On this day of 2nd September 2015, we commemorate the 55th anniversary of the establishment of the democratic system of the Central Tibetan Administration. In particular, this is the year in which His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a champion of world peace, the master of the entirety of the teachings on this earth of the Buddha, the protector-patron of all Tibetans at all times in this life and in the lives hereafter, and the unparalleled leader of the Tibetan people, attained the 80th glorious year of his present life. Everywhere across the world, this grand 80th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is being commemorated with impressive celebrations, including by Tibetans in and outside their occupied homeland. On this truly memorable day, I, on behalf of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, and with a prior offering of prostrations with solemn bodily, speech and mind devotions, express my greetings to His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama, as all Tibetans both in and outside Tibet rejoice on this great occasion.
It was not long after he assumed his position as the temporal and spiritual leader of the Snowland of Tibet that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, an emanation of the Supreme Lotus-Holding Bodhisattva, and the omniscient and outstandingly caring noble being, felt drawn towards the democratic system of government based on freedom prevailing in India during his visits to that country and China. He therefore at once set out to introduce freedom and democratic reforms so as to bring up the system prevailing in Tibet to the level of the modern countries of that time imbued with such values. However, although he did make a start, his moves were frustrated because Tibet was by then under the domineering influence of the communist Chinese occupation forces and they thwarted his initiatives. But immediately after escaping into exile in India, His Holiness gave full play to his original plans, including in the matter of the election of the deputies to a Tibetan parliament in exile capable of fully representing Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile, as well as in the matter of establishing the principal and branch offices and institutions of an administration in exile. And gradually, over the years, His Holiness guided the Tibetan people towards the realization of genuine democracy which is comparable to the systems prevailing in the progressive modern democratic countries of the world.
The democratic system of government is a result of the historical evolution of the human civilization. Its culmination is marked by a society in which everyone is viewed as equal, without any discrimination based on one’s position, wealth, gender, race, and so on. It is recognized as one of the best systems of government in the world today. But unlike in the cases of the people in the numerous democratic countries of the world today, where the general masses of people had to undergo turbulences of uprisings and bitter struggles to finally realize their dreams in the courses of their historical evolution, the Tibetan people did not have to experience these painful transitions towards this noble system of government. Rather than having to stage an uprising or to carry on a bitter struggle, and so on under a historical process of evolution, democracy came to the Tibetan people as a gift from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This took concrete shape in 1991 when the Tibetan Parliament in Exile was formally made a law-making body. And the people elected as representatives of the general masses of people to the Tibetan Parliament in Exile debated and adopted a series of laws and regulations over the years and a system based on the rule of law has now taken shape.
In the year 2001, the Kalon Tripa, the head of the Central Tibetan Administration at that time, was directly elected by the Tibetan people. And in 2011, His Holiness the Dalai Lama presented or devolved all his traditional political powers to the elected leaders of the Tibetan people. These developments took place as a part of a process which has for long been a part of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s planned objectives. Perceiving numerous purposes and benefits, His Holiness, with elation and out of affection for the Tibetan people, transferred his entire political powers to the leadership directly elected by them, thereby ending the nearly 400-year-old Ganden Phodang system of government headed by successive Dalai Lamas since the time of the Great Fifth. He thereby ensured the future sustainability on a firm foundation of the substance of the Tibetan movement embodied by the Central Tibetan Administration in exile for as long as their just cause remains unresolved. This is therefore a historic milestone in the evolution of Tibetan democracy addressing the core of the issues facing the Tibetan movement.
Although His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the protector-patron of the Snowland of Tibet, has already devolved all his political and executive powers to the elected leadership, he has said in one of his important, great, profound, and precious addresses: “Being a Tibetan, and due to the fact that there is a unique relationship rooted in karma and bond of prayers between the Tibetan people and the successive Dalai Lamas, it is impossible that I will abandon my general responsibility towards the secular and religious well being of the Tibetan people for as long as they trust me and look up to me. There is therefore no need for any worry regarding the finding of ways to realize the fundamental cause of Tibet and on spiritual issues, for I will continue to carry on my responsibility till the very end.”
Today, the responsibilities concerning the affairs of the democratically established Central Tibetan Administration lies on the shoulders of the leaders directly elected by the Tibetan people, its civil servants, and the general masses of the Tibetan people. Over the past several years, the situation of the Central Tibetan Administration has continued to flourish without any impediment thanks to the blessings emanating from His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s deeds and as a result of the combined efforts of both the exiled Tibetan leadership and people. In order that this should continue to improve ever further, and for the purpose of strengthening its sustainability for enduring the future, all sections of the Tibetan society should contribute their efforts in a cooperative manner towards addressing our common concerns.
Apart from the Justice Commission, the two most important organs of the democratic Central Tibetan Administration are the Kashag and the Tibetan Parliament in Exile. And the general election to vote for the Sikyong, the political and executive head of the Central Tibetan Administration, and the members of the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile, the legislative organ, are approaching near. It is great that these upcoming events have drawn keen interest and discussions within the Tibetan public. This kind of opportunity to elect the Sikyong and the Members of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile comes but only once every five years. In an administrative system such as ours, which is based on democratic values, it is a vital duty of the public to take active part in these election processes. And it is of utmost importance that everyone gets himself or herself registered as a voter and actually vote during the elections. Everyone should vote for the candidates of their choice for the Sikyong and the Members of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile with their own free choice, exercising their own personal judgement, rather than following others’ directions or what others may say. There should be no dereliction of this vital duty of the Tibetan citizenry.
I would also like to emphasize, taking advantage of the opportunity offered by this occasion, to call on the fair number of Tibetans who have moved and who continue to move to other countries – with the result that most of them become scattered in their new host countries – to make the extra efforts to give due importance to these elections and ensure that they manage to take part in them.
The election process of the Tibetan administration in exile draws keen interest from places across the globe. Hence I also take this opportunity to appeal to everyone involved in the election processes that they should consider it important to take the responsibility to ensure that their conducts are in keeping with the relevant rules and regulations and carried out with fairness so that no cause for disputes and controversies would remain in future.
Today is no doubt an important day when the Tibetan people living in exile commemorate their day of democracy marked by freedom. However, we should remember that the general masses of our brethrens back in Tibet continue to remain deprived of democracy, freedom, and justice under the repression of the Chinese government. Apart from that, many such innocent Tibetans continue to suffer under its rule, including by being imprisoned and tortured. And it is also common knowledge among people across the world that under the totalitarian rule of the leadership of their communist government, the general masses of the Chinese people too lack the kind of freedom prevailing in most other countries. Today, in the Middle East and other countries, there is growing interest and transformation towards the free democratic system of government. And it is our view that the time has come for the international community to exert emphatic pressure on the Government of China to encourage it to also gradually move towards a free democratic system of governance.
Regarding the developments in our homeland of Tibet these days, there is, in particular, the stark example of the case of the late Tulku Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche. He and his student Lobsang Dhondup had been implicated in an impossibly false criminal case. They were accused, without any evidence, of having been responsible for bomb explosions which occurred on the main Tianfu Square of the Sichuan province’s Capital Chengdu on the 3rd of April 2002. Both were tried and Lobsang Dhondup was executed immediately. And Tulku Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche, after undergoing 13 years of his eventual life imprisonment sentence, died in jail after enduring untold ill-treatment and torture without any clear explanation of a cause. What this case exemplifies is that the Chinese government in Tibet arrests, jails, beats, violently tortures, and even executes without a second thought any innocent Tibetan they fancy by implicating them in totally false cases. Even though we are now in the 21st century, the conduct of the Chinese government continues to be marked by total absence of humanity. In particular, it has remained absolute in totally ignoring and trampling on all the numerous appeals and calls made by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, governments, parliaments, political leaders of countries, and numerous other internationally reputed organizations and individuals. This state of affair marked by total inability to protect the innocent despite the existence of principles of justice and the giving of victory to those carrying out violations with impunity must surely count as one of the biggest ongoing tragedies in this world.
China is celebrating the 1st of September 2015 as the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region. And it has carried out a strong media publicity to make claims about having brought great progress in Tibet. What this day actually amounts to, in reality, is that it marks the 50th year of the Communist Chinese Government having enslaved the people of Tibet, enforced under its numerous dictatorial laws and practices. It is also the 50th year of China having split up the territory of the Three Provinces of Tibet into numerous parts and renaming them as Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province and as parts of the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Gansu. It is also the 50th anniversary of celebrations marking the unceasing campaigns by the Government of China to totally destroy the Tibetan culture and religion under such campaigns as the Cultural Revolution. Including principally the 10th Panchen Rinpoche, besides Jadrel Jampa Trinley Rinpoche, China has over the decades persecuted patriotic Tibetans by leveling all sorts of false charges against them in a policy of saying and promising one thing and doing quite the opposite in practice. In this sense, this is also the 50th anniversary of the establishment in Tibet of the absence of autonomous rule and of the domination of rule by others. Besides, this 50th anniversary is also of China having started implementing in Tibet a special kind of policy whereby the Tibetan people are deprived of freedoms of speech and expression, movement, religion, personal liberty, and all other kinds of human rights. In order to constantly raise the intensity and extent of the repression, China has been implementing in Tibet a five-yearly Strike Hard campaign policy under which countless numbers of Tibetans have been jailed, beaten, and otherwise harassed, resulting in untimely deaths or disappearances of many of them. This year can therefore be seen as the 50th anniversary to mark the implementation of this policy too. And it is also the day we need to observe as the 50th anniversary of the dictatorial government of the communist party of China having stopped the Tibetan people in Tibet and in exile from exercising their right to determine their own political destiny, confining them in perpetual darkness from the realization their true aspirations.
Speaking in general terms, the Government of China has always considered the territory of Tibet as the frontline for its battles and has therefore never ceased to implement a brutal policy of violent repression which the Tibetan people could endure only with the greatest of hardship. On the 7th of May 2014, Mr. Lobsang Yeshe of Tsawa Zogang was arrested and mercilessly beaten after he protested against the Chinese government’s running of mining operations near the bank of Gyalmo Ngulchu river. He succumbed to his injuries from that beating on the 19th of July. This year, due to the 80th birth anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Chinese government has carried out massive deployment of armed forces to enforce a security clampdown. And on His Holiness’s 80th birthday of the 6th of July, a Tibetan named Pasang Wangchuk, a resident of Kham Kardze, was rearrested. He was previously arrested last year and later released, but rearrested this year and imprisoned for more than a month. Likewise, on the 15th of August this year, the Chinese government arrested a Tibetan woman named Woekar after she carried out a solitary protest on the street of Meruma Town in Amdo Ngaba County, shouting slogans calling for the return from exile of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and for freedom for Tibetans.
In yet another development, on China’s army day of the 1st of August this year, a decree was imposed on the Tibetan people of Kham Driru County, listing “four do’s” and “four don’ts” for them to carry out or observe and mandating that they wear traditional costumes decorated with furs of endangered wild animals while performing cultural shows to mark the occasion. The reason why the Chinese government photographed and publicized the Tibetans thus was because during his 31st Kalachakra teachings, His Holiness the Dalai Lama had advised the Tibetan people against using or dealing in furs of endangered wild animals. As a result Tibetans in Driru as well as others everywhere else in Tibet had burned their possessions of fur decorated dresses. The Chinese leaders were unhappy with that development and used the army day celebrations as an opportunity to carry out a reprisal action. It therefore forced the Tibetan people to carry out a politically coloured cultural performance. Likewise, in Kham Nangchen County’s Kashung Township too, during the celebrations of the same event from the 1st to 3rd of August, Tibetans had refused to wear traditional costumes decorated with furs of endangered wild animals in defiance of orders from the local Chinese leaders while also refraining from also putting on ornaments. Criticizing the Tibetans for their show of defiance of an unjust order, Chinese police attacked the Tibetans in the night of the 3rd of August, subjecting them to severe beatings. As a result, about 30 Tibetans were seriously injured and had to be taken to hospital. Still, there have been numerous other known as well as unreported incidents of ill-treatment and persecution of innocent Tibetans under false criminal allegations of various kinds, leading to arrests, imprisonments and virulent security clampdowns. As a result, the general masses of the Tibetan people in the concerned local areas are deprived of all their personal freedoms and forced to remain as if they are under house arrest. They therefore find themselves confined to remain in utter darkness and beyond all tolerable limits from the light of every kind of human rights. It is no wonder, therefore, that so far a total of 142 Tibetans in Tibet have carried out self-immolation protests since February 2009. This year alone there have been seven such cases, which is a telling commentary on the tragic situation in Tibet today. I therefore strongly appeal especially to the United Nations and the UN Human Rights Council, besides all the countries that truly value democracy, freedom, and justice, to bring emphatic pressure on the Government of China and to urge it to forthwith put an end to the kind of evil behaviours it is still routinely carrying out in Tibet.
Further information coming from China most recently, publicized through the news media, show that the Communist Party of China had held its Sixth Tibet Work Forum Meeting on the 24th and 25th of August in Beijing. These reports show that improving the policies with an objective to benefit the Tibetan people was not the aim of this so-called Tibet Work Forum Meeting. On the other hand, they reveal the communist Government of China’s determination to continue and strengthen the existing policies of harassment, controls and restrictions against the Tibetan people. This shows that there is no actual implementation in Tibet of China’s officially claimed beneficial policies for the minority nationalities. As a result, it has only saddened the Tibetan people and become another basis for the international community’s loss of faith in the Government of China.
This year His Holiness the Dalai Lama turned 80 years old in accordance with the universal calendar system. Tibetans in Tibet as well as in exile, including the Central Tibetan Administration, the different organizations, provincial associations, and so on have marked the occasion with grand celebrations. As a part of marking the 80th birth anniversary, gratitude was expressed and a series of long-life prayer offerings made. In numerous other countries of the world too, long-life prayer offering were made, celebration gatherings and functions held, resolutions adopted by parliaments, and greetings offered by leaders of organizations and governments. In order to express compliments to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his noble deeds and accomplishments, various kinds of grand and solemn symbolic gestures were made and continue to be made, including with the issuing of a national postage stamp bearing a picture of him. Some of the compliments offered by prominent global public figures bear worth citing here by way of examples. One said: “The best birthday gift or present for His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet that those of us in politics and that we as individuals can give would be to continue our support for Tibet.” Others, likewise, expressed solidarity with the Tibetan people in our current period of great hardship. And there were those about His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s compassionate guidance having had immense beneficial influence on the whole world; about His Holiness the Dalai Lama being a remarkable figure on the world stage; about his Holiness the Dalai Lama’s friendly relationships with other religions by referring to the good points in each other’s teachings; about His Holiness’s compassion for all people, irrespective of the question whether they believe in any religion or not; about people being immensely moved by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s noble teachings and practices of nonviolence; about His Holiness the Dalai Lama being a person who looks at scientists and others with an open mind; about His Holiness the Dalai Lama being a person who points the way for ensuring a better future world for the younger generation; and about the emphatic need to criticize the evil behaviours of the communist government of China which even today continues to carry immensely virulent baseless attacks on His Holiness the Dalai Lama and issues utterly false media criticisms of him even as it continues to even today carry out violent repression of the Tibetan people. And so it goes on. They all highly praise His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the nobility of his deeds while openly criticizing the Chinese government for its mistaken policies and actions. In such manners they have extended support for the Tibetan people from all conceivable aspects. For all these, I take this opportunity to express immense thanks to those prominent political leaders and public figures on behalf of the Tibetan people both in Tibet and in exile.
People from across the world, and especially numerous leaders of countries, as well as people who have attained fame in various fields of life, have offered highest of admiration and praise to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his past and continuing deeds of providing leadership and guidance by means of non-violent and compassionate methods because they have been beneficial to all living beings in this world. It is therefore only to be expected that we the Tibetan people especially remember at all times from the core of our hearts the gratitude we owe to His Holiness, our protector-patron, and remain, as a matter of utmost importance, steadfast in truthfully following his guidance without any shortcoming as an act of devotion to hearten him.
The gratitude the Tibetan people owe to the government and people of India for their past and continuing help is beyond defining in words and are certainly impossible to forget. At this official function in Dharamshala to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the establishment of the democratic system of the Central Tibetan Administration too, a group of Members of the Indian Parliament who support the Tibetan cause are taking part in order to show their strong support for the Tibetan cause. I take this opportunity to express immense gratitude to them all.
Finally, I pray that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, whose selfless sense of caring towards all sentient beings is boundless and whose leadership of the world in general and especially towards all Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile is unparalleled, live for a hundred aeons, and that the just cause of the Tibetan people prevail with utmost speediness.
The Tibetan Parliament in Exile
2nd September, 2015