Graphic from @tibettruth
Doctor Lobsang Sangay, exiled Tibetan ‘political leader’ has been at it again, banging the drum for a strategy which appeases the Chinese regime and actively abandons Tibet’s legitimate right to nationhood. Presently in Canada to seek political support for that dangerous compromise; described as a ‘Middle Way Policy’, he has been carefully associating nationalism with terrorism.
“Globally, you can see there is a decline of internationalism and liberalism compared to the 1990s, and there is an increase of nationalism and extremism around the world.” (Source: The Globe and Mail, 11/21/2016. Emphasis added)
A worrying similar line of argument is used by China’s government against Uyghurs, Tibetans and Mongolians seeking freedom from Chinese oppression! Not that Doctor Sangay would wish to distance himself from the official thinking of China, he has after all dedicated his activities towards reassuring China that Tibetans are not seeking national freedom but only the fair application of current Chinese national and regional law on autonomy for so-called ‘ minorities’.
That he positions himself as the spokesperson of some 6 million Tibetans and claims to represent the political consensus is troubling. Particularly when viewed against the reality that inside Tibet dissent against Chinese rule is not articulating a desire for improved autonomy as dictated by the laws of China’s Communist Party regime. Tibetans enduring a miserable existence under Chinese rule are demanding their national freedom, an objective which according to his numerous comments, is anathema to Lobsang Sangay.
Just how removed he is from the struggle and hopes of his own people is revealed by remarks he made during an interview with the Globe and Mail: “Our government will continue to have frank discussions with China, including on the respect for the rule of law and human rights of all Chinese citizens, including Tibetans. (Source: The Globe and Mail, 11/21/2016. Emphasis added)
The message is pretty darn clear and by rights should be setting off alarms across the Tibetan Disapora. That they have in place a leader willing to publicly concede that Tibetans are not a distinct people with a right to national, cultural, territorial and political freedom, but are in his view Chinese citizens seeking an equitable application of law, as framed by China’s regime!
And looking around the world what model does Doctor Sangay turn to that according to his thinking may support his vision of dutiful, law-abiding Tibetans as Chinese citizens enjoying a meaningful autonomy? Why, the federalism applying to Quebec and Canada’s treatment of ‘minorities’!
Quite how he reaches the conclusion that a democratic federalist structure, based upon values of human rights and individual freedoms can operate within China’s draconian Marxist inspired polity is beyond calculation! And this from a man who stated that his version of autonomy for Tibetans is not seeking democratic freedoms, (VIDEO link) makes the chance of a genuinely liberal federalist system benefiting Tibetans even more fanciful than it already is.
Meanwhile Doctor Sangay appears to have a curiously ill-informed understanding regarding the condition of native peoples living within Canada,
“I think Canada can proudly share its experience on how to solve minority issues,”.
Really? So the pervasive racism, economic apartheid, social, and employment disadvantages that operate against First Nations are an illusion, or injustices of the past? If you think that Doctor Sangay then clearly you are ignorant of daily life as experienced by Canada’s aboriginal communities. As noted by a revealing article from Scott Gilmore:
“By almost every measurable indicator, the Aboriginal population in Canada is treated worse and lives with more hardship than the African-American population. All these facts tell us one thing: Canada has a race problem, too.” (Source: Canada’s Racism Problem? It’s Even Worse Than America’s. Macleans 1/22/2015)
Tibetans suffering under China’s merciless rule know very well the misery of being oppressed, marginalized and targeted by racism, and would recognize the plight of First Nations in Canada. What a pity that Harvard educated Lobsang Sangay is so worryingly unaware of the circumstances in which many Canadian ‘minority’ groups are surviving. How, we wonder, would he feel if a visiting dignitary to China declared that the Chinese government ‘Can proudly share its experience on resolving minority issues’ while Tibetans are violently denied their freedom, forced from their lands into concentration camps and face an assault against their culture and national identity! It’s a litany of oppression that native people in Canada are familiar with, not only from history but the present.
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?