When are Tibetans going to get a grip of their cause, and prevent so-called Tibet experts from attending international events (and briefing the media) to peddle arrogant misrepresentations of what Tibetans are struggling for? While Tibetan women on December 10 took to the ice-gripped sidewalks of Minneapolis, to support an independent Tibet, the Media Officer of the Tibetan Women’s Association was in the warmth of a meeting in Copenhagen (along with two so-called activists for Tibet) reportedly claiming no one was calling for Tibet’s independence!
This Blog has previously mentioned Ms. Kate Saunders, who seems to specialise in emphasising that the Tibetan people are not seeking independence. This time the media spokesperson for International Campaign For Autonomy (ooops Tibet) appeared (December 10) was a panelist at an event presented by ‘Tibet Third Pole’. This was held at the alternative climate summit ‘Klimaforum09′ in DGI-Byen, Copenhagen. Sitting alongside her was Mr. Matthew Whitticase, of the English support group Free Tibet Campaign (an organization which has a long record of not supporting Tibetan independence). The panel was completed by Tenzin Dhardon Sharling, of the Tibetan Women’s Association.
Much talk was offered on the ecological fragility of Tibet, the denudation of its grasslands, deforestation, glacial retreat, China’s insensitive exploitation and the forcible stettlement of Tibetan nomads. All crucial and valid concerns. However who are these people to present themselves as public commentators for the Tibetan cause, and then grossly misrepresent the objectives of the Tibetan people’s aspirations, by insisting that they were not calling for Tibet’s independence, but simply required the communist Chinese government to ‘face the problems and act accordingly’.
It really is important that Tibetans regain control of how their cause is being presented, clearly the likes of Ms Saunders and Mr Whitticase are promoting an agenda which excludes Tibet’s independence, and thus cannot be relied upon to report accurately upon the political objectives of Tibetans, or the nature of the resistance inside Tibet. Yet what was perhaps more disappointing was the compliance and silence offered by Ms Dhardon Sharling, who as executive member of an organization which has Tibetan independence as one of its core values. could surely have made clear, that while her co-panelists may not be promoting Tibet’s independence, Tibetans inside Tibet continue a courageous struggle for Tibet’s national freedom.