2017: Sacking of Penpa Tsering exposes more corruption and abuses by Tibetan leadership

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay has been accused of Machiavellian tactics to dispatch his political rival Penpa Tsering. The Kashag (Tibetan Cabinet-in-Exile) issued a statement to clarify Penpa Tsering’s sudden dismissal but it has only raised more questions.

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

The saga following the sudden sacking of Penpa Tsering as the Dalai Lama’s North American representative is far from over. Tibetan supporters of Penpa Tsering have been demanding valid explanations for his unceremonious dismissal by the Kashag (Cabinet), which is controlled by Sikyong Lobsang Sangay. Lobsang Sangay, who heads the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA; Tibetan leadership) is well known to view Penpa Tsering as his most dangerous political rival.

In an attempt to allay rising discontentment over the heavy-handed treatment of Penpa Tsering, on 18th November 2017, the Kashag offered additional information to support his dismissal. It is a move they claim to be motivated by “transparency and accountability purposes”.

However, it has taken serious threats by the people to protest against the CTA, and to boycott events related to the Sikyong, before the Kashag decided to be transparent. The fact is, left on its own, neither the CTA nor the Kashag, and certainly not Lobsang Sangay, has ever operated with transparency. But pressure from the Tibetan people is something they fear and will respond to.

The Kashag’s explanation reveals a number of disturbing facts:

  • That power-grabbing and political rivalry overrides everything else in Lobsang Sangay’s government. It is a growing culture that has impacted negatively on the Tibetan people’s collective objectives. The Kashag’s statement in fact confirms that there is still considerable animosity between Lobsang Sangay and Penpa Tsering even after the 2016 Sikyong elections. Neither is willing to put aside personal feelings for the collective good of the nation and people of Tibet.
  • Penpa Tsering does not view Lobsang Sangay to be a competent and trustworthy leader. It is the reason why Penpa Tsering asked so many questions of Lobsang Sangay’s intentions and his actions, and cast so much doubt. As their own statement says, there is a “trust deficit”.
  • If the Kashag’s justification is to be believed at all, Lobsang Sangay is willing to gamble with the Tibetan people’s future. According to the Kashag’s statement, Penpa Tsering was incapable in his post. However, it was the Kashag who appointed him to the post so in essence, they sent an incapable representative to a crucial post. North America is the CTA’s biggest supporter and closest ally (or rather, they used to be), and yet Lobsang Sangay was willing to compromise that relationship because it got Penpa Tsering out of his way in Dharamsala, so that his hold of power in the CTA would remain unchallenged.

As the Tibetan people’s attention is increasingly trained on Lobsang Sangay, many are now beginning to doubt his integrity.

  • Questions are raised about his sincerity and commitment to the Tibetan cause, which the ordinary Tibetans have staked their lives and future too. Why for instance does Sangay have an American passport and does not hold only the same Yellow Passport as all other ordinary Tibetans?
  • Why does he not subject himself to the same limitations as his own people, and gives himself special exemption to hold another citizenship? This is a pertinent question especially when Sangay’s government is asking ordinary Tibetans to reject Indian passports, which many are lawfully entitled to.
  • Having an Indian passport would no doubt improve the Tibetan refugee’s life. Yet, they are asked to forgo this and their efforts to get such a passport are even sabotaged by the Tibetan leadership. Meanwhile, the Sikyong and his cronies are already in possession of various foreign passports and citizenships. Why do Sangay and his cronies practice such double standards instead of leading by example?

Another one of the Kashag’s reasons for firing Penpa Tsering was his failure to take steps to protect the Dalai Lama from Dorje Shugden (Dolgyal) ‘threats’ during the Dalai Lama’s planned visit to the USA in June 2017. This is unsurprising for the CTA to cast blame away from itself; anyone can see how irrelevant the Shugden issue is in the Sangay-Penpa quarrel. In addition:

  • The Kashag is implying that the USA with its very competent intelligence force such as the CIA, the FBI and Secret Service cannot capably protect the Dalai Lama whereas the CTA can. It is a rather ridiculous proposition especially given the USA’s heightened security awareness after the 9/11 incident.
  • The only explanation for the Kashag to bring up the ‘Dogyal’ issue is to imply that Penpa Tsering is sympathetic to a group that Sangay has repeatedly framed as the enemy of the Tibetan people and the source of all their problems. To put it plainly, it is to make him an easier target for Tibetans to attack.
  • In any case, the Kashag’s statement admits that it has a standing order for all CTA officials and related bodies to constantly victimise a segment of the Tibetan people because of their religious belief. Why is the CTA monitoring the activities of private citizens? And why is the CTA expending resources to monitor Dorje Shugden practitioners when there is no ban on the practice, as they claim?

The Kashag further accused Penpa Tsering for failing to secure meetings and appointments for Lobsang Sangay during his May 2017 visit to the USA. But we have to ask:

  • What does Lobsang Sangay hope to achieve by meeting with American politicians and government officials? The USA has long subscribed to the One China policy, which essentially places Tibet under China’s sovereignty. No amount of talks with any American President, Congressman, Senator or bureaucrat can change this simple fact and the Kashag knows that.
  • Therefore such meetings have only one objective – for the Sikyong to ask for more money, aid and financial assistance, which make up almost 100% of the CTA’s revenue. It is all about money, money and more money.
  • The Kashag’s statement readily admits to money being the sole motivating factor, since all of their justifications for Penpa Tsering’s dismissal center on the fact he failed to secure meetings which will help them to secure money, and he asked questions about the funding too. And in this, the Kashag’s statement betrays its own incompetency to the point that it admits that even after 60 years of countless assistance, it is still relying purely on handouts.

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay (center) with Lodi Gyari (left). Lobsang Sangay dismissed Penpa Tsering from his role after too many questions were asked about financial irregularities that Sangay is involved with. Interesting, Lodi Gyari himself was recently embroiled in a money laundering scandal that saw his son-in-law’s bank accounts being frozen by Nepali authorities. They were alleged to have raised funds for Nepal earthquake victims, but these funds never actually reached the intended recipients.

Inadvertently, the Kashag’s explanation reveals that more scandals are brewing for the CTA’s Office of Tibet in the USA.

  • Over the years, we have seen news about misappropriation of funds. These were committed by different Tibetan NGOs that operate under the CTA, helmed by cronies of various Tibetan leaders. Now we are hearing that the five bank accounts of the Office of Tibet, which essentially represents the Dalai Lama, were at risk of being frozen and closed by the bank. Everyone knows that this only happens when there is malpractice and financial irregularities.
  • Questions must now be raised about the Office of Tibet’s financial conduct. And perhaps that was precisely what Penpa Tsering was attempting to do but in so doing, he raised issues that Sikyong Lobsang Sangay prefers to remain buried because the financial trail leads too closely to him.
  • For example, Penpa Tsering raised a question about a US$1.5 million loan which has been given by the Tibet Fund to quarters associated with Lobsang Sangay. In essence, the Sikyong was caught to be using funds meant for the welfare of Tibetan refugees as his own political war chest, to boost his election campaign and performance. Penpa Tsering also refused to back down when Lobsang Sangay attempted to reassign the loan as a gift or contribution within the audited accounts of the Tibet Fund. Penpa Tsering’s poking into this irregularity meant he had to go.

There is nothing in the Kashag’s explanation that has real substance. Instead we see very embarrassing and petty bickering about ‘who said what to whom’ about a female kalon. This is not professional conduct for a government that is asking the world to support its bid to have six million Tibetan lives in its hands when it is proven to be incapable of handling a single CTA outpost. The Penpa Tsering debacle exposes the CTA to be a crude, unprofessional, narrow-minded and a nickel-and-dime outfit of self-serving politicians.

Nothing in all these proceedings benefit the Tibetan people one bit. In any progressive government, the dismissal of a civil servant, such as that of Penpa Tsering, is a common thing. But when it comes to the CTA, such a simple procedure can threaten to dismantle the CTA and fracture the community even further. This is the system of government that has developed under Lobsang Sangay’s leadership and this is his legacy. It is a legacy of excuses and alibis instead of results; it is a legacy of disunity instead of harmony, of corruption instead of integrity, and of scapegoating instead of taking responsibility for lives that depend on the role of the Sikyong.

And this debacle only goes to show one thing – that when you ask the wrong questions of the CTA, when you try to hold them accountable, you will face swift and total retribution. In the CTA, when you threaten someone’s access to money, and their position and power, well, democracy be damned. No matter who you are, no matter how high you have risen, and no matter who you are friends with, you will be gone because only one thing matters – money. It is a lesson Penpa Tsering has learned the hard way, and it is a lesson that will resonate throughout the Tibetan community for a long, long time to come.


TIBET SUN: Kashag’s clarification on decision to replace North America Representative


TIBET SUN: Sikyong Lobsang Sangay! Where are Office of Tibet loan records?


TIBET.NET: Kashag’s clarification on decision to replace North America Representative

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  1. Dear Dalai Lama,

    Since you started the cruel ban against the 350 year Dorje Shugden practice, how has it benefit your Tibetan society and Buddhism in the world? Things have become worse and most educated Tibetans can see this. They don’t speak out not because they don’t see your ban as wrong, but you instill fear in them and not respect. It is like fear of a dictator. I am sorry to say so. Everyone is divided. There is no harmony. Before your ban there was more harmony and unity.

    By enacting the ban, you split the monasteries, split so many families, split regions in Tibet apart, split your disciples from you, split your own gurus from you, split Tibetan Buddhism apart. You have created so much disharmony.

    It is not democratic what you have done to ban a religion within your community. You always talk of tolerance and acceptance and democracy and yet you do not accept and tolerate something different from your beliefs. When people practice Dorje Shugden you ostracize them, ban them from seeing you, ban them from using Tibetan facilities. You know you have done that. There are videos that capture your speech and prove this point. You even had people expelled from monasteries just because they practice Dorje Shugden. Some of the monks you expelled have been in the monastery for over 40 years. Many older monks shed tears because of this.

    Many young educated Tibetans lost confidence in you as they saw the damage the Dorje Shugden ban created and they lose hope. Many have become free thinkers. They reject what you have done. So many people in the west left Buddhism because of the confusion you created with this ban against Dorje Shugden which is immoral.

    You could of had millions of people who practice Dorje Shugden to support, love and follow you, but you scared them away. They are hurt and very disappointed. They loved you and respected you deeply before the ban. It has been 60 years and you have failed to get Tibet back. Your biggest failure is not getting Tibet back after 57 years in exile. Now you are begging China to allow you to return to Tibet to the disappointment of thousands of people who fought for a free Tibet believing in you. So many self-immolated for a free Tibet and now you want Tibet to be a part of China with no referendum from Tibetans. Just like a dictator, you decide on your own. It was your government and you that lost Tibet in the first place. Your policies and style of doing things do not benefit Tibet and Buddhism. You have been the sole ruler of Tibet your whole life and you still have not gotten our country of Tibet back for us. Our families and us are separated. Yet you create more pain by creating a ban to further divide people. Please have compassion.

    No other Buddhist leader has banned or condemned any religion except for you. It looks very bad. You are a Nobel laureate and this is not fitting of a laureate. You should unite people and not separate them by religious differences.

    You said Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi did not do right to the Rohingya people in Myanmar due to religious differences, but you are doing the same thing to the Shugden Buddhists within your own society. There is a parallel in this. You separate the Shugden Buddhists from the others in Tibetan society.

    You have lost so many people who would have loved and supported you. You have lost so much support around the world. The Shugden Buddhists who love you number in the millions. When you are fast losing support from governments and private people, it will not do you well to lose more.

    After you are passed away in the future, the rift you created between the Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people will remain for a while and that will be your legacy. Disharmony. You will be remembered for this. Not as a hero but a disharmony creator.

    Dorje Shugden will spread and further grow, but you will be no more as you are a human. No one wishes you bad and in fact we hope you have a long and healthy life, but we have lost so much hope and have so much despair because of you. All the hundreds of Dorje Shugden lamas, tulkus and geshes are maturing and there are hundreds of Dorje Shugden monasteries in Tibet who will not give up Dorje Shugden. You have made a mistake. These hundreds of teachers and teachers to be will spread Dorje Shugden further in the future.

    The gurus that gave us Dorje Shugden as a spiritual practice and you have called these holy gurus wrong and they are mistaken in giving us Dorje Shugden. How can you insult our gurus whom we respect so much? If they can be wrong, then you can be wrong. Then all gurus can be wrong. So no one needs to listen to any guru? You have created this trend. It is not healthy. Your own gurus practiced Dorje Shugden their whole lives. Your own gurus were exemplary and highly learned.

    Dalai Lama you have created so much pain with this ban against so many people due to religion. You are ageing fast. Are you going to do anything about it or stay stubborn, hard and un-moving. You show a smile and preach peace and harmony wherever you go. But will you do the same to your own people? Please rectify the wrong you have done. Please before it is too late. You can create harmony again or you can pass away in the future with this legacy of peace. May you live long and think carefully and admit what was a mistake in having this unethical ban against Dorje Shugden religion.

  2. Why doesn’t the United States and its allies end Refugee Status for the useless Tibetans? They have been refugees for 60 years now and don’t tell me they still cannot get their lives back in order?

    Tibetans really know how to put on a good show and use people, take their money and do nothing in return.

    Trump and Allies Seek End to Refugee Status for Millions of Palestinians
    In internal emails, Jared Kushner advocated a “sincere effort to disrupt” the U.N.’s relief agency for Palestinians.
    Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, has quietly been trying to do away with the U.N. relief agency that has provided food and essential services to millions of Palestinian refugees for decades, according to internal emails obtained by Foreign Policy.
    His initiative is part of a broader push by the Trump administration and its allies in Congress to strip these Palestinians of their refugee status in the region and take their issue off the table in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, according to both American and Palestinian officials. At least two bills now making their way through Congress address the issue.
    Kushner, whom Trump has charged with solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been reluctant to speak publicly about any aspect of his Middle East diplomacy. A peace plan he’s been working on with other U.S. officials for some 18 months has been one of Washington’s most closely held documents.
    But his position on the refugee issue and his animus toward the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is evident in internal emails written by Kushner and others earlier this year.
    “It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA,” Kushner wrote about the agency in one of those emails, dated Jan. 11 and addressed to several other senior officials, including Trump’s Middle East peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt.
    “This [agency] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace,” he wrote.
    The United States has helped fund UNRWA since it was formed in 1949 to provide relief for Palestinians displaced from their homes following the establishment of the State of Israel and ensuing international war. Previous administrations have viewed the agency as a critical contributor to stability in the region.
    But many Israel supporters in the United States today see UNRWA as part of an international infrastructure that has artificially kept the refugee issue alive and kindled hopes among the exiled Palestinians that they might someday return home—a possibility Israel flatly rules out.
    Critics of the agency point in particular to its policy of granting refugee status not just to those who fled Mandatory Palestine 70 years ago but to their descendants as well—accounting that puts the refugee population at around 5 million, nearly one-third of whom live in camps across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, and Gaza.
    By trying to unwind UNRWA, the Trump administration appears ready to reset the terms of the Palestinian refugee issue in Israel’s favor—as it did on another key issue in December, when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
    In the same January email, Kushner wrote: “Our goal can’t be to keep things stable and as they are. … Sometimes you have to strategically risk breaking things in order to get there.”
    Kushner raised the refugee issue with officials in Jordan during a visit to the region in June, along with Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt. According to Palestinian officials, he pressed the Jordan to strip its more than 2 million registered Palestinians of their refugee status so that UNRWA would no longer need to operate there.
    “[Kushner said] the resettlement has to take place in the host countries and these governments can do the job that UNRWA was doing,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
    She said the Trump administration wanted rich Arab Gulf states to cover the costs Jordan might incur in the process.
    “They want to take a really irresponsible, dangerous decision and the whole region will suffer,” Ashrawi said.
    Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ chief negotiator, told reporters in June that Kushner’s delegation had said it was ready to stop funding UNRWA altogether and instead direct the money—$300 million annually—to Jordan and other countries that host Palestinian refugees.
    “All this is actually aimed at liquidating the issue of the Palestinian refugees,” hesaid.
    The White House declined to comment on the record for this story. A senior executive branch official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. policy regarding the U.N.’s Palestinian refugee program “has been under frequent evaluation and internal discussion. The administration will announce its policy in due course.”
    Jordanian officials in New York and Washington did not respond to queries about the initiative.
    Kushner and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, both proposed ending funding for UNRWA back in January. But the State Department, the Pentagon, and the U.S. intelligence community all opposed the idea, fearing in part that it could fuel violence in the region.
    The following week, the State Department announced that that United States would cut the first $125 million installment of its annual payment to UNRWA by more than half, to $60 million.
    “UNRWA has been threatening us for six months that if they don’t get a check they will close schools. Nothing has happened,” Kushner wrote in the same email.
    State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said at the time that the U.S. had no intention of eliminating funding for Palestinian refugees, and that it was taking time to explore ways to reform UNRWA and to convince other countries to help Washington shoulder the financial burden of aiding the Palestinians.
    But the following day, Victoria Coates, a senior advisor to Greenblatt, sent an email to the White House’s national security staff indicating that the White House was mulling a way to eliminate the U.N.’s agency for Palestinian refugees.
    “UNRWA should come up with a plan to unwind itself and become part of the UNHCR by the time its charter comes up again in 2019,” Coates wrote.
    She noted that the proposal was one of a number of “spitball ideas that I’ve had that are also informed by some thoughts I’ve picked up from Jared, Jason and Nikki.”
    Other ideas included a suggestion that the U.N. relief agency be asked to operate on a month-to-month budget and devise “a plan to remove all anti-Semitism from educational materials.”
    The ideas seemed to track closely with proposals Israel has been making for some time.
    “We believe that UNRWA needs to pass from the world as it is an organization that advocates politically against Israel and perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem,” said Elad Strohmayer, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
    Strohmayer said that Palestinians are the only population that is able to transfer its refugee status down through generations.
    The claim, though long advanced by Israel, is not entirely true.
    In an internal report from 2015, the State Department noted that the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees “recognizes descendants of refugees as refugees for purposes of their operations.” The report, which was recently declassified, said the descendants of Afghan, Bhutanese, Burmese, Somali, and Tibetan refugees are all recognized by the U.N. as refugees themselves.
    Of the roughly 700,000 original Palestinian refugees, only a few tens of thousands are still alive, according to estimates.
    The push to deny the status to most Palestinians refugees is also gaining traction in Congress.
    Last week, Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado, introduced a bill that would limit the United States to assisting only the original refugees. Most savings in U.N. contributions would be directed to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United States’ principal international development agency. But USAID is currently constrained by the Taylor Force Act, which restricts the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian Authority until it ends a policy of providing aid to families of fallen terrorists.
    “Instead of resettling Palestinian refugees displaced as a result of the Arab-Israeli Conflict of 1948, UNRWA provides aid to those they define as Palestinian refugees until there is a solution they deem acceptable to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Lamborn’s bill states.
    “This policy does not help resettle the refugees from 1948 but instead maintains a refugee population in perpetuity.”
    A congressional aide familiar with the legislation said its intent isn’t to gut UNRWA funding, but redirect assistance to descendants through USAID.
    “The people that are suffering should still get assistance, but through appropriately defined humanitarian channels and aid programs,” the aide said.
    Similarly, Sen. James Lankford, (R-Okla.), has drafted legislation that would redirect U.S. funding away from UNRWA and to other local and international agencies.
    The bill, which has not yet officially been introduced, would require the U.S. secretary of state certify by 2020 that the United Nations has ended its recognition of Palestinian descendants as refugees.
    “The United Nations should provide assistance to the Palestinians in a way that makes clear that the United Nations does not recognize the vast majority of Palestinians currently registered by UNRWA as refugees deserving refugee status,” reads a draft obtained by Foreign Policy.
    Previous U.S. administrations have maintained that the vast majority of Palestinian refugees will ultimately have to be absorbed in a new Palestinian state or naturalized in the countries that have hosted them for generations.
    But the fate of the refugee issue was expected to be agreed to as part of a comprehensive peace pact that resulted in the establishment of a Palestinian state.
    “It’s very clear that the overarching goal here is to eliminate the Palestinian refugees as an issue by defining them out of existence,” said Lara Friedman, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.
    “This isn’t going to make peace any easier. It’s going to make it harder.”

    DS.com Trump and Allies Seek End to Refugee Status for Millions of Palestinians (1)

  3. Supreme Court of India JUSTICE Mr. MARKANDEY KATJU (RETD) writes that Tibet is much better under the Chinese than it was under the lamas who only wanted to make the populace slaves. It was feudal and it will never return to the backwardness again.

    Time has come to acknowledge that Tibet has vastly improved under Chinese rule
    JUSTICE MARKANDEY KATJU (RETD) | 12 August, 2018
    From a terribly poor state hinged on a feudal system, Tibet has modernised and grows faster than the rest of China
    This article has been prompted by Jyoti Malhotra’s article in ThePrint ‘Tibetan government quietly changed its PM’s designation. India won’t be unhappy about it‘.
    China’s annexation of Tibet in 1959, ousting the Dalai Lama, had attracted it worldwide criticism. The Dalai Lama fled and was granted asylum in India, where he set up a government-in-exile with its headquarters in Dharamshala.
    The Chinese claim Tibet on the grounds that it has been part of the country since the Yuan dynasty of the 13th century, which is disputed by the government-in-exile. But let us leave this that matter aside.
    The more important question is whether Chinese rule has benefited Tibet.
    The answer is that it undoubtedly has. As the Reuters’ Ben Blanchard writes: “Today Tibet is richer and more developed than it has ever been, its people healthier, more literate, better dressed and fed”.
    Although Ben goes on to argue that this development masks “a deep sense of unhappiness among many Tibetans”, I will disagree. How can anyone be unhappy if s/he is healthier, better fed and better clothed?
    Under the rule of the Dalai Lamas (Buddhist priests), the people of Tibet were terribly poor, almost entirely illiterate, and lived like feudal serfs.
    Today, Tibet presents a totally different picture. The illiteracy rate in Tibet has gone down from 95 per cent in the 1950s to 42 per cent in 2000. It has modern schools, universities, engineering and medical colleges, modern hospitals, freeways, supermarkets, fast food restaurants, mobile stores and apartment buildings. The capital Lhasa is like any other modern city.
    While the economic growth in the rest of China has slowed down to about 7 per cent, Tibet has had a 10 per cent growth rate in the last two decades.
    Tibet has huge mineral wealth, which was only awaiting Chinese technology to be tapped. Nowadays, it has numerous hydro and solar power plants and industries running with Chinese help.
    Tibetan literature is flourishing, contrary to claims that the Chinese want to crush Tibetan culture.
    Of course, now the lamas cannot treat their people as slaves.
    The so-called ‘government-in-exile’, of which Lobsang Sangay claims to be the President, is a fake organisation, funded by foreign countries. They only want to restore the feudal Tibet, ruled by the reactionary lamas, something which will never happen.
    The writer is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India

  4. The cracks in Tibetan society are starting to show, and it is now coming to the attention of local Indians who have all but identified the Tibetan leadership as the source of the divisions. According to this author, disunity amongst the Tibetans is now creating problems for Indian law enforcement agencies, and this disunity may culminate in young Tibetans holding silent grudges against their host country. It is incredible that after six decades of generosity from India, Indians are now facing the very real possibility Tibetans can be ungrateful towards India. The Tibetan leadership totally failed to impart positive values upon their exiled community, like gratitude for those kindest to them and the need to repay these kindnesses with real, tangible results. It’s also very unlikely that the Tibetan leadership will now start to do this, after six decades of failing to do so. Indians need to realise this, and see that there is no benefit for their nation to align themselves with the Tibetan leadership, and there never will be.
    Tibetan disunity not in India’s interest
    John S. Shilshi
    Updated: August 7, 2018, 11:00 AM
    India is home to the Dalai Lama and an estimated 120,000 Tibetan refugees. Though this humanitarian gesture on India’s part comes at the cost of risking New Delhi’s relations with China, India has never wavered in ensuring that Tibetans live with dignity and respect. Notified settlements across the country were made available so that they can live as independently as possible and practice Tibetan religion and culture. They are also allowed to establish centres of higher learning in Tibetan Buddhism. As a result, several reputed Buddhist institutes came up in Karnataka, and in the Indian Himalayan belt. In what may be termed as a gesture well reciprocated, and because of the respect and influence His Holiness the Dalai Lama commands, the Tibetan diaspora also lived as a peaceful community, rarely creating problems for India’s law enforcement agencies.
    The situation, however, changed from 2000 onwards when unity amongst Tibetans suffered some setback due to developments like the Karmapa succession controversy and the controversy over worshiping of Dorje Shugden. In a unique case of politics getting the better of religion, two senior monks of the Karma kargyue sect of Tibetan Buddhism, Tai Situ Rinpoche and late Shamar Rinpoche, developed serious differences after the demise of Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the 16th Karmapa, in 1981. This animosity ultimately led to emergence of two 17th Karmapa candidates in the early nineties. While Tai Situ Rinpoche identified and recognised UghyanThinley Dorje, late Shamar Rinpoche anointed Thinley Thaye Dorje as his Karmapa candidate. Enthronement of their respective protégés at the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim, the supreme seat of the Karma Kargue linage, being their primary objective, both started indulging in activities monks normally are expected to, and bitterness spewed against each other.
    The bitter rivalry assumed a new dimension when UghyenThinley Dorje suddenly appeared in India in January 2000. The competition became fiercer and hectic political lobbying, never known in the history of Tibetan Buddhism on Indian soil, became common place. Apart from pulling strings at their disposal in Sikkim as well as in the power corridors of New Delhi, these senior monks spat against each other with allegations and counter allegations, widening the gaps between their supporters. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, choosing to favour one of the candidates—a decision many Tibet watchers felt was ill-timed—had also limited possible scope of rapprochement. Hence, the Karma Kargyue followers are now vertically divided, while the camps are dragged into a long drawn legal battle.
    Another development that unfortunately split the Tibetans is the controversy over Shugden worshipping, which again is an internal matter of the Gelugpa sect, to which the Dalai Lama belongs. It erupted as a result of the Dalai Lama urging Tibetans to refrain from worshiping Dorje Shugden, a deity believed to be a protector, according to Tibetan legend. Shugden practitioners, who felt offended by the call, describe it as an attack on freedom of religion, a right, which Dalai Lama himself tirelessly fought for. On the other hand, die hard Dalai Lama followers perceived the questioning of the decision as one challenging the wisdom of the Dalai Lama and mounted massive pressure on Dorje Shugden practitioners to relent, with some even demolishing the statues of the deity. The rivalry ultimately led to split in two Gelug monasteries in Karnataka, and Serpom and Shar Garden monasteries in Bylakupe and Mundgod respectively came under the control of Shugden followers. The bitterness associated with the split is exemplified by the fact that till today, members of these monasteries are treated as some sort of outcasts by the others. Thus, for the first time, the Tibetan diaspora in India gave birth to sections opposed to the Dalai Lama, with spillover effects in Tibet and elsewhere.
    For India, with a fragile internal security profile, a divided Tibetan population on its soil is not good news. It has several long-term implications. It is common knowledge that China considers Dalai Lama as a secessionist, one plotting to divide their country. The latter’s claim of “all that Tibetans were asking for, was a status of genuine autonomy within the Constitution of the Peoples’ Republic of China”, had fallen into deaf ears. China also considers him as someone who plays to the Indian tune to tickle China. Therefore, at a time when China has successfully shrunk the Dalai Lama’s space internationally, India continuing to extend the usual space for him is viewed as complicity. Sharp reaction from China when he was allowed to visit Arunachal Pradesh in April 2017, is a recent example. Such being the delicate nature of India-China relations on matters and issues concerning Tibetans, India can hardly afford to ignore the division within the diaspora. Past experience of dubious elements from Tibet having succeeded in infiltrating the Central Tibetan Administration, including the security wing, should be a warning.
    It is also time India understands the reason behind Tibetans seeking Indian passports, despite an existing arrangement for issue of Identity Certificates, which is passport equivalent. Some had even successfully taken recourse to legal remedy on the issue, and left the government of India red-faced. These changing moods should not be viewed as desires by Tibetans to become Indian citizens. They are triggered by the pathetic state of affairs associated with issuing of Identity Certificates, where delays in most cases are anything between six months to one year. Early streamlining of the process will drastically reduce their desire to hold Indian passport. It will also remove the wrongly perceived notion among some educated Tibetan youth, that the cumbersome process was a ploy by India to confine them in this country. While India should not shy from requesting the Dalai Lama to use his good offices to end all differences within the community in the interest of India’s internal security, it will also be necessary to ensure that young Tibetans do not nurse a silent grudge against the very country they called their second home.

  5. Although the Dalai Lama has offered an apology, the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) still expressed their disappointment over his controversial comment on Nehru, the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC). Dalai Lama called Nehru self-centred.

    The Congress said Dalai Lama being a foreigner should shun and refrain from interfering in the internal as well as external affairs of India.

    Dalai Lama should abstain from imparting controversial information to students: Arunachal Congress
    Dalai Lama should know that a spiritual leader like him is shouldering great expectation: APCC
    | DAMIEN LEPCHA | ITANAGAR | August 12, 2018 9:58 pm
    disappointment over the recent statement made by Tibetan Spiritual Leader the 14th Dalai Lama in which he called Jawaharlal Nehru, the former Prime Minister of India as “self-centered” and the one responsible for parting India and Pakistan.
    “Although Dalai Lama expressed regret over his controversial comment, the APCC is extremely thwarted by it. A Tibetan spiritual leader calling names to an Indian leader who sweated most to keep him and his followers safe from Chinese aggression is simply not acceptable. Today, India is home to lakhs of Tibetan refugees who are living in 37 settlements and 70 scattered communities across different states of India,” APCC vice-president Minkir Lollen said in a statement on Sunday.
    “Dalai Lama may have forgotten that India provided a beam of light and hope to Tibetans remaining in Chinese-dominated Tibet and in the neighbouring Chinese provinces politically cut off from the Tibetan heart land. All these happened only because India has great leaders like Gandhi and Nehru who took the responsibility of social burden to shelter thousands of persecuted Tibetans then in 1959,” Lollen added.
    Minkir said Dalai Lama should know that a spiritual leader like him is shouldering great expectation, hope and trust of millions on record and the same are watching his contribution towards the mankind.
    “In such circumstances, Dalai Lama should abstain from imparting partial and controversial information to the students who are the torch bearer of the nation,” the Congress said.
    Further stating that the statement of the spiritual leader could be a politically motivated one and made with an effort to approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi for survival of his continuation in the country, the Congress said Dalai Lama being a foreigner should shun and refrain from interfering in the internal as well as external affairs of India.

  6. Well, this shows clearly how un-democratic CTA is. Penpa Tsering should had known better since he was part of this unholy union. I guess he had been lulled by his comfortable position in the USA that he thought he had the clout to take down Lobsang Sangay. Apparently he thought wrong. And now he is out of the game! Even demonstrations outside the CTA’s headquarters had not helped him one bit. Instead the Sikyong challenged them to sue him. Wow! I guess he has absolute power and the people allowed him so. Now he even dares take on the Dalai Lama in his propaganda tirade against China, even though knowing this will damage the Dalai Lama’s wish to return to Tibet. Very audacious! In front of the Dalai Lama, Sikyong acts all in agreement but at the back he is the wolf that constantly seeks to fill his pockets with retirement funds taken from sponsors and meant for their refugee programmes. I must commend him though. After so many years in position and with such open corruption that he conjures, he is still so entrenched that no one dare challenge him. Even the Dalai Lama keeps quiet and the people simply do not care enough of the Dalai Lama that they allow Sikyong to do as he pleases. Such a chaotic situation that who would be surprise when China says NO! Tibetans in Tibet are better off with China’s governance than under CTA’s. At the very least they are accorded so much more rights in exchange for some rules to regulate peace within their region.

  7. The CTA has disappointed the Tibetans again and again. They promise to bring Tibetans back to Tibet but until today, 60 years have passed the Tibetans are still refugees. Life as a refugee is not easy, the Tibetans have had enough and many of them no longer want to pursue the Tibet cause.

    It is also very clear to see that the CTA is only using the Tibetans to benefit themselves, many Tibetans see that so they are not following the direction of the CTA anymore. With so many negative news and no result from the CTA, Tibetans have given up on the Free Tibet movement. It is no surprise the people who joined the uprising anniversary event is getting fewer.

    All I can say is the CTA is a failure in leading its community. The main reason is that people who are in the CTA only wants benefits for themselves, they don’t care about the Tibetans. They want money and power but they don’t want to work hard. The Tibetans have realised they have been used by the CTA for all these years and there is no point to rely on the CTA 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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