to maintain the refugee privileges of carrying a Yellow Book. This is hardly surprising considering India does not benefit in any way for sticking up for the Tibetan Yellow Book. Given the current climate, it seems logical that in order for Tibetans to have unrestricted freedom to travel, the best would be for them to get an Indian passport. Yet, a recent court ruling decreed that any Tibetan who wants an Indian passport, must give up their Yellow Book (i.e. their Tibetan citizenship) because it is illegal in Indian law to have dual citizenship. Tibetans wishing to get an Indian passport must also move out of the Tibetan settlements since they will no longer be considered a refugee.

Lobsang Wangyal, a Tibetan journalist and social entrepreneur, was the first Tibetan to get an Indian passport, having met the requirements set by the Indian government.

If the Yellow Book were that precious, and if the Indian government was that interested in maintaining the Yellow Book, they could have made some sort of exception for the Tibetan refugees to carry both. Yet the Indian government have created a situation whereby, over time and frustrated by their lack of ability to travel, Tibetans will be forced to give up their Tibetan citizenship, carry an Indian passport and assimilate into the general population in India.

And so now we come to this point on the road – Sweden, Switzerland and Italy have stopped recognizing the Yellow Book as valid identification, and India is pressing for Tibetans to give it up.

It is indeed strange that after 30 years, Switzerland and Italy have both suddenly stopped recognizing the Yellow Book’s validity. Both countries have traditionally had a good relationship with Tibetan refugees; as noted, Switzerland has the largest exile community in Europe, while Italy is home to many lamas and masters who have their Buddhist organizations and centres headquartered there. So what changed in the last 30 years that led to this outcome?

The only logical answer is the rise of China, and its ongoing dominance as a global economic and political powerhouse. As an increasing number of countries come to this realization, only time will tell what Tibetans will decide to do. History has shown that nations have not erred on the side of Tibet, preferring instead to work with China for the benefit of their own economies. Indeed the news of Italy rejecting the Yellow Book could not come at a worse time for the Tibetan leadership who now not only have to deal with a fallout with the US, but now with Europe too.

Over in the US, President Donald Trump has slashed the amount of financial aid to the Tibetan leadership to zero. While Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and various other media personalities campaign to reverse this, over in Europe the European Central Bank (ECB) has converted a part of their US dollar reserves to the Chinese yuan. It is a move that economic analysts have said indicates the ECB’s faith in the Chinese economy as well as their dependency on it.

Then at a grassroots level, Chinese citizens continue to gain visa-free travel to an increasing list of countries. Visa-free travel suggests that these nations are very keen to attract Chinese tourists and foreign currency, and they want to make it as easy as possible for the Chinese to visit their countries. In the meantime, Tibetans find that their freedom to travel on the Yellow Book is slowly being eroded, even by India herself. Unlike the Chinese passport which is gaining in value, the Tibetan passport (a.k.a. the Yellow Book) is rapidly declining in value.

After years and years of corruption, money laundering, visa-for-money schemes, double standards, embezzlement, financial mismanagement, wasted foreign aid, suppression of free speech, prejudice against the Jonangpas, silence over the troubles faced by the Kagyus (like the Karmapa issue and the associated violence), abuse of donors’ funds, unethical elections, intimidation of political opponents, as well as rejecting Dorje Shugden practitioners, ostracizing them and violently discriminating against them, it unfortunately appears that the Tibetan leadership’s karma is swiftly catching up. Which country is next? Who will next step up and say they no longer accept “Tibetan” as a valid nationality, and the Yellow Book as a valid identification document? If this trend continues, and if the Tibetan leadership do not wake up soon, it will not be long before they find that they are banging on closed doors which will never open for them ever again.

 

The Petition Calling for the Italian Government to Accept Tibetan Applicants for Italian Visas

The petition that has been started to pressure the Italian Embassy in Mumbai to reverse their decision. Click to enlarge.

 

Related articles:

Please support this website by making a donation.
Your contribution goes towards supporting
our work to spread Dorje Shugden across the world.
Share this article
13 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. The reason for this is because the Italian government totally lost confidence in the Tibetan leadership of Dharamsala.

    The Italian government have lost their respect for Tibetan leadership (CTA) otherwise why would they do this after 60 years of campaigning and there is no success for free Tibet or Tibetan autonomy? Yet Italy is insisting Tibetans are a part of the Chinese nation now and they make the world know their stance. Tibet is a part of China according to Italy and many other nations. No matter what others say, Tibet will remain a part of China because no nation on this planet will support diplomatically or by military force to get Tibet back. No nation will truly in action support Tibet. Tibetans better make friends with Chinese as that is their best hope. Since Tibet is under China, they better be friends with the Chinese government to improve their situation. Stop antagonizing China. The CTA and Tibetan leadership’s corruption and bad governance is catching up. Too bad.

    Many Tibetans buy Nepalese and Indian passports. They are easy to purchase and they can get to Italy using these passports. So no point crying over this matter.

  2. Well this is somewhat of a surprise and simultaneously is not. I am surprised that it was Italy who took this step because they’ve had an active Free Tibet network over the last few decades. But then again, after neutral Switzerland decided to NOT be neutral about Tibet, why should I be surprised Italy has followed suit?

    I don’t think the Italian Free Tibet supporters will be able to do much to reverse the decision because I’ve never gotten the sense that the Italian government likes the Tibetans (even if the Italian people themselves like them). How much support they’ll get from the Holy See is also questionable. My guess is, not much since Pope Francis hasn’t exactly been rushing to meet with the Dalai Lama. He hasn’t indicated the same level of interest with connecting with the Tibetans as Pope John Paul did.

  3. HAIKU FOR ITALY

    A transition to
    and from where we do not know
    This is our bardo.

    To the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome, you do not know the sufferings of our Tibetan people. But you keep us trapped when we cannot return to the place our heart calls home.

    You chip away at the jewel of our freedom but offer nothing in repose. Will you speak for Tibet? Or will you let human rights die with you, crafted by the hands of a New Mussolini?

    Bhod gyalo!

  4. Sometimes I pity the Tibetan in exile. They all have a goal to preserve the Tibetan culture but they believe in the wrong administration/management. They chose to believe a group of highly corrupted people who only care for their own benefits. They ask the Tibetans to stay as refugee but many of the high ranking officials including Lobsang Sangey hold foreign passports, and when the sinking ship CTA finally sinks, they have a better place to go, leaving all the Tibetan in exile drowned.

    I think this is a gone case, the Tibetan In exile need to act fast before they lose out even more. It is not the fault of their, but the fault of CTA.

  5. The ineffectiveness of CTA has brought the situation into this now. The small thinking of the leadership that just harping on donation from the world with their sympathy card and doesn’t do anything to further to improve the situation of the Tibetan for 60 years is taking effects now. What make situation even worst is that their own leaders even discriminate and impose violence to their own people just due to different belief in their religious practice and shut down and potential people that willing to make a positive change in the exile. The Tibetan leadership just want to live in their own world with their old mind set hoping for the change drop from the sky.

    China influence on global economy is huge and due to this no countries will want to go against him and for CTA to keep irritate this giant will serve no value. At one point I have been thinking that what positive thing that has CTA done that the world would stand up for them for their cause?

    The rejection from various countries on the yellow book is already a sign that other leaders no longer support CTA not because of the cause but looking at how CTA operate is totally ineffective.

    Time is running out for Tibetan leadership and will see more rejection from other countries on this yellow book.

  6. I would like to say “Welcome home to China, my Tibetan friends. Your Yellow Book is not recognised and is becoming obsolete. But it is alright for is time now to changeover to the Chinese passport which is more powerful and versatile; adopt what is good and beneficial for you.

    It is a matter of time the Lamas teaching around the globe will have to adopt a more flexible approach choosing a passport in order to travel around the world to spread Buddhism since the Yellow Book is becoming obsolete.

    As the Yellow Book is wrecking up; the ban on the Protector is dissolving. And may the teaching of World Peace Protector Dorje Shugden go forth to light up every corner of Earth. The sleeping Dragon has risen so must you to ride on the tidal of success.

  7. Italy is currently struggling to deal with its refugee migration issues amidst its economic and political challenges in the country. More than half-a-million of refugees have now arrived in Italy over a three year period – more than the entire population of Tuscan capital Florence. The government has heightened its effort to deport economic refugees since the beginning of this year.
    Italy also faces the challenge that French police are still refusing entry to hundreds of migrants camped out in Ventimiglia, on the Italian side of the border. France is far from meeting the quota of refugees agreed under an EU relocation scheme in 2015 and Paris will not allow French vessels carrying migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea to dock in its ports. The boats dock in Italian ones instead. 

    Tibetans who holds the Yellow Book IC is considered stateless ie refugee. With all the current refugee problems Italy is facing it’s not a surprise that such a sudden directive was issued recently to refuse visas for Tibetans to travel to Italy.
    Then the question now is why do Tibetans still want to remain “stateless” ? Those who have fled from Tibet should take up the local residential status if the country of residence offers it to them e.g Tibetans in India should take up the status to be an Indian national of Tibetan descent. That would make it so much simpler and accountable. By remaining stubborn to be stateless the last 60 years have not helped Tibetans a single bit. There has not been any progress whatsoever in getting autonomy from China and clearly not in the future too. So there is really no point to be stubborn and continue to be enemies with China. Many Tibetans suffer with this “enemy” status of things.
    Be proud to be Tibetan descendants wherever you may be in the world. You can be a Swiss national of Tibetan descendant, a Swedish national of Tibetan descendant, an American of Tibetan descendant etc etc…….

    Move on with the times. You don’t need a non-progressive leadership like CTA. Tibetans only need to continue to learn and practice the Buddha’s teachings to show the world that the essence of the Buddha’s teachings are all you need to always remain “Tibetan” forever.

  8. It is indeed a double whammy for Tibetans after US removed their support for Tibetans and now Europe is declining and not recognising Tibet as a Official country.

    Giving the Tibetans a hard time to gain entry.. forcing them to either become Chinese or Indian and assimilating into the country and culture.. I won’t exactly say it is a wrong move or a waste.. since many other nationalities had been able to preserve their culture even though their national ity had change.

    Of course it is quite upsetting to lose Tibet as a nation.. but I believe culture and religion will be preserved. And of course.. CTA should wake up and not be corrupted any more and guide the people to true leadership!

  9. Shunning the Tibetans In Exile will be a growing trend as China grows more in power politically and economically. Enticing trade agreements that bolster the countries’ economies will be too much of a temptation to overlook. What more when the Tibetans in Exile has been in exile for 60 years and no solution is in sight for years to come. Especially with all the blunders or self serving policies of the leaders, headed by Sikyong Lobsang Sangay. The leaders are so practiced in handouts from kind sponsors that they had not seen the need to change to people centric policies

    What grabs me was the article on change.org who used “only non-violent people on this earth”. Wow! Had they been blind to the abuses or violence towards the Dorje Shugden practitioners whom they considered as Anti-Dalai Lama. No doubt the majority of Tibetans are non-violent but the Governmental Ministers had been known throughout the ages to be quite violent in their dealings with “supposed” enemies. The statement is just bias stereotyping to influence the goodwill of Italian authorities. Its sad that the ordinary Tibetans In Exile placed their trusts in the current government who had been comfortably living in the tradition of sponging the sponsors. Instead of putting the monies towards the improvement of their people’s welfare, work skills, business development, etc. that would have safeguarded their future without handouts, the government had wasted it on propaganda against China and Dorje Shugden practitioners, as well as fattening their own pockets. Innocently the protector practice of Dorje Shugden was ban to divert focus from the government’s failures of returning their people home to Tibet. The Sikyong should just buckle up and stop their downhill spirally policies and work towards cooperation with China and the Dorje Shugden people. Don’t misplace the trusts of your people anymore and address the problems in status of Tibetans In Exile.

  10. By siding with the Dalai Lama and Tibetans, what does anyone get? Of course Italy will not side with Tibetans. Better to side with China.

  11. Tibetans always make trouble wherever they live. They will not live quietly and appreciate the bigger economic goals of their host country. Many countries have a economic need to be friends with China as the cold war with China is thawing out. But Tibetans will never understand this. The needs of the 6 million Tibetans to them outweigh the needs of the rest of the 7 billion persons on this planet.

  12. Come to think of it, someone should influence the Tibetans in exile that whatever they are promised by the Dalai Lama and CTA will not happen and will not be fulfilled.

    Tibetans in exile had lived in a proclaimed democracy for the past 60 years and yet they are just as inept as their leaders.

    Do something before you become victims to be used by CTA, go get yourself a Indian passport or see how to become a Chinese by your own accord.

    After all the Tibetans in Switzerland were changed to be Chinese.

  13. My heart goes out to the Tibetan refugees in India. Soon, they will have to decide whether to remain in India as Indian citizens or return to Tibet and become Chinese nationals or migrate to another country. It is not an easy choice to make. I feel that they must follow their heart. Younger Tibetans born in India and those who have come to regard India as their home may opt to stay in India. Usually those born in the country will feel they belong to that country and have a right to be citizens. But I think Tibetans in India may have a different experience due to the political set-up. So, they need to follow their heart as it is a major decision that involves their future and the future of their children.

Submit your comment

Please enter your name

Please enter a valid email address

Please enter your message

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 2017 | All Rights Reserved
Total views:2,973,475