Who is lying, Samdhong or Sangay?

What are these two plotting now? On the left is Lobsang Sangay, the current Prime Minister of the Tibetan people in-exile and on the right is Samdhong Rinpoche, his predecessor. Both of them were recently appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to be the Dalai Lama’s personal envoys. As the two most senior leaders in the CTA, how come they do not know CLEARLY where each other is at any given moment in time?

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



By: Shashi Kei

After 60 years of dashed hopes, the Tibetan world was recently set ablaze with news of Samdhong Rinpoche’s supposed visit to China. Word first broke in The Wire, in a report titled “The Dalai Lama wants to return home” authored by former Indian ambassador Phunchok Stobdan. This was swiftly followed by supporting reports in the Tibetan Journal, titled “Dalai Lama’s envoy Samdhong Rinpoche discreetly visited China”, published on 6th December 2017.

Since the exciting news of Samdhong Rinpoche’s trip was first released however, the Tibetans and their supporters have descended into an ever-deepening chasm of confusion. This is thanks to multiple reports by the likes of Sikyong Lobsang Sangay confirming the visit, followed by denials from none other than the man himself, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche.

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay is the current Tibetan Prime Minister, having succeeded Samdhong Rinpoche as the head of the Tibetan leadership. Both were recently appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the Dalai Lama’s personal envoys so it is safe to say these two men are the top leaders of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA; Tibetan leadership in Dharamsala, India). Yet, the apparent lack of coordination between the top leaders means speculation now runs rife as to the transparency of the Tibetan leadership when dealing with matters relating to the Dalai Lama and Tibetan people’s return to Tibet. To clarify matters:


Timeline of the Debacle

  • 4th December 2017 – The Wire first breaks the story about Samdhong Rinpoche visiting China, in an article titled “The Dalai Lama wants to return home”.
  • 6th December 2017 – Tibetan Journal publishes “Dalai Lama’s envoy Samdhong Rinpoche discreetly visited China”, confirming Samdhong Rinpoche’s visit.
  • 15th December 2017 – Phayul publishes “Cautious Sangay says Samdhong Rinpoche made a private visit to China”, with Sikyong Lobsang Sangay confirming that Samdhong Rinpoche has paid a private visit to China. He even adds the caveat that people should not read too much into the visit. Yet, the fact of the matter is, Lobsang Sangay is confirming that a trip was made and no trip to China that involves the Dalai Lama’s envoy can ever be ‘just’ a private visit.
  • 15th December 2017 – The Tribune publishes “Dalai Lama headed to China on pvt [private] visit?” Authored by Ajay Banerjee, The Tribune later amends the title of the story to “Former Tibetan government head visited China recently”, based on advice from the CTA. This correction is, in essence, another confirmation by the CTA that Samdhong Rinpoche did visit China.
  • 19th December 2017 – The Diplomat publishes “A Secret Visit and Sino-Tibetan Dialogue” confirming Samdhong Rinpoche’s visit to China, claiming it to be a private trip.
  • 19th December 2017 – two weeks after the first reports of his trip, Phayul finally publishes Samdhong Rinpoche’s denial that he visited China recently, in an article titled “Samdhong Rinpoche denies visiting China, says no plans for Dalai Lama as well”.
  • 20th December 2017 – Tibetan Journal publishes an op-ed piece “Did President Sangay Misinform That Samdhong Rinpoche Visited China?” that questions whether Lobsang Sangay misinformed the world about Samdhong Rinpoche’s visit.

An earlier picture of Lobsang Sangay (left) and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Lobsang Sangay was quoted in Phayul on 15th December 2017, confirming Samdhong Rinpoche’s visit. Four days later, Samdhong Rinpoche denied visiting China. Was Lobsang Sangay lying when he confirmed Samdhong Rinpoche’s visit? Or was it just plain incompetence? Or was Samdhong Rinpoche lying when he denied his visit? Either way, one of the Dalai Lama’s two personal envoys is lying to the Tibetan public.

So who is right, and who is wrong? Who is lying? Was Lobsang Sangay lying when he corrected the media on December 15th, telling them in his correction that Samdhong Rinpoche had gone to China? Or was Samdhong Rinpoche lying on December 19th when he said he did not go? Either way, one of the Dalai Lama’s trusted envoys is lying to the Tibetan people. And when presented in this manner, a number of things become clear.

  1. There is no coordination between Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and Samdhong Rinpoche. As a result, the CTA changed their story so many times regarding the news of Samdhong Rinpoche’s visit to China. After 60 years of living in exile, Tibetans are hypervigilant, looking for any sign of a potential return to Tibet. The CTA should have known that a visit to China by someone as senior as Samdhong Rinpoche would have given Tibetans hope for the potential of dialogue between the Chinese and Tibetan leaderships. Yet, on such an important topic, the most senior members of the Tibetan government presented very confusing information about the trip. In the end, it was obnoxious of them to fight back and forth on vital information that has the potential to give hope to the Tibetans.
  2. Someone is inefficient, lying and not doing their job, and this reflects the whole government that they represent. Samdhong and Lobsang Sangay are the most senior officials in the Tibetan exile government. In fact, next to the Dalai Lama, these two people would be amongst the most formidable people in the Tibetan power structure. So how can two of the highest Tibetan officials get such an important piece of news wrong? Who is lying?
  3. If the Tibetan leadership can create so much confusion when dealing with an issue of such high public interest, what else have they ruined or disrupted over the years that the public does not know about?
  4. The news was first released by a former ambassador of India, Phunchok Stobdan. For such significant news, it is highly unlikely that Stobdan, whose sensitive diplomatic work required meticulousness, would have made the announcement without double or triple-checking first. Similarly, one would also expect Stobdan to have access to information not ordinarily available to the public i.e. the confirmed movements of the Dalai Lama’s envoy, especially when he is heading for China.
  5. Samdhong Rinpoche’s denial came a full two weeks after it was first reported that he had visited China. The delayed response has fuelled suspicions and can only mean one thing – Samdhong Rinpoche was in China, behind their Internet firewall. As a result, he was unable to find out what was being said about his trip in the media, and therefore unable to issue a retraction until he was out of China.
  6. Samdhong Rinpoche’s sudden denial of his China visit two weeks after the initial news was published raises more than a few eyebrows and has had many people asking what else the Tibetan leadership might be hiding now?
    Questions have previously been already raised about the CTA’s lack of transparency and accountability, and this latest debacle only adds fuel to the fire.
  7. More interestingly, Samdhong Rinpoche’s denunciation of the said news is a slap to the face of Sangay. Sangay had confirmed to Phayul on 15th December 2017 that Samdhong did in fact made such a historic trip but cautioned that readers should not read too much into it. Bear in mind that Phayul is in effect the CTA’s mouthpiece and the source of the story is none other than the CTA. Therefore there cannot be a miscommunication or misunderstanding from Sangay’s side.
  8. This debacle simply demonstrates how disorganized the Tibetan leadership truly are, and the total lack of communication between the top members of this small exiled government. And as small as they are now, they are already so confused and inefficient, and unable to communicate clearly to their people on such an important matter. Should the Tibetan leadership ever be able to return to Tibet, how will they ever get to run their country properly when Tibet is huge and so much bigger than Dharamsala?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama recently announced that he would be indefinitely postponing his travels, and appointed Lobsang Sangay and Samdhong Rinpoche to represent him as his personal envoys. How come Sangay and Samdhong are so uncoordinated in their announcements and work? Are these men the most capable representatives of the Dalai Lama? If these two are the best that the Tibetan leadership has to offer, the Tibetan public should be extremely concerned for their own futures at a time when the Dalai Lama is no longer around to lead and coordinate the community.

There are also a number of questions that need to be raised, primarily:

  1. How was Samdhong Rinpoche, who has criticized the Chinese government for decades, granted a visa so easily, regardless of whether his visit was private or not? The Chinese leadership would be understandably paranoid about Samdhong Rinpoche; as the Dalai Lama’s envoy, his visit would invariably draw a crowd and he would therefore have the potential to encourage unrest. So how can someone who is the Dalai Lama’s envoy make it into China so easily?
  2. Non-politically involved Rinpoches and lamas are stopped at Beijing’s international airport even if they are dressed in lay clothes and despite having all the necessary visas. It would be almost impossible for someone as recognizable as Samdhong Rinpoche to go into China without the Beijing government’s knowledge and, by inference, approval. The fact he was able to receive a visa without issue, let alone enter the country without issue, and in spite of his role in actively encouraging anti-China activities, must mean that he has connections with the Chinese leadership. Alternatively, it could also mean that the Chinese leadership had a higher, political motivation for allowing Samdhong Rinpoche into the country. After all, why would an old, senior monk of his age go all the way to China just to visit his family?
  3. The Tibetan leadership act with the assumption of the stupidity of their subjects, to think that they would not be able to see the Tibetan leadership for what it is – inefficient, confused and uncoordinated. It is obvious, when Lobsang Sangay says Samdhong Rinpoche went and then Samdhong Rinpoche himself says he did not go, and the two men tussle back and forth in the media spotlight.

The Tibetan people and supporters of the Tibetan struggle should take this discrepancy seriously. All matters pertaining to the Tibetan leadership’s dealing with China directly impacts on the future of the Tibetan people and the pulse of the Tibetan struggle. So how come there is such secrecy, confusion and what seems like opposing agendas on such an important matter?


Possible Reasons for a Cover-up

(1) The visit was a failure and negotiations yielded nothing

Since 1959, the Tibetan leadership has made countless promises to return Tibetans to their homeland, all to no avail. Even the State Oracle Nechung, whom the Dalai Lama and CTA rely on, has made inaccurate prophecies about the success of the Tibetan struggle.

In addition, nothing became of the nine rounds of talks between the Tibetan and Chinese leaderships. All this time, the CTA blamed their failures on scapegoats such as Dorje Shugden practice. And all this while, they allowed China to grow stronger as the CTA and the Dalai Lama’s popularity in the world waned. It is possible that during this exploratory trip, Samdhong Rinpoche realized how the CTA’s best opportunities have slipped by, and the ‘Tibetan cause’ is now at best a pipe dream. It is possible that on this trip, he realized that Tibetans are no longer in possession of the moral authority to use global pressure to get what they (the CTA) want, because everyone is willing to overlook that in favour of a better relationship with China.

This would be something very difficult for the Tibetans to accept and would likely trigger heightened rejection of the leadership by the Tibetan people, at a time when the people are already more vocal about their disappointments with the CTA. Hence, it is best not to call attention how hopeless the Tibetan cause has become.

(2) Samdhong Rinpoche was negotiating an unpopular deal

The Tibetan leadership is known for harbouring interests that contradict their own people’s. For instance, in 1988 the Dalai Lama gave up the Tibetan independence fight in what was known as the Strasbourg Proposal, opting instead for autonomy (umaylam) or what he labelled the Middle Way Approach. The Tibetan people were not consulted and were not given a say in the matter.

On another occasion in 2013 when being interviewed by Jerome Cohen at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, Sangay said pointedly, “democracy is what we practice in exile. We are not asking that democracy be implemented or be allowed inside Tibet…[but]that’s not part of what we’re asking to the Chinese government”.

The Sikyong stated clearly that under umaylam, he would do away with democracy. In that flippant statement, it may not have occurred to Sangay that he had traded away the freedom of the Tibetans. Worse still, he may not have cared, a characteristic that is common of Tibetan leaders. In any case, the Tibetans were again not consulted on this change in policy.

So if Samdhong Rinpoche was exploring a deal with the Chinese that may be at odds with general Tibetan interests, then it would be better to deny that no such visit took place.

The Dalai Lama with his two personal envoys who are currently in the midst of a petty public squabble over one of their whereabouts.

(3) To sidestep the hypocrisy after falsely accusing detractors of being Chinese agents.

It is common for the Tibetan leadership to accuse critics and detractors of being Chinese spies and agents. By accusing people they wish to target of having Chinese connections, the CTA has successfully marginalized many people who refuse to toe the official CTA party line, and conform with the CTA’s edicts. A very good example is Dorje Shugden practitioners whom the CTA claim to be working for the Chinese government, and therefore should be violently opposed and ostracized.

Samdhong Rinpoche’s visit to China, which seems to have taken place without much obstacles, hints that he does have contacts in China which he has maintained. If Samdhong Rinpoche were to be treated in the same way the CTA treats Dorje Shugden lamas, then Samdhong Rinpoche should also be considered an anti-Tibetan traitor for having Chinese contacts and visiting China.

After all, Lama Gangchen was so labelled and pictures of Lama Gangchen with Chinese officials were offered as proof of his ‘treachery’ against the Tibetan people. This is in spite of the well-known fact that Lama Gangchen’s World Peace Foundation was working on conjunction with the United Nations to spread peace and goodwill around the world, including China.

Realizing this, perhaps Samdhong Rinpoche felt it was necessary to outrightly deny that such a visit took place.

Whatever the case may be, what began as a piece of uplifting news now ends with deception and double talk and again the Tibetan people’s dreams of going home fade. The bickering and squabbling that has come to characterise the Tibetan leadership’s dealings reflects nothing more than a deep disrespect for the people; after 60 years in exile, even in the face of such monumental news which might give the people hope of a return to their homeland, the two most senior leaders in the Tibetan government cannot even coordinate themselves to give clear facts and information to their people.

And so when witnessing the tragedy that has become the CTA and their methods of governance, why would China ever cede greater levels of autonomy to such an inefficient and disorganised administration? Lobsang Sangay’s confirmation that Samdhong Rinpoche visited China and Samdhong’s subsequent and late denial again shows how murky all the CTA’s dealings are, from whether a USD 1.5 Million taken from a Tibet Fund was a loan or a gift to whether the Dalai Lama’s emissary visited China. Ultimately it is all smoke and mirrors and the ordinary Tibetan person’s future becomes lost in the confusion.


The Dalai Lama Wants to Return Home

An article published by “The Wire” on 4th December 2017. Click to enlarge. (Source: https://thewire.in/201726/dalai-lama-india-china-tibet/)

Comments left by various people on “The Wire”. Click to enlarge. (Source: https://thewire.in/201726/dalai-lama-india-china-tibet/)

Comments left by various people on “The Wire”. Click to enlarge. (Source: https://thewire.in/201726/dalai-lama-india-china-tibet/)


Dalai Lama’s Envoy Samdhong Rinpoche Discreetly Visited China

Published 5th December 2017. The Dalai Lama’s personal envoy Samdhong Rinpoche went on a private visit to China. It was suggested in “The Wire” that while Samdhong Rinpoche was in China, it is more likely that he met up with You Quan – the newly-appointed head of the United Front Work Department that oversees Tibetan affairs. It is also said that You Quan is a close associate of President Xi. Click to enlarge. (Source: http://www.tibetanjournal.com/index.php/2017/12/05/dalai-lamas-envoy-samdhong-rinpoche-visited-china/)


Cautious Sangay says Samdhong Rinpoche made a “private visit” to China

Published on 15th December 2017. Phayul.com is the mouthpiece of the Tibetan government in exile otherwise known as Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). Phayul.com also picked up the news of Samdhong Rinpoche’s visit to China. The news has spread throughout the Tibetan communities throughout the world giving some sort of hope to the Tibetans. The Tibet issue will not be resolved with the current policies of the CTA regime in Dharamsala. It has been nearly six decades of failure. So they will have to change their tactic to appease China. Tibet is within China and no other nation will be able to ‘rescue’ Tibet or assist in any way. Tibetans must help themselves by negotiating with China. Click to enlarge. (Source: http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=39926&article=Cautious+Sangay+says+Samdhong+Rinpoche+made+a+%E2%80%9Cprivate+visit%E2%80%9D+to+China)


Dalai Lama headed to China on a pvt visit?

On 15th December 2017, “The Tribune” published an article titled “Dalai Lama headed to China on pvt visit?”. But not long after that, Tibet.net had asked them to change the title to “Former Tibetan government head visited China recently”. Former head would refer to Samdhong Rinpoche of course. The title can be changed but the fact remain the same that the envoy Samdhong Rinpoche was sent to negotiate with China. The negotiations must be regarding the status of Tibet and a possible visit in the future by the Dalai Lama. For the envoy Samdhong Rinpoche to visit China he would have needed India’s permission, China’s approval and of course sent by Dalai Lama himself. After all, Samdhong Rinpoche holds a refugee passport issued by India and he will need a visa to enter China. A high profile person like him cannot just simply enter China’s immigration undetected. It would be safe to assume Samdhong Rinpoche didn’t visit China, whom he has criticized for decades, to just simply visit a Buddhist site, holiday or meet up with friends. China would not easily grant him a visa for any other purpose as he is considered a dissident. He would have a purpose and a prior agreement with the Chinese government. The fact that Samdhong Rinpoche went to China to have dialogue with the Chinese government still gives hope to an eventual positive development for both sides. Lobsang Sangay has failed miserably during his two terms as head of CTA to secure talks with China and most probably out of desperation the Dalai Lama has sent a fellow monk Samdhong Rinpoche to negotiate with China. The Dalai Lama is ageing and resolution must come about soon. The main purpose of the CTA is to resolve the Tibet issue which is now entering into nearly 60 years unresolved issue. Click to enlarge. (Source: http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/dalai-lama-headed-to-china-on-pvt-visit/513541.html.)


A Secret Visit and Sino-Tibetan Dialogue

Published on 19th December 2017. The Diplomat is a reputable online news magazine that covers political and cultural issues, focusing on the Asia-Pacific region. Their report opens with a strong confirmation that Samdhong Rinpoche was indeed in China. Why would The Diplomat stake their reputation on publishing false news that could be so easily disproved by Samdhong Rinpoche showing proof he was somewhere else during the time he is alleged to have been in China? They would not risk their reputation in this way so the message is clear – Samdhong Rinpoche was in China, contrary to his denials. Click to enlarge (Source: https://thediplomat.com/2017/12/a-secret-visit-and-sino-tibetan-dialogue/)

A continuation of The Diplomat article (published 19th December 2017). Click to enlarge (Source: https://thediplomat.com/2017/12/a-secret-visit-and-sino-tibetan-dialogue/)


Samdhong Rinpoche denies visiting China, says no plans for Dalai Lama as well

Published on 19th December 2017. A full 15 days after news first breaks that he went to China, Samdhong Rinpoche finally issues a rebuttal. How come it took him more than two weeks to say anything? Where was he during this time that he could not be informed about the news that was spreading like wildfire all around the world? Click to enlarge (Source: http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=39941&article=Samdhong+Rinpoche+denies+visiting+China%2c+says+no+plans+for+Dalai+Lama+as+well)


Did President Sangay Misinform That Samdhong Rinpoche Visited China?

Published on 20th December 2017. Another article in the Tibetan Journal highlights the confusion that all Tibetans feel about this issue. This type of confusion, animosity, lack of clarity, misinformation and poor coordination is the result of dealing with the Tibetan leadership. Click to enlarge (Source: http://www.tibetanjournal.com/index.php/2017/12/20/president-sangay-misinform-samdhong-rinpoche-visited-china/)


India Always Stood With Tibetans, Tibet Will Also Stay With India: Dalai Lama

Published on 20th December 2017. Again the Tibetan leadership adds to the confusion in Tibetan society. The Dalai Lama recently said that Tibet should be autonomous under Chinese leadership, and that Tibetan development will come from the Chinese. So how does it make sense to say that Tibetans will always stay with India? This actually reflects the lack of a clear strategy regarding the Tibetan situation. And such statements will only upset the Chinese leadership who will wonder what kind of games the Tibetan leadership is playing, when they continue to pledge support for their regional competitor, India. No wonder the Tibetan leadership has not made much progress with regards to the Tibetan situation over the last 60 years. There is no clear direction or message, or strategy. Click to enlarge (Source: http://www.tibetanjournal.com/index.php/2017/12/20/india-always-stood-tibetans-tibet-stay-india/)


Tibet Developments May Put Pressure on India

Published on 7th January 2018. Another article calls attention to Samdhong Rinpoche’s visit to meet with Chinese officials in Kunming. China’s plans to securitize Tibet by building ‘well-off border villages’ along Tibet’s borders and expanding the road network are building pressure on India. Click to enlarge (Source: http://m.rediff.com/news/column/tibet-developments-may-put-pressure-on-india/20180107.htm/)

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62 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. See this tweet by Savita, this may be what many Indians are thinking right now.


  2. For years the Tibetan government in-exile has been suppressing Dorje Shugden practitioners and punishing them for practising by barring them from Tibetan hospitals, schools and communal gatherings. They have been severely segregated and pressed down and made into pariahs of society. They did this to scapegoat Shugden as the cause for them to fail in their job in getting Tibet back from China after 60 years in exile. Now the tables have turned. India is starting to change its stance toward the Dalai Lama and Tibetan leadership. The Indian government is starting to make friends with China and that means distancing themselves from the useless Tibetans. Too bad.

    Now the Tibetan leadership will know what it feels like to be abandoned, abused and segregated like they did for years to Dorje Shugden practitioners. Without Indian support the Tibetan government will have less power to abuse Shugden practitioners within their communities. Finally the tables have turned against the Tibetan leadership. Now it’s time for them to humble down and shut up! They better not make further trouble. They could have had hundreds of thousands of Dorje Shugden practitioners supporting the Tibetan leadership but you alienated them with your segregation and inhumane policies of segregation and now you have less and less support. Too bad. Dorje Shugden people could have supported you all but you lost it. Too bad.


  3. What the Tibetan leadership said is clearly seen as disrespectful and ungrateful towards the kindness shown by India for hosting the Tibetans for almost 6 decades now. See how upset the Indians are and what they are saying now.

    DS.com Partha P. Ghosh

    DS.com Shree Panicker

    DS.com Sid

  4. More and more Indians are speaking their mind, look at this tweet below. It is true that the Tibetan leadership does not get involve or support India when India faces problems, such as during the Gorkhaland and even Doklam crisis. Instead of helping, the President of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) incite more tension by saying that what happened to Tibet could happen to India as well and that India should be worried about China’s continued military build-up in Doklam.

    DS.com RoyHirakesh

  5. Indians are speaking up against Tibetans now. See what t j prasad said. Tibetans live for free for decades in India while amassing massive funds from foreign aid, claiming they are refugees.

    DS.com talisettyprasad

  6. You cannot deny what the Indians have observed. After all, they put up with these fake refugees in their country for decades. What vikram chandra said is true, Tibetans are enjoying their good life everywhere and taking advantage of their host countries.

    3 DS.com vikramchandra26

  7. Policy dive: India believes it’s time to normalise ties with China
    A school of thought believes India cannot afford a conflict; its power gap with China is too large; it is neither militarily equipped nor economically positioned to take on Beijing.
    Updated: Mar 15, 2018 08:13 IST
    Over the past month, India has made a conscious effort to recalibrate ties with China. After a year of stress in the relationship, Delhi appears to feel that it is time to get ties back on track.
    Last Friday, ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters India was “willing to work with the Chinese side to develop our relations based on commonalities while dealing with differences on the basis of mutual respect and sensitivity to each other’s interests, concerns and aspirations.” He also emphasised that ties between the two were important bilaterally, but also had regional and global significance.
    On Monday, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said that China had noted “positive remarks by the Indian side”. He had, last week, also said, “Chinese dragon and Indian elephant must not fight each other, but dance with each other. If China and India are united, one plus one will not include two, but also 11.”
    In diplomacy, statements matter – and so does context. There is definitely a degree of positive signalling on between the two countries. The statements follow foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale’s visit to China last month. A note by the FS to the cabinet secretary, and his subsequent directive, that senior political leaders and government functionaries should stay away from events to commemorate Dalai Lama’s 60th anniversary in exile became public. It was widely interpreted as a move to assuage Chinese sensitivities, since Beijing views Dalai Lama with suspicion and Tibetan activities in India as political.
    A series of high-level visits are lined up between the two countries, including visits by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There is buzz about a ‘high level visit’ from China.
    The debate
    There are two broad schools of thought within the Indian foreign policy establishment, and the wider strategic community, about the reset.
    The first is those who believe this is essential. The argument goes something like this. India and China have had a turbulent time over the past few years. China’s decision to block India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG); its position on black-listing Masood Azhar in UN; India’s opposition to China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative; and its deepening strategic engagement with Washington and positions on South China Sea have all contributed to trust deficit. The standoff in Doklam was a big blow to ties. And while an accident —in terms of a larger conflict — was averted, it showed the dangers inherent in the relationship.
    India cannot afford a conflict; its power gap with China is too large; it is neither militarily equipped nor economically positioned to take on Beijing; the US — under President Trump — is not a reliable partner. And thus, while protecting core interests like in Doklam, there must be an effort to normalise ties and build trust. It does not help to make China insecure.
    The second school of thought does not want confrontation either. But it believes that any effort to reset actually smells of weakness and could well reduce India’s leverage further. They hold that recent tensions are due to Chinese assertiveness – a result of its growing power and a reflection of President Xi Jinping’s personality. China’s deepening political engagement with India’s South Asian periphery; its expansion in Pakistan; its aggression on the land borders and Doklam are all instances of this new Chinese mood, which hurt India.
    In this backdrop, any ‘appeasement’ of China will embolden it further. India thus has no choice but to hold strong to any ‘cards’ it may have, including Tibet. It must bet on deepening strategic partnership with US as well as other countries with the ability to take on China. It must qualitatively step up the Quad (an initiative of India, Japan, US, Australia). And it must not worry about Chinese reactions. If anyone, it is India which has reason to be insecure – not China. When India is seen as strong, with options, Chinese behaviour will change. At the moment, the first school is dominant. Over the year, the equations in the India China relationship will be a key foreign policy story to watch.


  8. Apart from two big Tibetan events planned in Delhi being scrapped, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) can add another disgrace to the list, this time thanks to its own people, the Tibetans.

    On Saturday 17th March, a large number of international protestors gathered near the Tibetan parliament, seeking the impeachment of Tibetan President Sangay, saying his actions are akin to those of a dictator. The protestors are from India, Nepal, Europe, and the US and the protest will go on until the session ends on March 24. Lobsang Sangay definitely made a mark in Tibetan history as he is the first President that Tibetans protested to impeach.
    Tibetan govt faces protest from Tibetans amid strained relations with India
    S Gopal Puri| TNN | Mar 17, 2018, 11:04 IST
    DHARAMSHALA: Amid worsening relations of Tibetan government in exile and India government, the former was facing protest from Tibetans itself.
    Indian government’s recent move of asking its senior leaders and dignitaries had already scrapped various Tibetan events planned in Delhi.
    On Saturday, number of protestors gathered near the Tibetan parliament protesting against Lobsang Sangay, the president of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
    These were the members of the group Truth-Seeking Volunteers holding protest against Lobsang Sangay, leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile- Sikyong, following a rift between him and former speaker of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile Penpa Tsering.
    The protesters seek the impeachment of Tibetan President Sangay for actions which, they say, are akin to those of a dictator.
    They are also seeking a reply from Sangay and his cabinet for terminating the services of Penpa Tsering, former representative of the office of Tibet in Washington from the office.
    Tsering was sacked from the office on November 7, 2017, 15 months after his appointment. It is believed that the cause of Tsering’s ouster was that he raised the issue of a $ 1.5-million loan taken from the Tibet Fund in New York to purchase a new office in Washington.
    Sangay had clarified in the parliament that $ 1.5 million was not a loan but a grant.
    Thinley Kelsang, a protester, called for Sangay’s impeachment and said he had taken many decisions without the approval of the Tibetan parliament. There were enough reasons for his impeachment, he said.
    A petition for his impeachment was submitted to members of parliament, which is holding its 10-day budget session.
    The protesters from India, Nepal, Europe, and the US gathered at the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) premises. The protest will go on until the session ends on March 24.

    Tibetan govt faces protest from Tibetans

  9. It is understandable that national ministers refrained from attending events organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) following the leaked classified directive from the Indian Cabinet Secretary. But to have a State Minister of Himachal Pradesh (that Dharamsala falls under) skipping such an important event for the Tibetans in-exile is a clear message – India is now making ties with China, and the ‘Tibetan cause’ (Tibetan independence) is no longer useful to India. 

    Over the past few months, the Dalai Lama has made numerous statements that Tibet should remain part of China. He has been reaffirming his stance that he is not seeking independence for Tibet. Meanwhile, India is exercising a whole new approach – to make friends with China. After all, India’s national interest comes first.
    Himachal minister skips Dharamsala Tibetan function
    Shri Puri| TNN | Mar 10, 2018, 21:57 IST
    DHARAMSALA: In a major shock to the Tibetan administration in Dharamsala, state minister Kishan Kapoor, who was invited as the chief guest at the official function to commemorate the 59th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day, skipped the event.
    The minister and Tibetan minister evaded the queries in this regard.
    The event was organized at Tsuglagkhang (the main temple of the Dalai Lama at Mcleodganj) on Saturday.
    It remained a low-key affair owning to the controversy due to which the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) had to cancel its ‘Thank You India’ event scheduled at Delhi on March 31 and April 1.
    The event was cancelled after the an advisory was issued from the ministry of foreign affairs asking the dignitaries to stay away from the programme
    Following the advisory, the CTA was forced to shift the event from Delhi to Dharamsala.
    It was presumed that the had its bearing on the Tibetan National Uprising day function.
    CTA had announced that the Kapoor, minister for food and civil supplies and an MLA from Dharamsala seat, would be the chief guest at the function. However, Kishan Kapoor failed to turn up. Only BJP MP George Baker was present at the event.

    Himachal minister skips Dharamsala Tibetan function

  10. In response to the cancellation of the recent ‘Thank You India’ event in Delhi, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) released a video message by His Holiness the Dalai Lama saying that the Tibetans have not been seeking independence for Tibet from China since 1974. In addition, His Holiness further reiterate the mutual benefits of reconciliation between Tibetans in exile and China.

    This statement was very offensive to Indians who were very kind enough to host the Tibetan refugees for the last 60 years. Not only did the Tibetan community contribute nothing to India, they have also been using India in order to further their own cause. Now that India is changing their stance towards China, Tibetans are quick to turn around in favor of China and India is quickly abandoned. What is apparent in this speech is that India remains an undesired place to be called home.
    We’ve not sought independence for Tibet from China since 1974: Dalai Lama
    TNN | Updated: Mar 17, 2018, 11:03 IST
    DHARAMSHALA: Days after a Tibetan event in Delhi was cancelled and shifted to Dharamshala following the Union government note to its senior leaders and government functionaries to stay away from them, Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) on Friday came out with a video message of the Dalai Lama, saying they have not been seeking independence for Tibet from China since 1974.
    In his video message to the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), based in Washington DC, the Dalai Lama has pointed out that China and Tibet can have mutual benefits if reconciled. He’s heard saying: “Living within the People’s Republic of China, we can serve, we can help them and we can share our (ancient) knowledge. They, in turn, provide us means of dollars.”
    The occasion for the Tibetan leader’s message is the organization’s 30th founding day anniversary. The department of international relation and information, CTA, released an eight-minute clip of this video message here, wherein the Dalai Lama has spoken briefly on Tibetan’s middle-way approach and the support it has garnered. “Since 1974, we decided not to seek independence. So, now the middle-way approach…. Common interest is more important than one’s own national interest. With that kind of concept, I am very much willing to remain within the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese word ‘gongheguo’ (Republic), shows some kind of union is there,” the Dalai Lama is heard saying in the message.
    Seeking ICT’s help, the Tibetan spiritual leader goes on to say, “Your organization has been, for 30 years, showing genuine support for the Tibetan cause. I always claim that the supporter of Tibetan cause is not pro-Tibetan, but rather pro-justice.”

    We’ve not sought independence for Tibet 01

  11. I see many Indians expressing their displeasure with Tibetans on Twitter daily. Look at what they are saying now.




  12. Modi’s government’s direction is clear regarding the Tibetans – India wants the Tibetan government in exile to avoid indulging in any political activity against Beijing, and on the Indian side, it is stepping up its engagements with China to deepen economic and political cooperation before the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in June, of which Prime Minister Modi is attending the multilateral event.

    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval are scheduled to meet their Chinese counterparts before the SCO summit and ministerial engagements with China is expected to translate into a bilateral informal summit between Modi and Xi.

    Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha’s recent note asking all politicians and bureaucrats to refrain from participating in events organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) is a huge contrast to when Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in May 2014, this was when the then Prime Minister (now President) of the Tibetan government in exile Lobsang Sangay was invited for his swearing-in. As India denounce their strong support towards the Tibetans in exile, we know that the CTA’s power is dwindling down, especially when the Dalai Lama said that he wants to “voluntarily” put an end to the process of Dalai Lama succession.

    SCO ministerial summit: Swaraj, Sitharaman to meet their Chinese counterparts in Beijing
    The SCO summit will be in June in Qingdao with Prime Minister Modi attending the multilateral event.
    Updated: Mar 21, 2018 09:07 IST
    Shishir Gupta Hindustan Times, New Delhi
    The government’s engagement with the newly appointed Cabinet of Chinese President Xi Jinping will begin later this month with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman expected to meet their counterparts, state councillor Wang Yi and defence minister General Wei Fenghe, on the sidelines of SCO ministerial summit in Beijing from April 24-26.
    The meeting between Swaraj and Wang has been scheduled while the ministry of defence is expected to seek time from General Wei in a bid to build bilateral trust and cooperation. The SCO summit will be in June in Qingdao with Prime Minister Modi attending the multilateral event.
    South Block officials indicated that National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is also expected to fly to Beijing after returning from Washington this weekend to meet his counterpart Wang, who is also the special representative for the India-China boundary dialogue. Wang was appointed state councillor by President Xi on Monday after his predecessor Yang Jiechi was elevated to the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party.
    Top diplomats and China experts told HT that the ongoing engagement with Beijing is designed to deepen economic and political cooperation as Delhi has neither the intention of provoking its neighbour nor the desire to embark on a full-fledged confrontation. This was made clear when cabinet secretary PK Sinha wrote a letter on February 26, asking all politicians and bureaucrats to refrain from participating in events organised by the Tibetan government in exile to celebrate the 60th year of exile of His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
    While the Modi government wants the Tibetan government in exile to avoid indulging in any political activity perceived to be against Beijing, it is clear that it wants its core interests from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to the Indian Ocean to be fully protected. Just as Chinese core interests of Tibet and Taiwan are non-negotiable for Beijing, Delhi is opposed to any unilateral changing of the LAC or Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean. Indian opposition to China Pakistan Economic Corridor, passing through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, is now a matter of record. As reported earlier in HT, the ministerial engagement with China this month is expected to translate into a bilateral informal summit between Modi and Xi.


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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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