Should the so-named International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), an organization based in Washington DC consider re-branding itself and selecting a working title more reflective of its policies and objectives? The ICT has a long history of averting its usually meticulous gaze from the issue of Tibet’s independence, the common aspiration of Tibetans across occupied Tibet, and has on numerous occasions either ignored or misrepresented on the issue, inviting questions about promoting an agenda in accord with that of the Exiled Tibetan Government, namely accepting Chinese rule in exchange for what’s described as ‘meaningful autonomy’. A prominent Tibetan figure within the ICT is Executive Director, Lodi Gyari, a personal envoy of the Dalai Lama, and member of a negotiating team that meets with the Chinese Regime to seek a ‘solution’ to the issue of Tibet. He is an advocate of surrender to China’s rule and has even recently taken to suggesting his compatriots in Tibet are one of China’s ‘nationalities’. Report Here According to archive reports in the Tibetan Review, in 1990 Gyari was a leading participant at an international conference on Tibet, during which an agreed statement was mysteriously edited at the last minute, without the knowledge of those attending, to remove the term ‘statehood and independence’ from a reference to the rights of Tibetan people!
The ICT has over the years maintained, what appears to be a policy of omitting or expunging any reference to the subject of Tibet’s independence, most notably when reporting on protests from within Tibet. In 2007 there was the widely reported case of Tibetan protester Ronggay A’Drak who leaped upon a stage at a Chinese propaganda show to demand independence for Tibet and a return of the Dalai Lama. For whatever reason the normally accurate ICT failed to report that Tibetan protester, Ronggay A’Drak had called for Tibet’s independence. They were forced to concede the fact in the September 2007 edition of the Tibetan Review, claiming that they could confirm other comments made by Ronggay, but strangely were not able verify the fact he had indeed called for Tibetan independence. Other credible organizations did not suffer from such challenges, including the Tibetan news service Phayul Article Here as had the respected Tibetan research group, the Tibetan Center For Human Rights & Democracy (TCHRD) Report Here
Further omission and misrepresentation struck again in their reportage of the 2008 Tibetan national Uprising. As Tibetans took to the streets on March 14 of that year demanding independence Reports Here a fact reported by Reuters and the TCHRD, a spokesperson for the International Campaign For Tibet appeared on the BBC World Service’s ‘News-Hour’, who became more than objective commentator and morphed into spokesperson for the Tibetan people, by asserting that Tibetans were seeking a very different political objective, so-called ‘genuine autonomy’. Interview Extract Here
That fact-free assertion was a cynical dissimulation of the objective of thousands Tibetans who risked their lives to demand Tibet’s rightful independence and once again revealed that the ICT appears unwilling or unable to report honestly on the political aspirations of Tibetan protests. It is disappointing and troubling that such a body with its resources, and political and media influence should be presenting the struggle inside Tibet in such a distorted and selective fashion. An article written by its current President, Mary-Beth Markey, published on May 26 2011 opens with the following observations
“Every day, Tibetans risk their lives to speak up for the Dalai Lama’s return and against Chinese policies that constrain their free access to their spiritual leader….”. She goes on to advocate so-called ‘genuine autonomy for Tibetans as a solution, no doubt fully aware that inside occupied Tibet the Tibetan people are risking their freedom and lives to call for their nation’s independence. Such a reality does not seem to bother either Ms Markey or her organization who appear indifferent to the political aspirations of Tibet’s people and their struggle for national liberation. Clearly we are in the presence of agenda here one that promotes the abandonment of Tibet’s nationhood, ignores the rights of Tibet’s people to independence and is seemingly content to misreport and misrepresent the objectives of political struggle in Tibet. Maybe it should consider re-naming itself as ‘International Campaign For the Betrayal Of Tibet’s Cause’?