Lobsang Sangay, who precisely is the ‘we” you repeatedly refer to when reciting the mantra that ‘we seek autonomy, we don’t want independence”? Tell us something else, those handful of exiled Tibetans who peddle this line, should China’s regime allow the cosmetic improvement you seek, will you and autonomy supporters be giving up the comforts of life in the West, in exchange for the dubious pleasure of life under Chinese rule? If not then what you and your Tibetan supporters are really promoting is ‘Autonomy under Chinese rule for Tibetans in Tibet’.
Yet as shown by decades of resistance and ongoing protests, collective and individual, Tibetans seek their national freedom! If you and those following the orthodoxy of the ‘Middle Way’ policy would not be relocating themselves and families away from the liberal freedoms enjoyed in exile, to a Tibet ruled by China, why are you enforcing an outcome upon Tibetans living in occupied Tibet who clearly do not share your vision?
Today has seen the start of yet another ‘Special Meeting’ convened by the exiled Tibetan Administration (formerly Exiled Tibetan Government) in which a staged exhibition of determined solidarity and unity of purpose, will predictably support its ongoing appeasement of China. It’s a strange form of democracy that would not be too unfamiliar to the late medieval courts of Italy or France, there will be no genuine accountability or democratic determination based on a collective will of the people. Instead agreement will be reached by a carefully selected group of participants and attendees, the over-whelming majority of whom are loyal and uncritical followers of the presiding cabal.
The stated agenda of the meeting is too “To discuss ways and means to deal with the urgent and critical situation inside Tibet” however a fundamental and critical truth will receive barely a mention, one that lies at the very heart of the Tibetan issue. That, in occupied Tibet, the Tibetan people struggle against China’s tyranny to demand their rightful independence. In exile however the Tibetan Administration (CTA) the body which has arranged this meeting, is seeking a dangerous compromise with China, in which Tibetan nationhood and independence is surrendered in exchange for a so-called autonomy. A solution that would see Tibetans remain under China’s vicious rule with cosmetic improvements in terms of cultural or other rights. This insane proposal is fiercely advocated by the CTA, while acutely aware that their compatriots in Tibet are struggling for independence, it is also forced upon exiled Tibetans through manipulating and exploiting traditional Tibetan societal values. This process has resulted in an orthodoxy, a dogma entirely intolerant of any dissenting voice, particularly those expressing support for Tibetan independence.We can therefore expect that the ongoing violations and suffering of Tibetans under Chinese rule will be used as a pretext to advocate the justification and urgency of current efforts to seek a negotiated solution with China’s regime, on the basis of the proposals featured in the so-called Memorandum On Meaningful Autonomy For Tibetans
This ‘Special Meeting’ is therefore effectively little more than a rubber-stamping exercise, to affirm what has proved a failed ‘policy’ of seeking compromise with China (a fact conceded by no less than Kundun during a US TV interview). It is no exaggeration to state that such a strategy, which is doomed to further surrender to Chinese demands, is a betrayal of the political aspirations of Tibetans inside occupied Tibet, who seek not autonomy or compromise with China’s regime, but the national independence of Tibet. Yet the political elite of Dharamsala ignore that reality and impose their desperate capitulations upon the Tibetan people, hiding behind a cynical facade of democratic process.
Lobsang Sangay was elected from within the exiled Tibetan community to the post of Prime Minister and travels the world articulating what he and his Administration consider to be the objectives of Tibet’s cause. What this urbane and media aware spokesperson chooses not to mention in his numerous interviews is the reality that the message he peddles is at complete variance with the political struggle being waged inside occupied Tibet. Not only that but the strategy which his declarations endorse, known as the Middle Way policy, has been conceded by the Dalai Lama as a failure. That sobering truth however has not prevented Lobsang Sangay and his colleagues from continuing to flog a very dead yak in their efforts to appease China’s leadership to return to what have proved utterly failed negotiations over Tibet.
His latest comments, featured in Foreign Policy again betray the common aspiration of Tibetans inside occupied Tibet, who face China’s tyranny to demand their rightful independence, while in the air-conditioned comfort of Washington Lobsang was assuring a reporter of The Cable that:
“If Tibet is granted autonomy, that could be a catalyst for moderation of China because if the Chinese government grants autonomy to Tibetans, for the first time they are accepting diversity within and accepting a distinct if not different people,“ (Emphasis Added)
This comment might be misread by some as the exiled Tibetan Minister implying Tibetans are in fact Chinese and belonging to the one big happy nation of the Motherland? Such a concession would not be entirely surprising given the record of dangerous surrender and appeasement which has characterized the efforts of the exiled Tibetan Administration in seeking compromises from China. Later in the same interview he claimed:
“We are asking for genuine autonomy within China, within the framework of the Chinese constitution. We are not challenging Chinese sovereignty or territorial integrity so we are willing to accept the One China concept,” (Emphasis Added)
Precisely who is Lobsang Sangay referring to when he talks of “we”? Clearly not those Tibetans who have for decades resisted China’s illegal and violent occupation of Tibet to demand independence. Nor is he speaking for Tibetans who self-immolate and have distributed leaflets calling for Tibetan independence, shouted slogans calling for the same, or as occurred on June 20 having doused themselves in gasoline and set themselves ablaze held aloft the symbol of Tibetan independence, the national flag of Tibet.
The exiled Tibetan Administration knows very well that Tibetans seek national freedom, a fact recognized on a number of occasions by the Dalai Lama, it is fully aware too of the stream of detailed accounts emerging from Tibet that documents protests, collective and individual that have as a central demand Tibetan independence. However this heartfelt and common aspiration is callously ignored in the pursuit of securing a condition of so-called autonomy in which Tibet’s rightful cause for nationhood is abandoned and Tibetans would remain under China’s bloody maw.
It is a well known and recorded truth that inside occupied Tibet the Tibetan people have been resisting for decades China’s illegal and violent occupation. It is also a fact that Tibetans in their protests, individually and collectively have as a major political objective, Tibet’s independence, as revealed by a wealth of documented material and ongoing reports emerging from that blighted land. It is therefore accurate and fair to describe the Tibetan resistance as being pro-independence, a reality long acknowledged by the Dalai Lama in various statements.
What then are we to make of comments from the exiled Tibetan Prime Minister, Lobsang Sangay, reported in today’s Sydney Morning Herald in which the Harvard educated lawyer offered a troubling response to what was presented to be the challenge of maintaining a line against non-violence; which the reporter implied was becoming difficult for younger Tibetans to support, in light of the moderate policies (political suicide more accurately describes those) of the exiled Tibetan administration.
When asked if that was becoming more difficult he replied:
Interesting how those values are of such supreme importance that they are to be blindly followed despite a singular absence of any progress in terms of securing a meaningful agreement from China’s regime, however we digress, So the lawyer, with a trained exactitude for words, is content to suggest that those Tibetans who are actively support Tibetan independence have less regard for non-violence and democratic values than the privileged cabal known as the exiled Tibetan Administration? Moreover do these remarks slander the young Tibetans inside occupied Tibet who take to the streets to demand Tibetan independence and freedoms, that are indeed steeped in democratic principle, such as free speech, right to dissent and national self determination? His words are deeply divisive and fail to respect the common political aspiration of Tibetans for their nation’s independence, in portraying advocates of Tibet’s national independence as violent objectors to democratic they display an uneasy similarity to the rhetoric usually associated with China’s regime, it too denigrates Tibetan protesters seeking independence as violent.
By wrongly tainting the demand for Tibetan independence with violence Lobsang Sangay is walking a very dangerous road indeed, alienating himself and his exiled Administration from a deeply held hope of all Tibetans for an independent Tibet, and misrepresenting a Tibetan youth, which is courageously opposing China’s tyranny to demand their country’s rightful independence.It may well be that his comments were designed to appease China, a move to reassure the Chinese Regime by disassociating the exiled Tibetan Administration from the issue of Tibet’s independence by criticizing and denigrating those seeking that goal. If so, what next? How far is this position from endorsing China’s claims that such Tibetans are criminals seeking to split the Motherland? Is there no depth to which the appeasement of China’s Regime will not sink?