On the morning of August 8, 20011 Lobsang Sangay declared an oath as the new Prime Minister of the Exiled Tibetan Administration, he replaced Samdhong Rinpoche. these are two very different people separated by generation, education and experience. The youthful Sangay, versed in Harvard academia, comfortable in western culture and engagingly at ease with the media, contrasts with the mature Buddhist scholar and religious figure of Samdhong, more a ‘son of India’ than Massachusetts. Yet, differences notwithstanding, the two share the same conviction of seeking, what’s been described as ‘meaningful autonomy’ for Tibet, an objective at variance with the courageous struggle waged by Tibetans in their oppressed nation, who face Chinese bullets, torture and prison to demand national independence. That reality was consistently ignored during the tenure-ship of Samdhong Rinpoche and looks set to be further marginalized by the incoming Prime Minister too, who has affirmed his devotion to the so-called Middle Way proposal:
“I stand for the ‘middle-way policy’, which is seeking a resolution for the Tibetan problem within the framework of the constitution of the People’s Republic of China,” (Lobsang Sangay, Hindustan Times August 7, 2011)
This failed and inane strategy (repeatedly rejected by China) seeks to secure improved conditions under China’s national and regional laws on autonomy and ‘minority’ rights. In the case of China’s regime, this is rather like a woman seeking to co-habit with a serial sex-offender and expecting respect and equality! Such concerns however, and the fact of his compatriots seeking national freedom, does not appear to phase Lobsang Sangay, who, like his predecessor, seems fully committed to appeasing China in order to gain ‘progress’ on negotiations. Yet such talks, if successful, would result in the demise of Tibet as an international issue and Tibetans consigned to an uncertain and dangerous future as another Chinese ‘minority’, under the tender mercy of Chinese rule!
Some are concerned when words such as ‘betrayal’ and ‘treachery’ are used to describe the position advocated by Lobsang Sangay yet what other terms can more suitably address a policy which callously tramples over the heartfelt wishes of Tibetans in occupied Tibet, who despite the vicious suppression take to the streets to demand national liberation. While in Washington DC and elsewhere, their exiled Prime Minister is promoting a stealthy surrender of Tibet’s nationhood, at complete variance with their right to national freedom and political aspirations.
As Lobsang Sangay continues his efforts to promote the surrender of Tibet’s true cause we would ask him, and other Tibetans, to ponder upon this question:
Lobsang, do you consider Tibetans to be an ethnic minority of China with rights under China’s constitution, or a distinct people with rights to nationhood?