US Government doesn’t want to pay for Tibetans anymore

After 60 years of unfettered donations from a sympathetic global community, the Tibetan leadership now faces leaner times and a leaner future as its biggest donor tightens the purse strings.

By: Shashi Kei

If anyone wondered if President Donald Trump would continue American support of the Tibetan government-in-exile as past US Presidents have done, all speculations ended recently when the State Department sent a proposal to the US Congress calling for the cessation of all aid to the Tibetan people. The withdrawal of American financial support for the Tibetan leadership is indeed a cause for concern for Dharamsala, where the Tibetan leadership is headquartered. This aid has been one of the core reasons Tibetans have persevered for as long as they have and this break from tradition by Trump is a harbinger of tremendous changes ahead for the Tibetan refugees. President Trump’s actions join an increasing chorus of declining global support for the Tibetans.

Over time, world leaders find the Tibetan leadership’s behavior increasingly intolerable and have become less enamored by the Tibetan ’cause’. This has shown in the declining number of world leaders willing to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, inarguably the face of the Tibetan leadership.

For over fifty years, the Tibetan people have lived off the goodwill and kindness of the world community, who have propelled their cause to global recognition; it would be difficult to find another leader of a refugee community more well-known than the Dalai Lama. Yet, after decades of moral and political support including humanitarian care, fiscal benefits, and all manner of sponsorship (both from states and generous individuals), as well as giving Tibetan leaders access to their own political space to advocate the ‘Tibetan cause’ (often at the cost of stoking China’s ire), the Tibetans-in-exile do not seem to have progressed.

Despite millions of dollars pouring into the coffers of the Tibetan leadership, very little if any seems to have trickled down to the Tibetan people themselves, for whom the monies were intended. Therefore today, despite all the assistance the Tibetan people have received, they do not produce or create any significant goods or services, or contribute to the global science and artistic community. Similarly the general Tibetan community cannot claim to have carved a reputation in any academic disciplines, nor do they add value to the nations that host them; in fact, their very presence often jeopardizes their host countries’ abilities to provide for their own citizens through lucrative trade relationships with China. Thus, far from being the success that some say they are, the state of the Tibetans in exile today reveals what an abysmal failure they have become as the result of weak and corrupt leadership. In any analysis of the situation, the final conclusion must be that the Tibetan leadership known as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) have all but turned the people into professional refugees with one function only – to continue to generate global sympathy and keep foreign aid and sponsorship flowing.

President Trump is no longer willing to spend American taxpayer dollars on supporting the Tibetan leadership’s inefficacies and incompetencies.

This well-rehearsed ploy by the CTA, manipulating the goodwill of sympathetic donors for aid and sponsorship, has not escaped notice. Maura Moynihan, the daughter of the late US Senator Patrick Moynihan, a long-term benefactor of the Tibetan refugees arrived at the same conclusion after decades of tremendous support to the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT). Writing that the organization “…has no clear purpose other than self-preservation, raising funds to pay for trips to Asia, comfortable salaries…”, this description fits the CTA very well, perhaps even more so than the ICT.

Like many other CTA-sponsored bodies around the world, the ICT is merely an extension of the Tibetan leadership, created with the objective of serving their agendas and not hesitating to breach all ethical codes in the process. The organization is part of a significant network of fund-raising organizations supposedly established so Dharamsala can invest in efforts to regain their freedom. In the process, these organizations have raised untold millions over the years and yet, for all of these efforts, the Tibetan movement seems to have lost traction over time.

Meanwhile the Tibetan people continue to languish in exile, living on false hopes and forever waiting for good news, but apparently cheated by their own leadership. Five decades of global hand-holding have led to a leadership and community plagued with complacency, division and internal disharmonies. A number of reasons can be cited for this but one of the main explanations for this lack of results must be the Tibetan leadership itself. Whether by design or negligence, the Tibetan leadership turned their cause into an issue that created confusion and division amongst their people and their respective supporters – rangzen (independence) versus umaylam (autonomy). Instead of focusing on taking appropriate steps to engage with the Chinese, the CTA plunged the community into chaos. They focused the fight amongst the Tibetans and with that, a movement well-supported by the global community spiraled into ruin.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s letter to Sikyong Lobsang Sangay critical of the CTA’s malpractices. Click to enlarge.

Whether the Tibetan cause ought to be rangzen or umaylam is largely academic today as both are nothing more than wishful thinking because of the CTA. They may blame China for refusing to negotiate and with that explain away their failure. But the leadership has no one to blame for denying their own people the most basic human rights under a democracy that the Dalai Lama declared in the 1960s. The proposition that whilst working out a longer-term solution with China, the CTA would give its people the freedom of a liberal society, appealed to many nation-states around the world and drew even more funds into the CTA’s pockets. After all, countries like the United States of America invest substantially in the promulgation of democracies around the world. Amongst some of its more prominent initiatives, the United States government funded Radio Free Asia to be an instrument of free speech with an annual budget of $34million from Congress at one point. However, it was not long before the CTA, somewhat ironically, abused this instrument of freedom to silence critics instead. This prompted a stern warning by US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher whose investigation indicated that there were “serious accusations that US funding meant for Tibetans may have been misspent”.

This should not be a surprise to anyone. The history of the CTA itself is littered with clear cases of abuses of power, one of the most obvious being the CTA’s use of state powers (Cabinet and Parliament) to ban a religion and criminalize the practitioners of Dorje Shugden. Even today, the CTA proudly displays on their official website various parliamentary resolutions calling on Tibetans to marginalize and discriminate against other Tibetans purely based on their religion.

But to the CTA, creating conflicts, sponsoring persecutions and completely ignoring the law are common government practices used to keep the people under control. We see this in the way the CTA instigated a split in the Karma Kagyu Tibetan Buddhist lineage by interfering in the process of recognizing and enthroning the 17th Karmapa. We see it again in the way the CTA openly denied the Jonang lineage their rightful representation in Parliament which the lineage is entitled to by tradition and by the Tibetan Constitution. We see this in the way the leadership unilaterally declared an abandonment of Tibetan independence without first securing the consensus of the people. And we see this in the way the CTA rigged election rules and procedures to disqualify Lukar Jam, a popular candidate for the 2016 Sikyong Elections.

If the CTA has been able to get away with so much wrongdoing and injustice, it is in large part due to the fact that it had the means and resources to do so. Instead of using foreign aid and financial assistance to protect the Tibetan culture, the ancient Tibetan Buddhist religion and promote democratic freedom, the CTA used these monies to oppress its people and coerce them into submission. To this day the CTA is not accountable to anyone and the funds for it to maintain its abusive power has kept flowing in. In that way, subsidies from the Unites States and generous donations from other countries have in fact fueled the bullying and suppression of the Tibetan refugees by their own government.

But it is now more than fifty years and it has become clear to the United States and other countries that the CTA has no intention of protecting the freedom of its people nor does the CTA have any genuine intention of engaging sensibly with China so that the Tibetans can return home. Being refugees is the CTA’s trade and keeping the Tibetan people as exiles an easy ticket for funds to keep flowing into the pockets of the Tibetan leaders. To continue funding the CTA would be to continue empowering them in their censorship of freedom. On the other hand, in stopping aid to the Tibetan people, the US in fact stops funding the CTA’s oppression and creates a need for the C TA to change its ways. Half a century is more than sufficient time for the CTA to have shown that it has a genuine intention and also the ability to protect the well-being of the Tibetan people and to secure a future for them. The CTA has clearly proven that its agenda is otherwise.


The original article in The Indian Express

Click to enlarge. (Source:

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  1. Karma catches on for CTA isn’t it? Without foreign aids how long can CTA last? Besides they have become less popular with global leaders with passing time. CTA is becoming insignificant while China is growing in military and economic powers to influence the world. Is time for CTA to pack their bags and shut their administration. While they still can embrace Dorje Shugden practice and return to their original homeland quietly as all Dorje Shugden practitioners are welcome to return China.

  2. The support from US that spent on disparaging Tibetan community finally stops for god’s sake. Instead of filling up the corrupted CTA’s pocket for expenses that go against what it intended to be, Trump did a wiser step to spend the money in a better sector.

    I wonder what is the point of sustaining CTA anymore as they didn’t serve their people but stir the community with hatred which totally goes against their highly revered spiritual master’s motto.

    May the people finds a good leader to solve the refugee status as the current government has failed to bring them a better living for over 50 years. Please.

  3. You know what is sad? Media like which is Dharamsala based can never print anything that is against or critical of CTA. Why? Because it is not a democratic setting they live in. The writer and Tibetan blogger Jamyang Norbu use to work with a Tibetan newspaper in Dharamsala and he was closed down and threatened because he was critical of the CTA. It was so bad, he had to move to the USA to get away from the CTA. Now he openly criticizes the Tibetan leadership and also CTA.

  4. I’am from Dharamshala. You knowe everyday Tibet goevernmet people come here to see what you saying. they worryed you tell truth on them

  5. They scarede you know them becausse they love money and not love Tibet peoplee.

  6. We in Germany wish to make friends with China. It is necessary in today’s economic climate. Germans need jobs. China is growing, improving and reaching out to the world. Trade, cultural exchanges, economic growth,tourism, student exchanges and bi-lateral talks on global warming are all in the agenda. We wish the Tibetans well but they can do nothing for any of the important global and national issue of Germany. Germans are sympathetic for Tibetans but the fact is Tibet is a part of China.

  7. When a government receive financial assistance from other countries, first come to my mind that does it really help them grow? The government is obligated to take care the welfare of its citizens. But for this instance, the funds from United States and other countries are very likely did not helped much for Tibetans. Many of the Tibetans left Tibet and most of them feel insecure to stay in Tibet anymore as lost confidence in the government. Furthermore, the Tibetans have no freedom at all if someone is practicing Dorje Shugden. Many Shugden practitioners are being discriminated, segregated and prejudiced due to the ban.
    The wisest of leaders from all over the world should consider if a government has no intention to realize the promise to care its people, it is definitely hinder the efforts in achieving peace and harmony in community.

  8. Wow wow wow!!! Finally CTA get to know the world is watching what They Done…

    The generosity from US government misused by CTA for a long time, hence CTA create the non stop discrimination, segregation and bring the non peace to the world.

    Is good to know Trump did a wiser step to spend the money in a better sector so that the corrupted CTA leaders might Stop to continue spend US government fund to spread hatred and dividing Tibetans.

    I truly hope the Dorje Shugden Ban will be lifted very soon so no more discrimination, segregation and welcome the Peace to the world.

  9. Are Tibetans especially the Center Tibetan Administration in India still aspect that by showing the pitiful looks, the world will still buy their tricks and support them? As quote in the article, a professional refugees who waiting for money to come to them automatically? Worst, condition of refugees in India is not improved, poverty, lost of human’s right, all, this was created non other by their Tibetan Government in exile.

    In today’s economy where most countries are struggling to feed their own people, how many countries would still spend the money to refugees that does not have any progress in any field? Especially currently China have rise as a giant economy power state, how many countries would want to be at “economy war” with China to jeopardize their countries financial? Especially when there are so many news on how CTA abuse the sponsorship and used against their own people ?

    Tibetan government in Exile, have created great chaos within their own Tibetans’ refugees by impose ban to Dorje Shugden whom worship by millions of Tibetans over many centuries. To cover their failure more, they are trying to influent the Buddhist’s world by propagating that Dorje Shugden is not a subject to be worship. Instead of focus truly on their own issues that they face, they side tract the world’s attention and their own people’s attention so that they are always play safe and no one could question their failure. In fact, if they continued to play this trick, how long can India host them? And many Tibetans currently who reside in India, those young generation are born in Indian, would they have the feeling to return to the so call native land that their ancestors use to live in, or, would they prefer to stay in their home land in India? Did CTA see what is coming to greet them? The Tibetan culture is at its losing stage.

  10. For nearly sixty years, the Tibetans in -exile have been given a big helping hand by donor countries , especially countries like US ,to stand on their own two feet as a community in exile and to resolve their ” Tibet freedom” issue. Instead of providing the right leadership to steer this community in the right direction with regard to these two issues, the CTA have just left their people to languish in exile, feeding a vain dream of returning to Tibet , China. Unilaterally, seeing that the fight for independence of Tibet was a lost cause, they then switched the fight for freedom to one of gaining Tibet’s autonomy. But, even this was just a verbal change of stance. Underneath it all, the leadership was still stoking the fires of the fight for freedom (even knowing that this was impossible to gain). Hence their tacit support of the more than 100 mostly young Tibetans(who had the potential of a bright future) to self-immolate.

    Then, under cover of this ploy of winning the hearts and minds of Tibetans in exile, they were receiving the flow of funds from donor countries and donors -
    meant to be spent on the “free Tibet” cause and welfare and progress of their people -in-exile ” – by lining their own pockets”! Hence, President Trump’s and America’s decision to stop the funding is truly a wake up call, but the people who will continue to suffer, as they have been suffering, are the ordinary Tibetans in exile in India.

    Lost opportunities – the CTA should have assessed the situation correctly and been honest about it. There isn’t likely to be an Independent Tibet. That being the case, they should have helped the Tibetans in exile make a choice,to stay in India or to return to Tibet and accept Tibet as what it is today -an autonomous region.If the choice were to stay in India, they should have helped them learn to adapt and adjust to being Indian citizens. Those who wish to return to Tibet, they should have peacefully negotiated for their return.

    This is what they could have done instead of distracting from these important matters by turning religion – the Dorje Shugden practice – into a tool to create a distraction , a schism within the Tibetan in exile community and a target for conflict.

  11. Looking forward to the new development in the year 2018.

    Will be interesting to see how a corrupt government work with zero aid from the US. No funding means CTA’s pockets ain’t getting fatter no more. CTA’s key business is to be refugees and making fortunes from donations is their only way of sustaining.

    In addition, with India issuing passports to the Tibetans in India and the significant increase Chinese government efforts to promote development and preserve culture in Tibet, CTA’s function will cease to exist. Not that they did anything of worth anyways.

  12. I can only imagine how much funds the Central Tibetan Administration has received over the years with no formal country to govern, but only Tibetan refugees. With the funds they had all these years, they could’ve put it into more good use, like developing something sustainable for the Tibetans worldwide, or even a system to support their own administration, instead of relying outside for a source of funding. However, instead of doing something for its people, for the cause the USA government thought it was supporting, one of the ways in which they have used the funds is to further segregate its own Tibetan people, which ironically, they should be uniting so that they can regain their freedom, or what they have falsely led others to believe. So it is not surprising for President Trump to propose zero aid to the CTA.

    Perhaps, it would be better if they had Tibetans, who has no relations to the CTA or its political games, form an NGO to use the funds they receive for a better purpose to unite its people and provide aid to its people. The CTA are fighting for freedom from China, but yet, they themselves deny their own people of freedom, and other Tibetan Buddhists. Hypocrisy. Perhaps thats why karma has caught up wtih them.

  13. This article is interesting because, it says cutting US aid it cuts CTA’s oppression.

    It is true because, without resources, CTA cannot bully others so easily as it had done in many years as it had done in the past.

    Also why should US give money to a government, who has had no results for the past 60 years? What does the CTA have to show for all the millions that had been poured into the Tibetan community?

    How many professionals, and scholars and experts, scientists that had been produced for the past 60 years by the CTA?

  14. It is a good and timely call from the US at last. No doubt that the fund had been misused to fulfill their (CTA) own lust..especially the ban on Dorje Shugden. It has come the time that the CTA should take a hike…after all what has it done to it’s own people except promoting a unnecessary hatred among them..??!!

  15. Please look at this clear video of His Holiness the Dalai Lama asking the monasteries to expel monks that practice Dorje Shugden. Click here to watch:

  16. Member of Parliament Tenpa Yarphel is a hero. He is speaking up for free speech and freedom of expression. He is exercising his rights, he is standing up for logical democracy which is the only way forward and not having to contact spirits like Nechung via oracles to make decisions that impact people’s lives. But look how people speak about him in the comments, so rude and nasty. It really represents the Dalai Lama badly as they are supporting Dalai Lama beings so rude:

    They say we need to believe in Nechung and follow what he says. But in 2009 Nechung said the Dalai Lama would go back to Tibet and that everyone would be happy. A monk from Nechung Monastery is the one that told everyone about this: But Nechung was wrong. It has been eight years and this has not happened. The Dalai Lama did not return to Tibet. Nechung being consulted by Tibetan government in exile is backwards. No governments do this in the civilized world.

    When people like Tenpa Yarphel speak up and are real patriots of the Tibetan people, they are attacked by other people. In fact people even protest like this man who shaves his hair: People like these are actually protesting against Tenpa Yarphel’s democratic rights and freedom of speech. Tibetans by criticizing Tenpa Yarphel shows they are far from democracy. Besides many of the other Kagyu leaders such as Drigung Chetsang Rinpoche, Drukchen Rinpoche, Karmapa Thaye Dorje all did not say anything against Tenpa Yarphel that represents the Kagyus.

    Dalai Lama had said that is his minister of cabinet in the government. Even though it is clear that Nechung is unreliable and a spirit, the Dalai Lama continues to rely heavily on Nechung and other oracles who take trance of spirits. He invites Nechung to all his events and allow him to take trance in centre stage always. In fact the Dalai Lama even calls the oracles to his own private bedroom:

    These practices show how Tibetan government is run.

  17. Lobsang Sangay at the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the Tibetan Settlement Office, Dharamsala:

    Losang Sangay said recently (October, 2017) in Dharamsala that Tibetans have two enemies: the outer and inner enemy. The outer enemy is the Chinese government and Dorje Shugden people. The inner enemy is the people who speak against about our Tibetan affairs like regional differences and religious differences. (He didn’t say this directly but he means people like Tenpa Yarphel who spoke up in the Parliament). He said out of the two enemies, the worse one is the inner enemy.

    Now, the Tibetans have started a new Facebook page specifically against Tenpa Yarphel. Tibetans are protesting against him:

    And there is a video of Tibetans with Tenpa Yarphel’s name on the paper against him and asking him to resign:

  18. What is the CTA for a club? Going around pretending to be a democracy and only because of HH Dalai Lama they can make some foreign people believe it but it seems that karma is coming back.

    The CTA is suppressing its own people and is having a good life with the money originally meant for the Tibetan people. On top, their elections are a farce!

    Listen here to Tenpa Yarphel who questions about the reliance of the Tibetan Government to Nechung, an oracle, which is understandable already but on top Nechung’s predictions seem to create more problems than anything else.

    What happens to Tenpa Yarphel now that he speaks up? Tibetans have started a Facebook page against Tenpa Yarphel and protest against him: They even ask Tenpa Yarphel to resign:

    So much for the “Democracy” in the Tibetan Government!!

  19. 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 Chithue Tenpa Yarphel la tq for talk about truth of Nechung . I m watch to this video many time la n after I hear you talk I m not belief to Nechung

  20. When watching this video, no wonder the President Trump prefers to do business with China

    and does not want to pay for Tibetans anymore




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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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