On the bone-chilling streets of Paris yesterday some Tibetans and their supporters could be forgiven thinking that they were witnessing a momentous change of policy by the Central Tibetan Administration as Doctor Lobsang Sangay peppered his keynote speech with references to liberty, justice. and democracy. The Harvard law school graduate began his address by envisioning raising the national flag of Tibet above the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet’s symbol of nationhood and independence was a prominent feature of the event, and formed a huge stage backdrop. Yet this is the man who had boldly declared that he is not asking for democratic rights within an autonomous Tibet!
Unfortunately a careful examination of his words reveals not so much a demand from Doctor Sangay and his CTA colleagues for a free and democratic Tibet, but a cynical misappropriation of the rights and political aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet. When mentioning such freedoms he very carefully avoided officially endorsing the demands made by compatriots under Chinese tyranny. Indeed his speech on referencing ‘liberty’ or ‘democracy’ emphasized repeatedly that such objectives were what ‘Tibetans’ wanted with the obvious corollary that such aims were not being demanded by the Central Tibetan Adminstration. This is evidenced by the policy adopted and promoted by Lobsang Sangay and his colleagues within the CTA which is actively seeking a condition of ‘meaningful autonomy’ for Tibetans. In that objective Doctor Sangay has stated that no separation from China is being sought but only the just and full application of communist Chinese laws on autonomy’ In that context he made it clear during a 2013 interview, given at Washington’s Council on Foreign Relations that as part of his autonomy proposals democracy was not being sought for Tibetans in Tibet!
Now given that’s the agreed and formalized policy of the Central Tibetan Administration clearly notions of national freedom and independence are effectively anathema to Lobsang Sangay, marginalized, ignored and rejected as barriers to progressing talks with a Chinese regime ever suspicious of covert agendas. On March 13 China again dismissed any prospect of talks on what is called ‘high autonomy’ for Tibetans. Meanwhile the officially sanctioned ideology that autonomy is the only ‘realistic’ solution continues to forced upon a Tibetan Diaspora. However in trying to prevent Tibetans from expressing their support for a free and independent Tibet the thought-police of the CTA have gone too far and unleashed a wave of outrage and opposition.
The intensity and scale of unease at the manipulation of protests in New York and Dharamsala has revealed just how embedded within Tibetan communities globally is support for Tibetan national freedom. The very same Tibetans who Lobsang Sangay and his Administration require the goodwill and political support of, which brings us back to possible motive for his flag waving address in Paris. Some Tibetans on various social media sites are already posting glowing comments of support for his speech describing it as ‘powerful’ and ‘strong’ yet they clearly have been fooled by appearance and failed to note the detail of his comments.
What was declared in Paris was not an approval of, or expression showing solidarity with the cause and rightful demands of Tibetan in Tibet but a carefully engineered and duplicitous display that was more concerned with promoting Lobsang Sangay and presenting an illusion that the Central Tibetan Administration is allied with and shares the objective of national liberation so courageously expressed by Tibetans under China’s genocidal rule. Don’t be fooled people!