NGO Professional | Human Rights and Political Activist | Author
- Founder and Convener, Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM)
- Director, Tibet Foundation (2019 - Jan 2021)
- Chairman, Tibetan Community UK | Tibetan Refugee Charitable Trust (2014 - 2016)
- Trustee, Tibet House Trust (2014 - 2016)
- Council Member, Tibet Society (2014 - 2016)
- Special Adviser, Tibet Society (2017 - 2018)
- Sponsorship Coordinator, Tibet Relief Fund (2017 - 2016)
- Programme Manager, Tibet Foundation (2001 - 2007)
As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates its 100th founding anniversary (1921 – 2021) this year, the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) wishes to invite you, the public, to submit examples of what you believe to be the most evil acts committed by the CCP over the past century.
We will carefully compile the top 100 evil contributions made by the CCP and publish them on 10th December 2021, the UN Human Rights Day.
To coincide with this year’s 72nd founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, the Global Alliance for Tibet and Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) organised a webinar with a panel of distinguished China-Tibet experts, former minister and human rights advocates. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) also marks 100th anniversary of its founding this year.
Since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, his regime made no secret of its global expansionist ambition. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects have now become debt traps for developing countries. The Hambantota port in Sri Lanka is a typical example. This port located in the Indian Ocean is of great strategic interest to China. As Sri Lanka could not repay its debt, Beijing secured a 99-year lease of the port. There are indications that Beijing might deploy its military installations in this strategic location.
The political instability caused by Beijing, after its claims over the international waters in the South China Sea, is the tipping point of serious concern that pushed the AUKUS (Australia, UK and US) Nuclear Submarine deal to counter China.
China’s flexing of its military muscle in the Himalayan borders through territorial claims against India, Bhutan and Nepal is yet another dangerous game that could spark a major war between the two Asian giants.
To discuss whether China poses a real threat to global peace and security, the GATPM invited a panel of experts to share their thoughts on these vital issues. The panel concluded that China does pose a real threat. Please watch the video in full.
Professor Dibyesh Anand is an Associate Professor at London’s Westminster University, an expert on majority-minority relations in China and India, and the author of Geopolitical Exotica: Tibet in Western Imagination.
Professor Anand has written extensively in international journals and papers. He has also given lectures in universities and think tanks around the world. He is a well recognised in the Tibet circle.
Kasur Lobsang Nyandak is a former Minister for the Central Tibetan Administration (aka Tibetan Government-in-exile) from 2001 to 2006.
He served as the Dalai Lama’s Representative to North America based at The Office of Tibet in New York. He was also an elected Tibetan MP in the Tibetan Parliament in Exile from 1996 to 2001.
A Leader of the Tibetan Youth Congress, Lobsang Nyandak founded and served as the Executive Director of Tibetan Centre for Human Rights in Democracy.
Currently, he is the President of The Tibet Fund, a New York-based NGO that raises funds and supports the Tibetan community primarily in India and Nepal through education, healthcare and community development projects.
Steven Schaerer survived communist Chinese incarceration, torture, and deportation.
Steven is a proud first generation American from California’s Bay Area, and is the proud bi-racial son of immigrant parents from Switzerland and Mexico.
He was the first person in his family to attend university earning a degree in chemistry from Sonoma State University in Northern California. In addition to English, Steven also speaks Mandarin, Spanish, and successfully co-founded a business in Beijing in his mid-20’s.
Steven is a staunch advocate for and defender of freedom, liberty, the Constitution, free-market capitalism, Human Rights and the American way of life.
A webinar with leading China-Tibet experts, former minister and human rights advocates, hosted by the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities.
Exactly 72 years ago, Mao Tsetung declared the illegal invasion of Tibet and the Republic of East Turkistan. Mao called the illegal invasion of Tibet a ‘peaceful liberation’. That so-called ‘peaceful liberation’ has cost millions of lives of Tibetan and Uyghur people amongst others.
The Chinese government is hosting a week-long celebration of what it calls the “Golden Week” as 1st October marks the 72nd founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
For the Tibetan and the Uyghur victims under the Chinese regime’s military occupation and repressive policy, there is nothing to celebrate so long as China continues to illegally occupy Tibet and East Turkistan.
For the people of Hong Kong, there is nothing to celebrate so long as Beijing disregards the UK-China Joint Declaration and the basic rights are not restored in Hong Kong.
For the people of Taiwan, there is nothing to celebrate when their democratic nation faces the imminent threat of military invasion from the Chinese regime.
There is nothing to celebrate so long as the Southern Mongolians cannot maintain their own language and Buddhist culture.
Certainly, there is nothing to celebrate so long as the Falun Gong, as well as other religious and faith communities, cannot practice their devotions. And the list goes on including the lack of political freedom, democracy and freedom of speech.
Since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, his regime has made no secret of its global expansionist ambition. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects have now become debt traps for developing countries.
The political instability caused by Beijing, after its claims over the international waters in the South China Sea, is the tipping point of serious concern that pushed the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal to counter China. China’s flexing of its military muscle in the Himalayan borders through territorial claims against India, Bhutan and Nepal is yet another dangerous game that could spark a major war between the two Asian giants.
So, to discuss whether China poses a real threat to global peace and security, the GATPM has invited a panel of experts to share their thoughts on these vital issues.
Professor. Dibyesh Anand, Head of School – Social Sciences, University of Westminster
Kasur Lobsang Nyandak, Former Minister for the Central Tibetan Administration (Tibetan Government-in-exile)
Political and human rights activists from Hong Kong, Tibetan and Uyghur communities and NGOs slated the CCP regime as a real threat to global peace and security as China celebrates its 72nd founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in London.
Resist the Chinese Community Party Day – Joint London Rally, was held in central London on 1st October, showing unity among British Hongkonger, Tibetan and Uyghur Communities in the fight for freedom, justice, human rights and democracy.
The protest started off in Piccadilly Circus and finished in front of the Chinese Embassy. Protesters chanted loud slogans of “Free Tibet”, “Free Hong Kong”, “Free East Turkistan” and “Shame Shame Xi Jinping”.
Prominent British, Hong Kong, Tibetan and Uyghur activists addressed the rallies.
Benedict Rogers, Co-founder and CEO of Hong Kong Watch, said, “It is time now for the free world, for our governments of democracies around the world, to stand up to the CCP, to take action to hold them to account, to sanction them, to stop trading with them, to stop kowtowing to them, and to do everything possible to end these 72 years of bloody repression.”
Andrea Venzon & Colombe Cahen-Salvador, co-founders of Atlas also spoke at the Piccadilly Circus rally. Andrea Venzon said, “A threat from an authoritarian regime impacts democracy at large. We have a duty to stand up for the hundreds of millions of people living in captivity under the CCP rule. Democracy is a fundamental right, and we will not back down.”
Finn Lau, Founder of Hong Kong Liberty, addressed the rally. He said, “We have witnessed genocide and severe crackdowns in East Turkestan, Tibet and Hong Kong in that Beijing is wiling to do whatever it would cost to sustain the one-party tyranny. The ambition of the CCP is also being reflected by its infiltration into the international academic, business sector and even intergovernmental organisations like the UN with the tactic called United Front. In light of its ascent as a global threat to human rights and universal values, the free world has to stand firm against the CCP.”
After the national anthems of East Turkistan, Hong Kong and Tibet were played, the protesters marched to the Chinese Embassy via Regents Street, Oxford Circus and the BBC. Some protesters burned a Chinese flag, a sign of defiance against the CCP regime for its actions right in front of the Chinese Embassy.
Speakers outside the Chinese Embassy:
In his opening remarks, Tsering Passang, Founder and Convener at the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities, said, “Resistance against the CCP regime is growing within China and around the world.
“Exactly 72 years ago, the Chinese Communist Party and its regime under Mao Tsetung’s dictatorship, announced the illegal invasion of Tibet and the Republic of East Turkistan. Mao Tsetung called the illegal invasion of Tibet a “peaceful liberation”. That so-called “peaceful liberation” has cost millions of lives of Tibetan and Uyghur people amongst others.”
Passang further added, “For the Tibetan and Uyghur victims under the Chinese regime’s military occupation and repressive policy, there is nothing to celebrate so long as China continues to illegally occupy Tibet and East Turkistan.
“For the people of Hong Kong, there is nothing to celebrate so long as Beijing disregards the UK-China Joint Declaration and the universal basic rights are not restored in Hong Kong.
“For the people of Taiwan, there is nothing to celebrate when their democratic country faces the imminent threat of military invasion from the Chinese regime.
“There is nothing to celebrate so long as the Southern Mongolians cannot maintain their own language and Buddhist culture.
“Certainly, there is nothing to celebrate so long as the Falun Gong followers as well as other religious and faith groups cannot practice their devotions. And the list goes on… including lack of democracy and freedom of speech.”
Rahima Mahmut, UK Director of World Uyghur Congress and Executive Director of Stop Uyghur Genocide, addressed the rally. She said, “Today we marched against the persecution of Uyghur people over not just the past 5 years, but the entire 72 years of CCP Government. Celebrations in Beijing cannot drown out the pleas for freedom from across the world today, from communities that continue to be denied their human rights. Our people are facing torture, rape, and genocide – it is time for the international community to stand tall against the CCP’s crimes.”
Basil, Representative of Power to Hong Kongers, also spoke outside the Chinese Embassy in Cantonese language.
A 15-year old British Tibetan student from the Tibetan Community in Britain addressed the rally outside the Chinese Embassy. She said, “China hopes to eradicate Tibetan identity. It is robbing a generation of Tibetan children their rights to their language, culture, and heritage. This is cultural genocide. And we have seen what happens when those inside Tibet speak, even amongst themselves. China silences those voices, because they know that when people speak up about injustice, they can bring about change.”
Tom, from the Hong Kong Aid addressed the rally. He said, “The CCP is a friend of terrorism. The CCP is the threat to the whole world. We must keep on fighting for the freedom of Hong Kong. Step out! United and Resist!”
Sam Walton, CEO of Free Tibet, addressed the rally. He said, “Chinese Communist Party’s aggressive expansionism is a threat to democracy, human rights and freedom around the world. Bootlicking world leaders are as good as inviting China to wipe Tibet, Hong Kong and East Turkestan off the map, It’s time for everyone who cares about human rights to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party.”
National anthems of East Turkistan, Hong Kong and Tibet were played once again before Tsering Passang gave his concluding remarks. He said, “We know that the CCP regime poses a real threat to global peace and security.
“Xi Jinping and his regime must immediately end their brutal crackdown on innocent people across China and its occupied territories, who are entitled to basic rights as enshrined in the Universal Declarations of Human Rights. It is about time China ends the colonisation of its neighbours and discrimination against the minorities.
“As Mao Tsetung once said, “where there is oppression there will be resistance”. So, we the people of Tibet, East Turkistan, Hong Kong, Southern Mongolia, Taiwan as well as all those oppressed groups such as the Falun Gong practitioners, will continue to defy and resist the Chinese Communist regime and its repressive rule.”
This year protest was jointly organised by:
– Free Tibet
– Hong Kong Aid
– Hong Kong Liberty
– Power to Hongkongers
– Uyghur Community UK
– World Uyghur Congress
– Tibetan Community in Britain
– Global Alliance for Tibet and Persecuted Minorities
A coalition of UK-based Hong Kong, Tibetan and Uyghur communities staged a public protest in central London to highlight the CCP regime’s continued brutal crackdown and curtailment of freedom of speech and human dignity in their countries.
Rights groups and NGOs such as Atlas, Free Tibet, World Uyghur Congress and Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities supported these communities, who were calling for their basic freedom, human dignity and democracy.
Resist the CCP Day – Joint London Rally kicked off in Piccadilly Circus on Friday, 1st October at 6.30pm. Protesters chanted “Free Tibet”, “Free Hong Kong” and “Free East Turkistan”.
At 7pm, the protesters marched to the Chinese Embassy located at 49 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL (via Regent’s Street and Oxford Circus) where further rally was held at 8pm.
About 1000 people joined this year’s protest. Organisers of this year’s protest included:
– Free Tibet
– Global Alliance for Tibet and Persecuted Minorities
To mark the 72nd founding anniversary of the PRC’s National Day
A coalition of UK-based Tibetan, Hong Kong and Uyghur communities are staging a public protest in central London to highlight the CCP regime’s continued brutal crackdown and curtailment of freedom of speech and human dignity in their countries.
British rights groups and NGOs such as Atlas, Free Tibet, World Uyghur Congress and Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities are supporting these communities, who are calling for their basic freedom, human dignity and democracy.
Resist the CCP Day – Joint London Rally starts at Piccadilly Circus on Friday, 1st October at 6.30pm.
At 7pm, the protesters will march to the Chinese Embassy, 49 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL(via Regent’s Street and Oxford Circus) where the Main Rally will be held at 8pm.
Please join this protest, show your support and solidarity with the peoples of East Turkistan, Hong Kong and Tibet.
– Atlas – Free Tibet – Global Alliance for Tibet and Persecuted Minorities – Hong Kong Aid – Hong Kong Liberty – Power to Hongkongers – Tibetan Community in Britain – World Uyghur Congress
Premier screening of a unique documentary film ‘Getza – Helping Others’
The first public screening of a unique documentary film ‘Getza – Helping Others’ is being planned for 20th October 2021 at the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS, University of London from 7pm – 8.45pm.
Introduction to the Film
Since the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1949/50 there was no peace and the political situation was deteriorating.
“Don’t come back until you are helpful to others”.
With these words of his master in his mind, a teenage monk left Tibet in 1958 with the dream of soon returning to his homeland.
‘Getza -Helping Others’ recounts this incredible Odyssey – from monastery to guerrilla, of diplomacy and politics – that led to the creation of Tibet Foundation, a unique British charity supporting the Tibetan people. Including interviews with individuals from all over the world and rare archive footage, some never seen before, this documentary film tells a story of the Foundation and a tribute to all those who have participated, contributed and helped the work to become a great success story.
This year, the Tibet Foundation came to an end. And after living in exile for more than six decades, the young monk’s dream of returning to his homeland is still to be realised. In the hearts of the Tibetan people the dream of freedom lives on.
Admission is Free
But due to COVID restrictions and limited space attendees are requested to confirm their attendance by emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible, latest by 4th October 2021, giving the name of the person who will be attending the event.
Beijing Seeking to Erase Memory of 1989 Tiananmen Massacre
(Human Rights Watch, New York) – Hong Kong’s government should drop all charges against leaders of the civic group that had been holding annual mass vigils in Victoria Park commemorating the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre in China, 61 Hong Kong and international human rights groups said today.
On September 9, 2021, the Hong Kong justice secretary charged the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, the group’s chair Lee Cheuk-yan, 64, and the vice-chairs Chow Hang-tung, 36, and Albert Ho, 69, with “inciting subversion.” Police had arrested Chow on September 8, while Lee and Ho have been jailed for their activism since April and May, respectively. Chow, and four other leading members of the group, Tang Ngok-kwan, 53, Simon Leung, 36, Chan To-wai, 57, and Tsui Hon-kwong, 72, are separately charged with “failing to comply with notice to provide information.” All five have been denied bail. The prosecutions violate Hong Kong’s obligations under international human rights law to respect the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.
“By arresting vigil organizers, Beijing and Hong Kong authorities are telling the world they’re not only afraid of the most peaceful protests, but also of their own brutal past,” said Sophie Richardson, China Director at Human Rights Watch. “They should end this political persecution and immediately drop the charges and release the vigil organizers.”
The charges of “inciting subversion” and “failing to comply with notice to provide information” are crimes under Hong Kong’s draconian National Security Law (arts. 23 and 43), which the Chinese government imposed on the city on June 30, 2020. The definitions of these offenses are overly broad and vague. “Subversion” criminalizes any act that seriously “interferes,” “disrupts,” or “undermines” the functioning of the Chinese or Hong Kong government, a definition that can readily include peaceful protests.
The charges are part of Beijing’s escalating campaign against the Hong Kong Alliance.
Until the Hong Kong police banned the vigils in 2020 and 2021, citing public health grounds, Hong Kong was the only place under Chinese sovereignty where the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre was publicly remembered every year.
The government stepped up its intimidation campaign in 2021. On June 2, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department declared that the alliance’s “June 4th Museum,” which focuses on the Tiananmen crackdown, had violated the law for not having a “public entertainment” permit, compelling the alliance to temporarily close the museum.
On June 4, the police arrested Chow for “inciting unauthorized assembly” after she urged people to mark the Tiananmen Massacre by lighting candles. The police also blocked off the park and stationed thousands of officers throughout the city to prevent any gatherings.
In July, the Hong Kong Alliance laid off its staff and downsized its operations in anticipation of the government’s crackdown on the group. On August 25, police demanded the group’s membership list and financial information in an investigation of its alleged “collusion with foreign powers.” After the group refused to provide the information, citing the police’s misuse of power and lack of reasonable cause, the police again arrested Chow, along with the alliance committee members.
On September 9, police raided the shuttered June 4th Museum and removed some of the exhibits, including photos of previous Victoria Park vigils and an oversized paper cutout of the Goddess of Democracy, a statue that had featured in the 1989 pro-democracy protests in China. On September 10, police froze HK$2.2 million (US$ 282,850) worth of assets of the alliance. On the same day, the Hong Kong secretary for security informed the alliance that the government is planning to revoke the alliance’s registration with the Company Registrar, which will effectively disband the group.
Human rights and fundamental freedoms are enshrined in Hong Kong’s de facto constitution, the Basic Law. These rights are also guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which is incorporated into Hong Kong’s legal framework via the Basic Law and expressed in the Bill of Rights Ordinance. The ICCPR protects the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, among other basic liberties.
Concerned governments should impose coordinated, targeted sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Police Commissioner Raymond Siu, Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung, and other Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for the attacks on the Hong Kong Alliance, the groups said. Those governments should also issue coordinated public statements expressing concern about attacks on civic groups more generally. Over the long term, they should provide assistance to groups outside Hong Kong and China to archive and publish materials, including slogans, artworks, and political content, that are now banned or barred in Hong Kong, particularly those related to the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.
“Hong Kong and mainland authorities should not be able to ban commemorations, shutter museums, and jail peaceful critics without paying a price,” Jianli Yang, founder and president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China, said. “Governments appalled by the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in Hong Kong should make their opposition felt.”
List of Group Signatories:
Action Free Hong Kong Montreal
Alliance Canada Hong Kong
Association of the New School for Democracy
Bay Area Friends of Tibet
Boston Tibet Network
Cambridge Stands With Hong Kong (UK)
Cadal – Argentina
Canada-Hong Kong Link
China Aid Association
China Against the Death Penalty
China Political Prisoners Concern Group, HK
Citizen Power Initiatives for China
Comité pour la Liberté à Hong Kong
ECO Tibet Ireland
Germany Stands with Hong Kong
Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM)
Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete-Portugal
Hong Kong Committee in Norway
Hong Kong Committee in Norway
Hong Kong Democracy Council
Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles
Hong Kong Social Action Movements in Boston
Hong Kong Watch
Human Rights in China
Human Rights Watch
International Campaign for Tibet
International Service for Human Rights
International Society for Human Rights, Munich Chapter
International Tibet Network
Judicial Reform Foundation
LUNGTA – Actief voor Tibet
Netherlands for Hong Kong
New Yorkers Supporting Hong Kong (NY4HK)
Northern California Hong
Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet
Students for a Free Tibet
Swedish Tibet Committee
Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association
Taiwan Association for Human Rights, TAHR
Taiwan Hong Kong Association
Taiwan Forever Association, TFA
Taiwan Support China Human Rights Lawyers Network
The Taiwan United Nations Alliance
The Tibet Support Committee, Denmark
Tibet Initiative Deutschland
Tibet Justice Center
Toronto Association for Democracy in China
Torontonian HongKongers Action Group
Uyghur Human Rights Project
Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
Vancouver Hong Kong Forum Society
Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement
The Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM) welcome the decision of Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Lord Speaker Lord McFall to ban the new Chinese Ambassador, Zheng Zeguang’s entry into the UK Parliament whilst China’s sanctions against the British parliamentarians are in place.
Zheng, who moved to London earlier this year from Beijing to take up China’s top foreign diplomatic post, was scheduled to attend a reception hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary China Group (APPCG) in parliament this week. The APPCG, established in 1997, is believed to be one of the largest all-party parliamentary groups in the UK parliament. It currently has 306 members from both the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
The BBC reported Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s Statement on this issue and it quoted: “I do not feel it’s appropriate for the ambassador for China to meet on the Commons estate and in our place of work when his country has imposed sanctions against some of our members.
“If those sanctions were lifted, then of course this would not be an issue.”
Tim Loughton MP, a former Minister, who was one of the MPs sanctioned by the Chinese government earlier this year for speaking up against the Uyghur Muslims genocide and forced labour programme in Tibet, tweeted, “If the genocidal Chinese regime think they can shut down free speech by parliamentarians in a democracy there are consequences and in this case it is that the Chinese regime must not have a platform in the Mother of Parliaments.”
According to media reports, this ruling was made after a number of senior parliamentary figures including Sir Iain Duncan Smith, wrote letters to the Speakers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, voicing their deep concerns of the Chinese ambassador’s planned visit to the parliament.
They said: “The sanctions imposed by the Chinese government represent an attack not just on members directly targeted but on Parliament, all parliamentarians, select committees, and parliamentary privilege.
“We should never allow our place of work to become a platform to validate and promote such sanctions.
“We know that this is a view shared by a great many Right Honourable and Honourable Members who will wish their protests to be heard if this visit is to go ahead.”
They added: “It is unthinkable therefore that parliamentarians should have to suffer this infringement on our liberties whilst the prime representative of the Chinese government in the UK is still apparently free to come to Westminster and to use facilities here as a mouthpiece for his regime.”
In response to this unprecedented entry ban, the Chinese Embassy, on 14th September, issued a Statement on its website: “The decision of the UK Parliament reflects the narrow and parochial mindset of some individuals in the UK. It is a shortsighted, reckless and cowardly move. We despise and strongly condemn this.
“China’s sanctions on a handful of anti-China parliamentarians of the UK, announced in March, were completely justified and reasonable. It was a necessary response to these people who spread slanderous rumours and disinformation about China’s Xinjiang and to the unilateral sanctions on relevant personnel and institutions in China by the UK side on the pretext of Xinjiang-related issues.”
Tsering Passang, founder and convener of the Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities (GATPM), said, “We disagree with this latest false statement by the Chinese Embassy because we know what is actually happening in China’s occupied territories such as East Turkistan (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) and Tibet. We unequivocally condemn China’s ongoing illegal occupation of Tibet and East Turkistan. The Chinese regime’s continued brutal persecutions of Tibetans, Uyghur Muslims as well as other ethnic minorities must end now. Until we see a real change in the behaviour of Chinese government in these occupied territories, we will continue to garner political support from the UK and around the world.”
Today, we are gathered here to commemorate the sixty-first founding anniversary of the Tibetan Parliament in 1960 following the arrival of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and 80,000 Tibetans in exile.
On 3 February 1960, barely ten months after arriving in exile, the representatives of Tibetans in exile gathered for the first time in India’s sacred land of Bodhgaya and took Na-gyen Chenmo (great oath) pledging utmost dedication and sacrifice to forge unity and cooperation under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. His Holiness said, “Unlike the past system in Tibet, it is extremely important to establish a democratic form of governance based on harmonious blend of spiritual and political values. Hence, a popularly elected body of people’s representatives is needed. After you return to your respective places, select from the general public nominees who are educated, capable, patriotic and trustworthy. For the time being, elect one representative from the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and three representatives from the three traditional provinces.” Accordingly, elections were duly held and 13 representatives were elected and thus began the first Commission of the Tibetan People’s Deputies. They took their oath on 2 September 1960. In 1975, the Kashag declared to commemorate 2 September as the founding day of Tibetan democracy.
In the challenging environment faced on arrival in exile, His Holiness took the bold step of instituting the election of people’s representatives and making structural reforms in the exile Tibetan polity to encourage and steer it towards genuine democracy and rule of law. Because of far-reaching vision of His Holiness, today the Tibetan administration in exile represents all the Tibetan religious faiths, and has jurisdiction not only over areas administered by the Gaden Phodrang government but also the whole of Tibet’s three traditional provinces of U-tsang, Kham and Amdo. The unprecedented consciousness among the Tibetans in exile of belonging to a single Tibetan nationality could also be considered as a fruit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s democratisation efforts.
Furthermore, on 10 October 1961, a draft Constitution for Future Tibet was announced followed by the promulgation of the Constitution on 10 March 1963. It paved way for the formation of three pillars of democracy, and creation of fundamental rights and responsibilities of the people. Moreover, to have genuine democracy His Holiness even provided a clause in the constitution allowing for his own impeachment. Similarly, the use of hereditary titles and prerogatives in Tibet were withdrawn.
As the Tibetan Parliament had no secretariat till 3 May 1966, the deputies were attached to various departments of the Central Tibetan Administration. However, it was the Tibetan Parliament which proposed to His Holiness the nominees for the civil servants during the reorganization of the five main departments and four branch offices in 1960.
During that time, the Chinese government pursued its policy of brutal suppression of Tibetan people’s peaceful protests and thrust upon them its so-called democratic reform. How China’s policies brought tragedy in Tibet as it literally experienced hell on earth is evident in the 10th Panchen Lama Choekyi Gyaltsen’s 70,000-character petition to the Chinese government. As a result, the Panchen Lama was sentenced to 14 years in prison and he had to suffer far more cruel treatment during the Cultural Revolution.
Along with establishment of the Tibetan Parliament, the system of six monthly work meeting of the Kashag, Parliament, civil servants and heads of the institutions were started, and till 1969, 17 such meetings were organised. In 1969 it was decided to call an Annual General Meeting. Till 1989, 16 annual general meetings were held with the participation of almost entire section of the local communities. These meetings made significant contribution during the course of the Tibetan democracy. As per His Holiness’s advice, the election of Garthue (local deputies) began from 1964. In 1965, His Holiness also advised that the Tibetan people should elect their settlement officers. In 1972, Tibetans from Varanasi spearheaded an initiative to seek public support for the administration and consequently Tibetan Freedom Movement Subcommittee was set up in Tibetan settlements.
It is not that the process of democratization in exile was carried out unimpeded. It is needless to say that the establishment of democratic governance had negatively affected the interest of those in power to cling to the old system. And those who lack understanding of democracy created various obstacles to the progress of democracy. However, because of his unwavering commitment to follow the democratic system, His Holiness succeeded in smoothly carrying out the reforms in accordance with the changing times.
Since 1974, the Tibetan Youth Congress proposed that the deputies to the Assembly be elected by the combined electorate of the people of all the three provinces. The high-level Standing Committee of the Assembly accepted the proposal and amended the rules. However, during the election of 8th ATPD in 1982, the deputies from Dotoe province and Nyingma school resigned during the primary round and entrusted His Holiness to appoint all the deputies. His Holiness was entrusted to appoint the deputies of the 9th Assembly due to the refusal of Dotoe province to take part in the election. Due to lack of required nominee from Dotoe and Nyingma in the primary election of the 10th Assembly, the high-level Standing Committee was compelled to pass a resolution, calling for the previous Assembly members to continue as the new members.
Similarly, since early 1977, His Holiness advised the Kashag and Standing Committee to make necessary improvements in the appointment of head of the Kashag, election of Kalons and the setting of their term limits. During the 16th National General Assembly held in 1989, His Holiness emphasised the need for more democratic reforms including election of a head of the CTA. However, the Tibetan leaders and people could not come up with a common action plan to act as per His Holiness’s advice.
His Holiness dissolved the Kashag and Parliament in 1990, and in May convened a special conference with 369 participants from members of the Parliament, CTA, former Kalons, representatives of NGOs and institutes, and religious schools and recently arrived Tibetans from Tibet. During the conference His Holiness appointed the Constitution Review Committee. On 14 June 1991, the 11th Tibetan Parliament adopted the Charter bearing the hallmark of democracy, i.e., the three pillars of democracy and autonomous bodies. In order to further the process of democratization, the system of direct election of Kalon Tripa was started in 2001 and His Holiness took semi-retired position. The most significant democratic development took place in 2011 with the devolution of His Holiness’s political authority to the democratically-elected leader of the Central Tibetan Administration through the 25th amendment of the charter.
The essence of democracy is encapsulated by former US president Abraham Lincoln who said democracy is of the people, by the people and for the people. It should be guaranteed by the rule of law and the constitution on which all the laws are based to ensure that the workings of the government should be within the ambit of the laws and that fundamental rights of the people are not affected. The constitution reflects the aspirations of the people, and those in authority are forbidden to act in contravention of it and manipulate the constitution. For this reason the new Kashag declared that the rule of law is the essence of its commitment to equality and justice. Democracy is the most important resource to keep alive our freedom struggle and combine our capabilities. When Tibet regains its freedom, democracy is indispensable for its political, economic and cultural development.
Today, as we commemorate the 61st democracy day, we extend our heartfelt greetings to our compatriots in Tibet. No matter how much China’s propaganda machinery make false claims of development during the 70 years of so-called peaceful liberation of Tibet in its recent White Papers, Tibetans inside Tibet have maintained indomitable courage and determination in the face of China’s continued policy to exterminate the Tibetan identity, and they have been making all round efforts to protect Tibet’s religion, culture, language and tradition, for which we remain deeply grateful. It is this strength that unites the Tibetans in exile and keeps alive the freedom struggle. It is the common wish in our heart to reunite in Tibet and we would like to appeal to our brethren in Tibet not to lose their determination.
The present Kashag has been carrying out its administrative works without any negligence. However, the inability of the parliament to convene its session has been preventing it from carrying out its legislative functions. The parliament is also not able to make use of the opportunities to plan activities and campaigns in accordance with the changing situation in China and the international community. The Kashag has been informed of several instances of the Chinese government exploiting this issue to spread falsehood inside Tibet, create division in the exile Tibetan community and misuse it at the international platforms. It has created great concern and apprehension among the governments, parliaments and Tibet supporters who genuinely support us. Tibetans inside Tibet said they would stop their activities for the Tibetan cause if the problem is not resolved immediately. As all of us know that there are people in our small community who are just venting emotions without careful thinking.
The present Kashag will extend its cooperation and support to any means that are within the Charter. We would like to stress that it is high time that the concerned people should seriously weigh the advantages and disadvantages if the situation lingers on, and make no mistake in their consideration by taking responsibility in the highest interest of our cause. If the impasse drags on due to their intransigence, it will only lead to the collapse of Tibetan administration. Neither will any Tibetan like to see such a result, nor will it benefit any Tibetan. The Kashag is ready and firmly committed to work with the parliament as mandated by the Charter and make concerted efforts in working towards the greater cause of Tibet and welfare of the Tibetan people.
In conclusion, the Kashag extends its warm greetings to India, the United States and all the countries and Tibet Support Groups around the world for supporting the just cause of Tibet. We pray for the flourishing of the meritorious works of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the spontaneous fulfillment of all his wishes. May Tibetan democracy continue to flourish.
The Kashag 2 September 2021
N.B. Translated from the original in Tibetan. In case of any discrepancies, treat the original Tibetan as final and authoritative
The Central Tibetan Administration today organised an official ceremony to celebrate the 61st anniversary of Tibetan Democracy Day at Sikyong hall in Gangchen Kyishong.
The ceremony was attended by Sikyong Penpa Tsering, Chief Justice Commissioner Sonam Norbu Dagpo, Justice Commissioners Karma Damdul and Tenzin Lungtok, and the heads of the three autonomous bodies. It was also attended by Secretaries and senior staff of the Central Tibetan Administration.
Following the singing of the Tibetan national anthem, the ceremony began with a performance of Tibetan democracy song by the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA). A speech on the importance of strengthening Tibetan democratic institutions by His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivered at the first Tibetan General Meeting on 31 August 2010 was also screened at the ceremony.