Dalai Lama Mocks Trump

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By: Ashok Rao

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is the world’s most famous Buddhist1, and is heralded as a shining example of wisdom, compassion, understand and peace. Some have even regarded him as the most beloved and recognized leader of our time2.

By convention, he is the ‘head’ of the Tibetan Buddhist church and many regard him as the “Pontiff of Buddhism”3. Therefore, it is only to be expected for the Dalai Lama to act in a proper manner, have decorum and an air of sanctity because he is regarded as an example to follow for millions in the world. However, the Dalai Lama was very recently seen taking pleasure in mocking someone he has never met, which is unprecedented behaviour for a spiritual leader especially when the Dalai Lama’s main activities revolve around teaching Buddhism to large public audiences all over the world as a Buddhist monk.

The Dalai Lama is also known for his humor, and why shouldn’t he be allowed to tell a joke or two, but there is a big difference between telling a funny joke in a parody where it is appropriate and poking fun at someone especially when it is about someone’s appearance.

But this is precisely what the Dalai Lama did during an interview with Piers Morgan4 which was aired on British television channel ITV on 22 September 2016. In it, the Dalai Lama brazenly ridiculed the then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. A clip of this interview was posted on to YouTube by CNN5 and has been watched over 162,000 times, and has garnered many negative comments about the Dalai Lama’s actions. This cannot be good for the Tibetan people in exile and for the religion that the Dalai Lama is supposed to represent. It implies the religious leader is prone to public relations gaffes and it redirects attention away from his message, instead compelling the audience to focus on the inappropriate remarks. After all, this is not the first time the Dalai Lama has received negative and widespread media coverage over his flippant comments about physical appearance that Buddhism counsels its adherents to look beyond.

Some of the negative remarks by netizens about the Dalai Lama’s act of mocking the President-elect Trump. Click on image to enlarge.

Some of the negative remarks by netizens about the Dalai Lama’s act of mocking the President-elect Trump. Click on image to enlarge.

Some of the negative remarks by netizens about the Dalai Lama’s act of mocking the President-elect Trump. Click on image to enlarge.

This negative backlash against the Dalai Lama’s actions mirrors what occurred in September 2015, when many expressed shock and disapproval of the Dalai Lama’s sexist and boorish comments about women.6 In yet another interview the Dalai Lama inferred that a woman, and especially his successor (were she to be female), must be attractive otherwise she would be ‘not much use’. In other words, as far as the ‘head’ of Tibetan Buddhism is concerned, you judge a woman by her looks and you place values in looks and nothing else. Notwithstanding that Buddhism teaches the emptiness and impermanence of all things, the Dalai Lama validated chauvinism and a shallow perception of people’s qualities.

Shocked, people all over the world responded by firm criticisms of the Dalai Lama’s comments and this gave rise to a now popular hashtag #DalaiLamaSexist on the social media platform Twitter. Again, this does not augur well for the Tibetan people and Tibetan Buddhism and there will be harmful repercussions.

The race for the White House is now over and the person that the Dalai Lama recklessly mocked is the President of the most powerful nation in the world. It also happens to be the country that is the closest ally of the Tibetan cause. It is widely known that the majority of Tibetans living in America supported Hillary Clinton, and those Tibetans who were entitled to vote, cast their votes for her. We see this preference clearly in the way the International Campaign for Tibet blog proudly posted a picture of the Dalai Lama and Hillary Clinton, endorsing Clinton as ‘The Next American President’7. The reason is easy to see – Clinton as US President is more likely than Trump to maintain support for the Tibetans in exile and allow the Tibetan leadership to stay its course of 50 years and counting, of doing nothing and making no effort to procure real Tibetan freedom.

Hillary Clinton, the choice of the Tibetans? Click on image to enlarge.

After mocking Donald Trump in such a public and belittling way, the Tibetan leadership obviously panicked and was amongst the first to jump in to congratulate President-elect Donald Trump following the election results8. Perhaps the Tibetan leadership did not expect Donald Trump to win and hence they thought they could afford to poke fun of someone who was of little use to them.

But the fact is that the United States has been providing the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) with millions of dollars in aid on an annual basis. With Donald Trump winning the election, the CTA rice bowl may be in jeopardy and hence they had to make amends for what could be a political and financial loss to the Tibetan leadership. That would explain Prime Minster Lobsang Sangay’s letter of congratulation to President-elect Donald Trump, groveling to cover for the mistake that the Dalai Lama made. This faux pas has become characteristic of the Tibetan leadership. If they cannot hoodwink or intimidate you, they resort to boot-licking. The Tibetan leadership does not seem to have a firm set of policies or even principles in place that govern their purpose and direction. Instead they send an aged Dalai Lama to charm the world but all charms wear thin and then the true character of the leadership shows.

Tibetan leadership reminding Trump to continue America’s support to Tibet in their congratulatory message. Click on image to enlarge.

Half a century after the Tibetans went into exile, the CTA is still not self-sufficient but continues to receive aid generously bestowed on them by various governments and individuals. For example in 2014, US$19 million was spent by the United States government on various projects related to the Tibetan people, while at least US$6 million was allocated for Tibetan use in 2016. In Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s letter dated 1 February 2016, he stated that the United States government also grants the CTA its assistance to alleviate poverty within the Tibetan refugee populace and for the promotion of democratic ideals and governance9. These sums do not even take into account the vast private donations that the CTA and their associated bodies receive from wealthy, private donors. Yet the Tibetans refugees are still nowhere close to their goal and the majority of Tibetan people continue to languish in the exile settlements with a bleak future facing them. After 50 years of global support and aid to the CTA, the Tibetan leadership in exile still has to depend on handouts and this shows their incapability to manage their own affairs and chart a future for themselves. And yet, the same group of corrupt politicians claims to be able to manage 6 million Tibetans and engage in complex statecraft with powerful neighbors and enter sophisticated trade agreements with the world.

As the Dalai Lama continues to create public relations disasters, the CTA’s gravy train may be coming to an end. As the Tibetans in exile hope that The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (TPA)10, a core legislative measure guiding United States policy toward Tibet, will continue to provide support to alleviate their woes, the new US President may have other ideas. In an interview with New York Times in July, President-elect Donald Trump said that he prefers to focus on the problems in his own country and that it is hard to get involved in other countries when Americans “can’t see straight in our own country”.11 During yet another occasion, Trump referred to the Chinese government’s crackdown of the Tiananmen Square protest as the Chinese authorities demonstrating the power of a government in putting down a “riot” with strength. Loosely translated, it means the CTA is becoming irrelevant and less important and that the Tibetan leadership may need to look elsewhere for friends but there are no more friends who wish to ignore and oppose China. America was the CTA’s closest ally but that was before the Tibetan leadership made fun of America’s new boss.

Trump wants to focus on fixing ‘our own mess’. Click on image to enlarge.

Trump wants to focus on fixing ‘our own mess’. Click on image to enlarge.



  1. Worldwide popularity of Dalai Lama demonstrated in poll before 80th birthday https://www.savetibet.org/worldwide-popularity-of-dalai-lama-demonstrated-in-poll-before-80th-birthday/
  2. The Best of the Dalai Lama: Life, Quotes, Teachings, and Books http://www.lionsroar.com/category/teachers-spotlights/the-dalai-lama/
  3. A Visit with His Holiness The Dalai Lama http://www.wernererhardfoundation.org/dalai-lama.html
  4. Piers Morgan meets the Dalai Lama http://www.itv.com/goodmorningbritain/news/piers-morgan-meets-the-dalai-lama
  5. Watch the Dalai Lama impersonate Donald Trump https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxx6FVrQQ2s
  6. Dalai Lama’s ‘sexist’ quip ruffles equality activists https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/24/dalai-lama-sexist-quip-ruffles-equality-activists
  7. The Next American President and Tibet https://weblog.savetibet.org/2016/08/the-next-american-president-and-tibet/
  8. Dalai Lama, CTA congratulate US President-elect Trump http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=38264
  9. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s Warning Over Unethical Tibetan Elections http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/news/congressman-dana-rohrabachers-warning-over-unethical-tibetan-elections/
  10. Tibetan Policy Act https://www.savetibet.org/policy-center/tibetan-policy-act/
  11. Transcript: Donald Trump on NATO, Turkey’s Coup Attempt and the World http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/22/us/politics/donald-trump-foreign-policy-interview.html


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  1. May vajrakilaya destroy all harmful powers that are hostile against wisdom and compassion – outer, inner and secret – and may the wrath of wisdom and compassion of the three kayas protect all lineages, all teachers and all students of dharma, may their wisdom and compassion increase further and further and stay forever firm.

    May all dharmapalas protect all mind direct and all oral transmissions of dharma from sambhogakaya to nirmanakaya and may all buddhas of sambhogakaya hide and transmit all dharma teachings for all beings within nirmanakaya of present and future that they can enter their conciousnesscontinuum for the benifit of all beings.

    May I take rebirth to nirmanakya as an buddha to teach all beings dharma and to help them with wisdom and compassion to liberate themself from all suffering and all causes of suffering.

  2. It is sad that the Dalai Lama is making one faux pas after another discrediting himself in the eyes of the west. On the secular level, he is losing the respect and following of the west. After being the darling of the west, this is a very hard fall.

    What will happen to the CTA once the respect and funding dries up? Are they ready to face the world on their own rather than riding on the Dalai Lama’s coat tail. as now there may be no more coat tails for them to ride on.

    I hope that Dalai Lama gets to bring in someone who can advise him better on the ways of the world.

  3. Clearly the CTA’s biasness has resulted in them suffering from the “foot in mouth” disease (Re: Calling Hillary Clinton the next US President). How are you going to cultivate President-to-be Trump’s support I don’t know.

    I observe that the fractious nature of Tibetan society has not changed since the days of tribal wars. Only now, it is happening outside of Tibet rather than inside.

    Please India, don’t get conned into joining the CTA’s Game Of Thrones.

  4. For more context as to why HH Dalai Lama went to the extent of mocking President-to-be Trump and the CTA echoed a similar sentiment by endorsing Hillary Clinton as the next President of the USA, one just has to look at who HH Dalai Lama’s biggest American supporters are – the husband and wife team of Senator Diane Feinstein and investment banker Richard Blum.

    From Wikipedia on Senator Diane Feinstein:

    Presidential politics

    As a superdelegate, Feinstein had declared that she would support Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. However, once Barack Obama became the presumptive nominee for the party, she fully backed his candidacy. Days after Obama amassed enough delegates to win the Democratic Party nomination,

    Feinstein lent her Washington, D. C., home to both Clinton and Obama to have a private one-on-one meeting.[46] Feinstein did not attend the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver because she had fallen and broken her ankle earlier in the month.[47]

    She chaired the United States Congress Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, and acted as mistress of ceremonies, introducing each participant at the 2009 presidential inauguration.[48]

    Heading into the 2016 Presidential Election, Senator Feinstein was one of sixteen Democratic female senators to sign a letter, on October 20, 2013, endorsing Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee.

    Here’s a nice picture of HH Dalai Lama, Hillary Clinton and Senator Diane Feinstein together featured on the International Campaign for Tibet’s website:


  5. Why dont those hipocrites that ceiticise the dalai lama go fuck them selves they cleary are trump followers

  6. I am a fan of many Dalai Lama’s quotes and his zen-like sharings to apply Buddhist teachings on day-to-day life, hence I can certainly imagine that His Holiness might have gotten carried away at this instance. In the world at large, it is common for certain expectation to be associated with people who have don the robes or hold religious role. This is similar to the expectation upon country leaders. They are expected not to openly make negative remarks of other leaders simply for the fact to have respect for others, especially the leader or potential leader of another country. If the leader, i.e. Dalai Lama is seen or heard as disrespectful, no matter how insignificant the remark or how true the remark may be, he is indirectly validating chauvinism and condoning shallow perception of people’s qualities. That does not jave with His Holiness’ teaching at all.

  7. I wonder if the Dalai Lama can have a discussion with the Dalai Lama with a straight face? hmmm.

    It is possible the whole world is shocked by Trump winning, even Hilary made several overtures to celebrate her win, yet the inevitable has happened.

    I can only hope that the Trump administration will take the CTA to task in their handling of funds for the Tibetans and a greater transparency and checks on how CTA spends hard earned American dollars.

  8. After reading this, I learned to be more mindful especially to avoid hurtful speech and idle speech. For this instance, HH Dalai Lama brazenly ridiculed the then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was only within 10 seconds, but the result was, many negative remarks received about the Dalai Lama’s act.

    Although we might not as famous as His Holiness tO receive such huge amount in negative remarks, but wise speech is necessary and requires our effort to avoid harming others as well as ourselves.

  9. If that’s the extent of it, then it is surely the writer of this verbosity that is full of shit, and not the Dalai Lama.

  10. Ernest Oelofse – say what you want. Your vulgarities serve no purpose in validating your comment or giving it any kind of credibility. The fact remains the Dalai Lama made fun of Trump, thinking he would not win and now the Tibetan leadership are scrambling to undo the damage. Trump is a businessman and his first and foremost priority is to make money. Can he make money by aligning himself with the Tibetan leadership? Absolutely not. Will Trump let the American government continue to keep wasting money on the Tibetan leadership with their annual sponsorship? I don’t think so, not when there is no benefit for himself. So good luck trying to keep the cash cow happy, Dharamsala. Under the Trump administration, there is no room for beggars and thieves.

  11. Too bad for the CTA, now they have to bootlick the new president but with even lower chances. As it has been said before, Trump will not spend money easily. So good luck CTA … the good days are over…

  12. The Shugden groups can dare defy the Dalai Lama because they don’t have a country. The Tibetans are scattered all over the world and they have their various power basis from their various countries. I’ve spoken to Ms. Dhardon Sharling about this. If all the Tibetans were back in Tibet, they would have no chance to defy the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama’s government would crush them into silence. How dare they defy the Dalai Lama. Democracy is not for the backwards and illiterate Tibetans. They need a strong, smart and able ruler like the Dalai Lama and his ministers to tell them what is good or bad for them. The Dorje Shugden practice should be banned completely from the Tibetans and Tibetan nation because it is a harmful practice. And no religious freedom should be allowed to let this Dorje Shugden religion arise. In history, many other harmful religions were suppressed for the good of mankind. Shugden should be suppressed and all people who practice him should be forced to give up the practice.

  13. Everyone should go and take a picture with the Dalai Lama and post it. It will boost ‘business’. It’s made me look really valid and more people trust what I am saying simply because I have my picture taken with the Dalai Lama. I’ve roped in Carole MccQuirre and gang to do the same things. You see because I am from East Germany and we don’t believe in any sort of religious freedom. Whatever the regime in the past told you to do, you do it without question. The Shugden groups should not be allowed to practice their religion because the Dalai lama says so. We shouldn’t question the Dalai Lama or defy him. After all he is not human but a god. So if Dalai Lama says don’t practice Dorje Shugden, just follow along without question because why should there be religious freedom. The populace are too stupid to see what religion is good and what is harmful.

  14. I agree with you Paljor. The Tibetans do not need democracy, but a strong firm hand to tell them what to do. They are not like we educated English people who can handle and know what to do with democracy. The fact that Tibetans have no real elected leaders and the leader is really the Dalai Lama for the last 60 years is good news. Tibetans cannot elect their own leaders. When the Dalai Lama dies, we wait for him to reincarnate back and take over again because he is the only leader that can handle Tibetans.

  15. For any nation it would be most benificial and in everyones interest within any nation itself as well as any nation around the world, when in any nation a child would be put on a throne, raised and educated in wisdom and compassion in order to be able to do a wise and compassionate “job ” for the benifit of the nation itself and all nations around the world.

    It had a reason why in tibet they took a child, put it on the throne raised and educated it in wisdom and compassion! Not a bad idea to do so within any nation, isn’t it?

    What would Mr. Trump don’t do and do, if he would have been raised and educated in wisdom and compassion? The USA has many noble price people, now they have something within their casa blanca that not only is in contradiction with reatliy but also turning the whole thing more and more into an american nightmare.

    So what about the quality of our education systems around the world? Just training for producing impermanent luck – regardless of the freedom and wellbeing of human beings, nature and animals?

    Is all the mambo jambo of mankind also because of the ignorant education systems that are not based on wisdom and compassion and not educating and training human beings in their inherent dignity?

    What would have happend if someone like Hitler would have been raised and educated in wisdom and compassion? Hitler was elected via democratic election system. So if democracy is not based on dignity and not about dignity and the education is not about training people in their dignity, well democracy doesn’t make sense at all and is just a criminal game that sooner or later will lead to big trouble.

    Let dharma rule the world, the leaders of the world are just not able to do so, they only cause and effect one trouble after another. Let dharma take over the world by dharma and turn it in into a dharma world as it is by nature anyway and will happen sooner or later anyway.

  16. Ignoring that reality is non-duality and causes duality, the drug that mankind and animals are suffering from. The only enemy and only can be conquered by wisdom and compassion (non-duality/non-violence) because reality is free of duality, regeneration and healing.

    So what about the First Nation and First Nation First? What about the illegal immigrants from europe that occupy the region of the First Nation since?

    When you listen to their wisdom teachings you can hear the sound of dharma (non-duality).

    Ignorance and the illusion duality is a harmful desease of the mind. God and Devil is a deases. To trust in God and Devil, in duality is only betraying yourself.

    Look, all the war in the name of duality, all the national law in the name of duality, it’s extremism.

    The so called Civilisation is a desease that harms mankind, animals and nature.

    Look what happend to tibet, the same that happend to the first nation of north america.

    Duality is a desease that only can be cured with wisdom and compassion/non-duality, because reality is non-duality.


  17. He is a bull shit.

  18. 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIDZLzXIgW8 Chithue Tenpa Yarphel la tq for talk about truth of Nechung . I m watch to this video many time la https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if2dFMKIr_8 n after I hear you talk I m not belief to Nechung

  19. What will the all the people around the world and in Tibet do now? Dalai Lama says he is happy that Tibet is a part of China and should remain a part of China. So many Tibetans self-immolated for Tibet to be independent and now Dalai Lama did a 360 degree turn and says he wants to go back to Tibet and China and Tibet should be a part of China. So unbelievable. So many are angry and disappointed.

    Tibetans ready to be part of China: Dalai Lama
    Organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the event was a part of “Thank You India – 2018″ held by the Tibetan community across India to mark 60 years of its exile in the country.
    Indo-Asian News Service
    Tibetans are ready to be a part of China if guaranteed full rights to preserve their culture, the Dalai Lama said on Friday.
    “Tibetans are not asking for independence. We are okay with remaining with the People’s Republic of China, provided we have full rights to preserve our culture,” the 83-year-old spiritual leader said at “Thank You Karnataka” event here in the city.
    Organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the event was a part of “Thank You India – 2018″ held by the Tibetan community across India to mark 60 years of its exile in the country.
    “Several of Chinese citizens practicing Buddhism are keen on Tibetan Buddhism as it is considered scientific,” the Nobel laureate said.
    Born in Taktser hamlet in northeastern Tibet, the Dalai Lama was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. He fled to India from Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959.
    China annexed Tibet in 1950, forcing thousands of Tibetans, including monks, to flee the mountain country and settle in India as refugees.
    Since then, India has been home to over 100,000 Tibetans majorly settled in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh among other states.


  20. 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.

  21. 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)

  22. 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

  23. While the government of Nepal has framed a policy to tighten the noose around non-governmental organisations, they have welcomed 30 Chinese NGOs to enter the country. These NGOs will penetrate the country’s social sector at the grassroots level. This is the first time such a large number of Chinese NGOs have entered Nepal at one time. Nepal is increasingly open to Chinese influence, a sign that ties between both countries are strengthening, while India’s influence is being reduced. The time has passed for India’s monopoly to remain uninterrupted in Nepal as opportunities to engage with China are being welcomed.

    30 Chinese NGOs all set to work in Nepal
    Kathmandu, July 30
    At a time when the government has framed a policy to tighten the noose around non-governmental organisations, 30 Chinese NGOs have entered Nepal to penetrate the country’s social sector and the grassroots.
    The Social Welfare Council Nepal and China NGO Network for International Exchanges, an umbrella body of Chinese NGOs, have signed a memorandum of understanding to enable Chinese NGOs to work in Nepal. The agreement was signed yesterday between SWCN Member Secretary Dilli Prasad Bhatt and CNIE General Secretary Zhu Rui in the presence of Minister of Women, Children and Senior Citizen Tham Maya Thapa and Chinese Deputy Minister of External Affairs Wang Yajun.
    The agreement has paved the way for the first batch of 30 Chinese NGOs to work in Nepal for a period of three years. Their contract will be extended based on the consent of SWCN and CNIE. Representatives of these 30 Chinese NGOs were also present during yesterday’s signing ceremony. They have agreed to work in partnership with local NGOs to implement their programmes and projects.
    The Chinese NGOs are eyeing areas such as livelihood, healthcare, education, skill-based training, community development and disaster management. This is the first time such a large number of Chinese NGOs has entered Nepal at one time. The Chinese assistance so far in Nepal has largely been limited to development of infrastructure projects. But the entry of these NGOs indicates China is keen on making its presence felt in Nepal’s social sector and the grassroots, which, till date, have remained domains of the West and countries such as Japan and India.
    The MoU signed between SWCN and CNIE states that Chinese NGOs will be mobilised for ‘the benefit of needy Nepalis and to enhance ties between China and Nepal through people-to-people support programmes’.
    “The Chinese NGOs will abide by the law of Nepal in its entirety while carrying out development cooperation in Nepal,” says the MoU, adding, “Chinese NGOs will submit programmes to the SWCN to carry out development activities in partnership with Nepali NGOs and SWCN in line with plans and policies of the government of Nepal.”
    The MoU was signed at a time when the government has drafted the National Integrity Policy to limit activities of NGOs and INGOs, as some of them were found ‘trying to break communal harmony and proselytising Nepalis’. There were also concerns that high administrative cost of many NGOs and INGOs was preventing money from reaching the real beneficiaries. The policy clearly states that NGOs and INGOs cannot spend more than specified amount under administrative and consultant headings. They will also be barred from working against Nepal’s interests, culture and communal harmony and conducting activities to promote their religious, social or other agenda, adds the policy.
    Around 48,000 NGOs are currently registered in Nepal, of which only 1,600 have been receiving funds from INGOs, as per SWCN. The SWCN has directed INGOs and NGOs to spend 60 per cent of the budget to generate tangible results, while the remaining can be used to cover administrative costs and organise training, meetings and seminars.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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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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