Don’t Stop the Revolution!

There is a recurring nightmare, well known in clinical psychiatry, in which the sleeper belabours an enemy, but to absolutely no effect. The more furiously the enemy is beaten, or punched or kicked, the more infuriatingly untouched he remains. All these years living and working in Dharamshala I have felt myself struggling under a burden of unrelieved frustration and ineffectiveness, often even uselessness. I have no doubt other Tibetans in exile as well as inside Tibet have experienced much the same. But now it seems we are finally waking up from this long nightmare and beginning to realize that what we do has effect, does makes a difference; that we can land a blow – a hard blow – against the Communist Chinese regime. And that although our common goal of Tibetan independence may not happen as soon as we would like it to, we can actually take concrete steps, make sacrifices if need be, to advance the time-table of it’s realization.

How can we adequately describe all that has happened (and is happening) in Tibet? The media has been calling them protests, outbursts, demonstrations, riots, even uprisings, which is perhaps adequate when describing one isolated event, but completely fails to encompass the significance of this year’s 10th March mega-explosion. It is a revolution. Nothing less.

Consider how widespread the events were. In 1987- 89, the protests occurred in Lhasa and some surrounding monasteries and villages. But this year they took place as far away east in Amdo and Kham, within the Chinese provinces of Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai. The names of these flashpoints: Ngaba, Bora, Labrang, Mangra, Ditsa, Yulgan, Tsekhog, Tsoe, Palung, Chentsa, Rebgong, Kyegudo, Dariang, Sershul, Machu, Chigdril, Chone, Luchu, Ngaba, Serthar, Palyul, Tehor, Drango, Barkham, Tridu, Kanze, Lithang, Nyakrong and many others, ring out in defiance. I will take the vision of the charging horsemen (and bikers) of Bora to my grave. In Central Tibet, we have had protests and clashes in Sakya, Shigatse, Samye, Toelung Dechen, Ratoe, Phenpo, Gaden, Medrogongkar, and unnamed areas in Western Tibet. Even in Beijing and Lanzhou, in a sea of hostile Chinese, Tibetan university students courageously organized protests and sit-ins. Tibetans everywhere came out and flew the old national flag, shouted their commitment to Rangzen (independence) and their devotion to their leader the Dalai Lama. Even after the Chinese crackdown and mass arrests, thirty Tibetan monks protested in the Jokhang before visiting foreign journalists on a showcase tour of the city. Some days later when foreign government officials were taken on a publicity tour of the city, another major demonstration broke out in the Ramoche area of Lhasa.

Then there were the demonstrations, protests, marches and vigils by exile Tibetans and supporters in nearly every major city in the world. These have been unusually vigorous, even aggressive. A fairly common feature of these events has been the tearing down of the Chinese flag from the embassy or consulate flagpole and its replacement by the national Tibetan flag. I still cannot get over the video of the amazing Tibetan spider man who climbed up the walls of the Chinese embassy in Vienna with such speed and skill and pulled down the hated Red flag. And it’s all still going on inside Tibet and elsewhere. A number of exile Tibetans in New York City have given up their day jobs and are living on their savings in order to keep the demonstrations and protests going. Last Sunday I was at a rally organized by the only Tibetan in Nashville, the capital of Tennessee. I drove down from the mountain with my family and friends. Other Tibetans had come – students, monks and lay people ¬– driving many hours from neighbouring Georgia and Kentucky.

The spontaneity of it all was remarkable. Yes, we had the common focus of the Beijing Olympics, but Tibetans everywhere, thousands of miles apart, seemed to be operating on a single wavelength. Some of our more admiring dharma friends would say that our native telepathic abilities were being brought into play. But Anne Applebaum, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and scholar (Gulag, A History) in her March 18 article in the Washington Post provides a more prosaic explanation ¬¬– cell phones.

For Applebaum the events in Tibet represent one manifestation of a wider reaction of “captive nations”, Uighurs, Mongols, Tibetans, rising up against the tyrannical rule of an old imperial and foreign power that has long oppressed smaller countries and societies surrounding it. Applebaum includes even such independent nations as North Korea and Burma in this category, hence, quite accurately, relegating Kim Jong Il and the Burmese military junta to the role of Beijing’s surrogate dictators. As if in confirmation of Applebaum’s broad theory, Reuters reported, just a few days ago, that that major demonstrations had broken out in East Turkestan (Xinjiang).

On the events in Tibet Applebaum concludes that if Chinese leaders “… aren’t worried, they should be. After all, the past two centuries were filled with tales of strong, stable empires brought down by their subjects, undermined by their client states, overwhelmed by the national aspirations of small, subordinate countries. Why should the 21st century be any different? Watching a blurry cell phone video of tear gas rolling over the streets of Lhasa yesterday, I couldn’t help but wonder when – maybe not in this decade, this generation or even this century – Tibet and its monks will have their revenge.”

The Tibetans, clergy and lay, are not a vengeful people, but they are not going to settle for anything less than an independent Tibet, and I have a feeling that this will probably happen sooner than Applebaum thinks. But Applebaum is correct in one thing, that this is much much bigger than most people are able to grasp. The Tibetan leadership does not seem to have grasped it at all.

At such a profoundly historic moment, the actions of the exile government in Dharamshala come across as incomprehensible and alarming. On March 17th, the Dalai Lama summoned the leaders of the five organizations that had united to create the Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement and organized the various demonstrations in India and throughout the world, and also organized the peace march to Tibet. The Dalai Lama ordered them to halt their march to Tibet. Not only were the organizers forced to stop their long-planned March to Tibet, but His Holiness’s command seems to have caused the unfortunate breakup of this dynamic alliance.

Then under the direction of the Prime Minister Samdhong Rimpoche, the exile cabinet and parliament created a special “Solidarity Committee” to take over the various independent campaigns and activities taking place around the world. It appears that members of the Committee approached the leaders and representative of these campaigns and organizations, and instructed them to terminate their independent activities and operate under the direction of the Committee. A kind of divide and conquer strategy appears to have been employed by the Committee. They approached and spoke separately to individual organizations. One representative of an activist group informed me that a Committee spokesperson told him that the situation in Tibet was so critical that it constituted a “national emergency”, hence the exile government had the right and the duty to take over all the activities of all the independent groups, which henceforth had to just do what the “Solidarity Committee” told them to do. It is ironic that Communist Chinese authorities are using the similar tired and cynical arguments of “national security” to justify their brutal crack down of Tibetan protesters in Tibet. The Tibetan government should understand that it is violating the rights of individual Tibetans – especially the right to peaceful assembly and the right of peaceful protest – when it does this. It may not be enforcing its will brutally but it is using coercion and even emotional and (dare I say) “spiritual” blackmail by exploiting the people’s devotion to the Dalai Lama.

Prime Minister Samdhong Rimpoche also got in the “divide and conquer” business with a speech he gave on the 20thof March, or thereabouts. I heard an excerpt on Radio Free Asia on the 25th,Tuesday. He offered lavish praise on the efforts of the protesters in Tibet. But then strangely he began to criticize those protesters and activists in India and the West. He asked, somewhat sarcastically, whether these people thought that they could achieve beyond what the Dalai Lama had done? He directed his criticism particularly at the Tibetan Youth Congress. Although he didn’t name the organization, he specified an occasion a year ago when the Youth Congress organized a major demonstration in Delhi against the Chinese. It coincided with the time when the Dalai Lama was in Delhi. Rimpoche angrily demanded to know why the organizers chose the very day when the Dalai Lama was in Delhi. Was it their intention to sabotage what the Dalai Lama was doing?

Circulars have been sent from Dharamshala to NGO’s and support groups instructing them to stop using the term “FREE TIBET”. Earlier, only the term independence or Rangzen was regarded as taboo, but now even such a broad and inoffensive term as “freedom” is seen as too provocative. Instructions have also apparently been issued to the Tibetan public not to tear, burn or step on the Chinese Communist Flag. A week ago, Tenzin Choeden, a member of the Solidarity Committee spoke before Chinese UN mission in New York where Tibetans have been keeping up a vigorous demonstration since March 10th. The Solidarity Committee representative gave a lengthy and roundabout speech where he called on Tibetans not to shout slogans demanding Independence for Tibet, and a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. Much to the annoyance of the crowd he also told protesters not to display a large banner they were carrying which read “China Out of Tibet”.

On 31st March Tibetans from Washington DC, New York, Boston, Charlottesville and Philadelphia gathered at the American capital for a rally. Staff members of the International Campaign for Tibet, ICT, (most probably on instructions from the Solidarity Committee) tried to remove a large banner proclaiming “Independence For Tibet” which was hanging on the stage and other banners and placards and banners reading “Boycott Beijing Olympics” and “Boycott Genocide Olympics.” An unfortunate dispute broke out between the protesters and the ICT staff who maintained that since ICT chief, Lodi Gyari, would be speaking at the rally and it would be inconvenient for him to have such anti-Chinese banners around him.

The Tibetan leadership is playing with fire. If it actually manages to get all Tibetans completely dispirited and feeling hopeless, it might achieve its goal of “stopping the crisis”, but that would be the end of the exile government. I don’t see anyone listening to it anymore. On the other hand Tibetan activists and protesters might become outraged and beat up a Committee representative or even be provoked enough to demonstrate before the Office of Tibet in New York City or ICT in Washington DC. It would be tremendously embarrassing for the exile government and the Dalai Lama. Either way it would be a setback not only for the government but for the cause of Tibetan independence as well. It is vital that we have a government that is effective and one that we can respect. Right now it seems our leadership is incapable of being either.

I don’t think the exile government is attempting some kind of power grab, as one observer suggested to me. It is more likely that Dharamshala wants to take charge of the movement to water it down. Limit it to candle-light vigils, circulating petitions, wearing black arm-bands and so on, actions which they hope Beijing would not consider provocative, and which would eventually tire and bore all the protesters and activists and persuade them to go home. That much seems evident. Dharamshala just wants to stop the whole thing. Check out the Solidarity Committee website: I don’t think anyone could put it more clearly. And that is what Beijing, in its own more brutal fashion, is attempting to do — stop the Tibet crisis.

Dharamshala’s hope, of course, is that if the crisis is stopped it could go back trying to negotiate with Beijing. In spite of all that has happened in Tibet our leaders completely fail to see that this will never happen. It is far too late for anyone, even Beijing, to stop this revolution. Samdhong Rimpoche and his Solidarity Committee can no more stop it than they can stop a tsunami by standing before it. To my leaders in the exile government (which will always be for me the true government of Tibet) I say this with due respect but also with genuine concern: Step out of the way.


35 Replies to “Don’t Stop the Revolution!”

  1. Jamyang Norbu lak,
    I read your article on and came to know about this blog.
    great article. the last sentence says it all..
    its high time for TGIE also to wake up and take up some solid action, rather it is pouring water on this great fire that broke after many years of supression. TGIE always tries to please China thinking China will become ready to talk with them, still they haven’t understood China. Even if the whole world pressurizes China, they will always do what they want to do.
    TGIE has given enough concessions to the leaders of CCP now they are willing to give up the fight.
    Never the less TGIE is the only govt I truly trust despite finding it foolish and sluggish.

  2. Jamyang Norbula you have once again ‘Belled the Cat’ and as always your honesty, courage and eloquence gives credence to it all.May all the ‘Gods’ of Tibet protect you and keep you safe and well.You are a beacon of light and hope!
    The Tibetan people in Tibet who are the majority have always been consistent about ‘Rangzen’ and this time they have written it in blood for all to see as well. Educated brothers and sisters, independent thinkers are we going to turn a blind eye to this?? How many more have to die, be decapitated, castrated and mutilated to get it into our heads that this is the will of the majority???His Holiness being the epitome of integrity among other things is bound by the original stand he has taken (and other pressures)But do we all have to be rendered helpless and be bound by that again and again and again….Arise brothers and sisters and don’t let the supreme sacrifice of our greatest martyrs yet go to waste. Honour their precious memory, keep the revolution alive! Long-sho Long-sho Bhod-ree Puntha Nam !!

  3. Jamyang Norbu la,
    this article is really good and, from my point of view, says it all… Thug je che – Thank you.

  4. All i can say about you is that you are the tibet’s copernicus;your importance in mass will feel later on and at the time, the whole world will regrat over your absence.Just go on,great mind encounters greater obstacles,thats inevitable for those who influx new ideas into old communities.sallute to you.

  5. Welcome to the wonderful medium of Cyber space.I saw you were added to Agam’s Gecko Blogroll. Hope to be seeing interesting material at your site. Good Luck.

  6. hello jamyang norbu lak,
    i have always admired your way of writing. However, what i really like about you is that you are not afraid to express your opinions even if it collides with TGIE. I feel, you best represent the feelings of all the tibetans in and out of tibet. And that is not autonomy,but INDEPENDENCE.
    P.S- I purchased ur book, shadow tibet during its realease in New York, and i liked it alot.

  7. Great! I have one request, Tibetans knew who Jamyang Norbu is, but many more will not be knowing while came across the platform online. Therefore, I request Jamyang la to put your biography or the port-folios on here as well. It will further add confidence into readers mind.

    Just a Suggestion
    Thank You


  9. I’m looking foreward to buy Jamyang Norbu’s North American edition of Shadow Tibet. Please give me the link to purchase the book. I beleive the book has been published by High Press Asia. Thanks.

  10. Jamyang Norbu la,

    It is wonderful that you are trying to engage this dispersed generation into thoughtful discussions. I feel you should openly accept all kinds of comments, you are inspirational, and the emerging seeds of Tibet should question the orators with best of intentions.

    Free the captives in Phayul.
    What does is mean to be a revolutionary?

  11. Jamyangla,

    It is wonderful that you have started this blog. Your readers will now be able to interact with you on a more personal and real-time level. I am also thrilled that I have an addition to my Tibet related blogroll. Right now we have so few Tibetan bloggers. Hope more Tibetans will join the blogging community and we can raise our voices in the blogosphere and create more awareness for Tibet.

    I agree with what you have written 100%. With all due respect to the Government in Exile, I too feel that the wishes of the majority of Tibetans in Exile should be taken into account. Rangzen should be our ultimate goal. Autonomy in any form is not acceptable because we know that China is not going to concede to that anyway.

    It is now time for a Revolution. The brave monks in Tibet, the nomads in Amdo, Rongye Adrak,..their sacrifices should not have been in vain. The efforts of all the Tibetans participating in protests worldwide should not come to naught.

    Bod Gyalo!

  12. Another piece of apt and timely writing. With the recent uprising happening right now in Tibet, hopefully our elected leaders in Dhasa will wake up from their deep slumber, it’s high time and maybe a different approach to settle the issue is now in order. Like you’ve vividly stated, “Step out of the way”, and let the people speak…Bhod Rangzen

    PS – Keep on writing and hope to see your other articles in print in the near future…

  13. Yes, step aside TGIE, there is no stopping now! Let the will of people keep moving until there is result. If we listen to TGIE, we have to wait decades to see any momentum and we are tired of waiting. We must do our part and support the brave people inside Tibet. When I saw your article I thought this kind of thoughts, encouragement and aspiration should have come from Dharamsala.
    Jamyang Norbu la keep writing.

  14. This essay is so well written. In response to Palden, I would say that as a non-Tibetan, I have never before heard of Jamyang Norbu, but the quality of this writing recommends him well. Jamyang Norbu, where can I buy a copy of your book in the US?

  15. Rang-zen (independence) is our birth right and the true objective. which has now highlighted by our brothers and sisters by their blood. I don;t care what His Holiness and TGIE saying. I care more about our PEOPLE. By now, it seems that His Holiness is caring more about his international image than the Tibet… I totally disagree with this and he should boycott Olympic game……
    Thanks Jamyang Norbu la……

  16. Jamyang Norbula,
    we need you and more then we need more about the revolution. i just cant wait and hear my Tibetan’s staying hell on the earth.

    olympic is the right time for us.
    thankyou and i always belief ur word.

  17. China claims that the recent inspirational acts of defiance inside Tibet and the protests outside are masterminded by His Holiness.

    China should read this article and realize that although all Tibetans respect His Holiness and the TGIE, there are large powerful Tibetan organizations that politically act on their own, and it’s individuals are not afraid to criticize the TGIE’s policies if they don’t agree with it.

    Regarding the disruption of the peace march to Tibet, at this point in our history I place part of the blame on the activists themselves. If one strongly believes their non-violent actions will make a difference, you have to have stronger faith in your own choices.

    Although I have no doubt the TGIE and His Holiness are doing what they feel is the best for Tibet, but the rangzen activists are also doing what they believe is the best way to aid the Tibetans in Tibet, to achieve what they are dying for. The return of His Holiness to Tibet and Freedom.

  18. In this grim period of time for all the tibetans, we, in the exiles should not only show our solidarity to all our fellow brothers and sisters in tibet, but being a tibetan, it is our moral obligation and responsibily to speak against any form of oppression,genocide,torture,and massacre of our countrymen and women inside tibet. God bless the glorious nation of TIBET. God DAMN communist China. bod gyalo, bod rangzen.

  19. I admire and am encouraged by the brave people of Tibetans inside, I salute the Tibetan people who quit their jobs, took vacations, and showed their support by going to rally, by donating money and attended demonstrations on a daily basis. For the Tibetans inside Tibet, I feel the anguish, I moarn the lost of lives not for their own interest but for us all, these are my brave people who sacreficed for our freedom. I am convinced that each one of us can make difference and stand up for our people, and bring down the Chinese government on its knee.

    Dalai Lama made too many requested to visit China and TGIE visited China too many times for useless meetings, they keep telling us something is coming up, but it never came and we knew there is nothing coming up long time ago. Now TGIE should not ask for meeting and Dalai lama should not request to visit China. We want to make Chinese come to us and request us for meeting. That means we have to make trouble for China inside Tibet and continue our struggle and intensify our campaign.

    At the same time, there are a few Tibetans who only seek benefits from being a Tibetan, (For an example, claim and seek asylum, receive help by claiming Tibetan)and if there is gain they are the ones who come first and want everything and anything for themselvies, but they never showed support, never came to demonstrate, they are too scared that they might be photographed by the communist China when they demonstrate or if the Chinese know, may be they are scared that they would not be allowed to visit Tibet. Whatever the reason, I feel petty for them, every Tibetan have relatives in Tibet, everyone has something to loose but we can not stop our struggle. I regard them lesser of Tibetan. When are you going to stand up for your rights, for your people? Are you going to be scared rest of your life? You are in a free country, you do not have to give up your life. Do not only think about your benefits and interest, “Think what you can do for your country, not what the courntry can do for you.” if you think your interest only it is a sad life, you are leading. Come one and join us, we can stand for our brothers and sisters. This is not only our rights but our duty too…..

    Bo Gyala and Tibet will be freee…….

  20. tashi delek jamyang la.
    i was wondering if you would give me permission for me to publish your essay in my small community newspaper.
    thank you
    tenzin wangyal

  21. Dear Jamyangla,
    U are always inspirational for young Tibetan. We agree with very much. Time is running out for Tibet!
    But we have to watch the every step carefully now for this time, this year Tibetan issues has highlighted all over the world.
    We cannot believe China..and TGIE knows that well enough. So, we need a CHANGE!

    Jamyang la.. I have always faith on you.. keep working and writing for Tibet!
    Thu je che…
    free Tibet!

  22. Dear Friends,

    Mr.Jamyang Norbu has whatever expressed through his article is an outcry against typical Tibetan Establishment and Status quoist approach to current Tibetan Revolution say Uprising.

    Even today I remember his words during a Conference on Independence of Tibet where he indicated towards the Tibetan Leadership regarding an action plan for a Free Tibet.

    Mr.Jamyang Norbu has exposed the inactivity, vagueness and double standard of Tibetan Government in exile and Solidarity Committee.

    It is a People’s Revolution which is irreversible and it could not be discouraged by ” coercion and even emotional and (dare I say) “spiritual” blackmail by exploiting the people’s devotion to the Dalai Lama” as remarked by Mr.Norbu.

    Mr.Norbu has honestly analysed the situation and read its long term implications. Now it is up to our revolutionary Tibetan Comrades to introspect and act.

    Hopefully both Tibetan Government in exile and Solidarity Committee will review their defeatist and unfarsighted views regarding this Neo-Tibetan Revolution which burst after intolerable and barbaric repression by Chinese Communist Regime.

    I congratulate Mr.Jamyang Norbu for his courageous expression and for respecting his inner voice and that of millions of Tibetans inside and in exile as well as ordinary people like us across the globe.

    Chanakya rightly declared that during a National Crisis, all intellectuals should come on roads.

    Free Tibet.

    Best regards,
    Baldeo Pandey

  23. I am so glad that finally there is The Tibetan who can write it in a very frank, truthful words. The other day I was listening His Holiness press conference in Tokyo. He emphasis lot about Freedom of speech. I wish TGIE officials will find the importance of the freedom of speech and expression. Learning the lesson from China, I hope exile government will give respect and freedom of speech for people like you and many more youngster those who have these days so much doubts.

    I was shock and stun to hear from Samdhong Rinpoche on tibetv, praising the tibetans in Tibet for their demostration in Tibet while criticizing tibetan yougsters who protested at Chinese embassy in Delhi. Please somebody tell me is this what Hypocrite or not. I am so happy and relaxed that you have the guts to say please take a side back this time.

    Looking forward to hear the blogs from you. This was so inspiring.

  24. Jamyang Norbu la,

    Thank you so much for this article. It provided much needed inspiration when I was most disappointed by the Tibetan Government-in-Exile’s recent decisions concerning the March to Tibet and protests in exile.

    You asked what topics we, your readers, are interested in. I would personally love to hear your thoughts on the heightened sense of Chinese nationalism that we are seeing discussed in the media recently. I have been especially interested in discussions surrounding Andrew Fischer’s op-ed in the Guardian. How can we ensure that our actions aren’t being interpreted as being anti-Chinese and fueling Chinese people’s sense that they are being targeted and criticized by the West? I know that’s a huge question that is being discussed at ITSN meetings, but I would be interested in your opinion.

    In Solidarity,

  25. The discussion of “defeatism” reminds me of an essay idea that’s been floating around in my mind, tentatively called “the axioms of the Sinophile”. After dealing with so many China scholars and China-minded businessmen and politicians over the years, who even while often claiming to have sympathy for Tibet continue to undermine and oppose active struggle for Tibet’s freedom, I’ve been coming up with a systematic assessment of their working assumptions which necessarily lead to defeatist conclusions. The first two “axioms” are pretty clear to me so far:

    1. In any conflict or dealing with China, the best you can hope for is for China to fully get their way.

    2. The worst case scenario is for China to fully get their way and hurt you badly on top of that, if you get in their way.

    The remainder of the list is yet to be formulated clearly.

    Anyway, the point in my highlighting these assumptions that China-friendly people work on is that they’re inherently incompatible with anything we want to accomplish, and as such people fighting for Tibet’s freedom cannot rely on the judgment of people whose whole line of reasoning is built upon such assumptions. But nonetheless, a number of people (both Tibetan and non-Tibetan) in this struggle have been advised and swayed by such ideology, to a point where defeatism is the only possible conclusion.

    If we’re to stop China-minded people from continuing to sway Tibetan and World leaders away from the struggle, I think we need a serious breakdown and analysis of the “axioms”. The most obvious line of attack is refuting them, showing cases where China is not an immovable indestructible wall but something that can be challenged and changed. However, perhaps more practical than trying to argue with people who are very set in their ways of thinking about China is establishing irrefutably that the axioms necessarily lead to defeat, and that regardless of whether they are true or not, we must wager on the possibility that they are false in order to have any hope of moving forward.

    I’ll keep you guys posted as this idea develops into some real writing.

    In solidarity,

    by Tsoltim N. Shakabpa

    Some Tibetans are asking for autonomy for Tibet from Communist China while many Tibetans, especially the young who are the future of Tibet, are struggling for total independence. Why would some Tibetans ask for considerably less freedom than those of us in exile currently enjoy? Why would some Tibetans seek an agreement that denies us the right to manage our own foreign and military affairs, travel freely anywhere in the world and freely voice our opinion of political leaders? Under the sovereignty of an autocratic communist regime we certainly wouldn’t have those rights. What use is autonomy under Communist China if it means denying the intrinsic values we cherish?

    By asking the communists for an official agreement to have autonomous status for Tibet, we will be surrendering to marxists and atheists many of the rights we are now entitled to and locking ourselves into a constricted and precarious situation from which we cannot withdraw.

    If we enter into an official agreement on autonomy under the sovereignty of a tyrannical communist regime some of the restrictions, including firm restrictions on all foreign and military affairs, we will face are:

    1. Practice of Tibetan religion, culture and traditions within “autonomous” Tibet will be under strict Chinese scrutiny.
    2. Promotion of Tibetan culture, religion and traditions abroad will either be prohibited or restricted as it concerns foreign affairs.
    3. Restrictions on all foreign travel.
    4. If ever the Dalai Lama is allowed to travel abroad, he will be accompanied by Chinese agents, who will dictate what he may say or do.
    5. Tibetans will have to carry Chinese passports when traveling abroad.
    6. Tibet can never be represented in any international body or agency as it concerns foreign affairs.
    7. Foreign investments in Tibet will be controlled by China as it concerns foreign affairs.
    8. China will have the authority to impound or export from Tibet any valuable Tibetan resources as they can claim it affects Tibet’s foreign welfare and affairs.
    9. China will have full control over the flow of the Drichu and Machu Rivers in Tibet as China will claim they affect the Yangtse and Huang Ho Rivers in China since the Drichu becomes the Yangtse in China and the Machu becomes the Huang Ho in China. Any such activity will gravely affect the Tibetan ecological and environmental system.
    10. Tibetans, within Tibet, will never be permitted to record for history all the misdeeds that China inflicted upon Tibet.
    11. Tibetans will never be permitted to claim restitution from China for all the misdeeds (killings and torture) inflicted upon them.
    12. China will never agree to having the whole of ethnic Tibet under one Tibetan administration. Thus autonomous Tibet will simply be a miniscule semblance of what independent Tibet was.
    13. The Chinese will always deceptively impose their puppets on a Tibetan administration under an agreement for autonomy.
    14. Tibetans will never be allowed to raise their national flag.
    15. China would be free to continue flooding autonomous Tibet with Han Chinese as they would be the sovereign rulers.

    The above are just a few of the restrictions Tibetans will face if an agreement on autonomy is signed. And, furthermore, who is to say that the Communist Chinese will not tighten the noose around the necks of the Tibetans as they did after the first signing of an agreement on autonomy in 1951, which they themselves dictated?

    Even if Tibet ever realizes autonomy under the sovereignty of Communist China, Tibetans will never truly trust the situation. Tibetans will set one foot outside Tibet and the other foot in Tibet. And unlike Hong Kong, which is mostly made up of Chinese, Tibetans will never completely assimilate with the Han race because of the Han’s superiority complex nor accept a communist regime as their ideologies differ completely.

    The Tibetan Government-in Exile’s chief envoy in his negotiations with China proclaims “we must not look at the past” in order to avoid upsetting the Chinese with the touchy subject of our history of independence. But the very intrinsic values of Buddhism teach us that our future depends upon our past. The past is what makes us Tibetans and the past is what will make the future. Even the Dalai Lama’s own elder brother, the honorable Taktser Rimpoche, despite his age and physical disability, is valiantly fighting for independence, not for autonomy. My own late father, the historian, statesman and former Finance Minister of independent Tibet, Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa, steadfastly stood for an independent Tibet all his life.

    With autonomy under the sovereignty of Communist China, Tibetans will go the way of American Indians with even far less freedom. For real freedom, the only option is to continue the struggle to regain Tibet’s independence or have an agreement for genuine autonomy with a truly democratic state. The fall of empires through the ages, as well as the fall of the Spanish
    and British Empires, the Nazi Rule and the Soviet Union is proof that impermanence is the constant in nature. Dictatorships in Burma, Kenya and Zimbabwe may yet fall. Therefore, the Chinese tyranny and power over Tibet and its other colonies will too one day soon come to an end. Just like India, the Philippines, many African nations and eastern European countries, one day Tibet too will be free and independent if Tibetans continue their struggle for freedom no matter how long it takes.

    Why would the Tibetan Government-in-Exile sign “another” agreement on autonomy with Communist China when under communism China has already flagrantly reneged on the 17 Point Agreement of 1951, which they themselves dictated? An agreement is like a “paper tiger” to communists. They feel they can easily tear it up when and if it doesn’t suit them and use it in a predatory manner when it does.

    Further, communists believe that religion is poison, as Mao himself told the Dalai Lama, while Buddhism is a sacred religion to Tibetans. Also, since communists believe that religion is poison, they logically believe that the religious head of an institution is “lethal” poison, which the Tibetans can never accept because to Tibetans the Dalai Lama is not only the supreme head of their religious institution but also the reincarnation and emanation of the God of Compassion.

    Moreover, communism is fraught with dictatorship and totalitarianism while Tibetans fervently believe in democracy.

    I firmly oppose any gesture or effort to enter into an agreement with communists for autonomy for Tibet, in this case with Communist China.

    Communism is faltering and failing worldwide. Millions of Chinese who have fled their own country are clamoring for democracy in China. Chinese intellectuals and students within China are demanding democracy. The silent majority in China is wishing for democracy. There is a growing split between the hardliners and pragmatic progressives within the Communist Party in China. The country is no longer ruled by one man. She is ruled by consensus within the Communist party and every day the liberals within the party are gaining strength. Finally, China will have to embrace democracy if she is to be accepted within the ranks of nations that uphold human rights and if she is to compete fairly with its equally populous neighbor, India, which is rapidly progressing economically within a free and democratic environment.

    Having said the above and as a Tibetan who longs to return to a free Tibet, it is my secondary hope and prayer that our hardline position to gain complete independence for Tibet will strengthen His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s hand to achieve “genuine” autonomy for Tibet under a single, democratically-elected Tibetan administration over the whole of ethnic Tibet within the framework of a truly democratic China. Treaded carefully and calculatingly, this may well be a stepping stone to total independence.

    We must ignite the flames of freedom and follow the star of Tibet to seek the fountain of bliss.

    Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama!


    The Potala, the seat of the mighty Dalai Lamas,
    Is just a tourist attraction now
    The Jokhang, the holiest place in Tibet,
    Is a mere travesty now
    The three great monasteries
    Have just symbolic monks now
    The sacred ancient relics
    Are sold in international antique markets now
    In their own country
    Tibetans are second class citizens now
    The voices of freedom
    Are smothered now
    The once happy people of Tibet
    Are in tears now
    The quaint old streets of Lhasa
    Are filled with bars and Chinese prostitutes now
    The elegant wild animals
    Are going extinct now
    The majestic snow-capped mountains
    Are melting now
    The crystal blue lakes
    Are filled with atomic waste now
    The pristine environment
    Is completely polluted now
    Lhasa, God’s earth,
    Is the devil’s paradise now

    What hath Communist China brought?
    Only pain and destruction
    What hath Marxist China wrought?
    Only strain and abduction
    What hath atheist China sought?
    Only reign and seduction

    TAG LINE: A passionate political activist for a free Tibet, Tsoltim N. Shakabpa is a retired senior Tibetan-American international investment banker turned a recognized poet with 5 acclaimed books of poems to his name.

    By Tsongi (nom de guerre)

    Only when you’re hurt
    Can you heal
    Only after pain
    Can there be pleasure
    Only when it’s dark
    Can you see the stars
    Only when you’re down
    Can you climb up
    Only after a storm
    Can there be a rainbow
    Only after the darkness of night
    Can there be the light of day

    So cheer up
    My fellow countrymen of Tibet
    The time is ripe for better days ahead

    Copyright: Tsongi – 2008

  28. It seems that the ITGIE leadership is doing what it does best since time immemorial; especially from 1950 to 1959, i.e. doing its best to impede the freedom movement and lie satisfied as the Dalai Lama’s poodle so that the public can’t say they made a mistake and, play safe and have a bit of a say in the negotiations with the Communists. But isn’t it common sense that the revolution that is going on now is good for Tibet, good for the TGIE; good for the Dalai Lama. It is a good bargaining chip if there is a bargain. Is the Tibetan Government in exile in “duress” as it was during the signing of the 17 point agreement? Is the TGIE working for the Tibetans or the Chinese? Maybe it is time to get rid of the old order and have a real government that represents the people of Tibet. Maybe it’s time for real elections; maybe it is time for multi-party elections so that we all count. I think it is time to have a referendum to see if the Tibetans want independence or autonomy irrespective of what the Dalai Lama thinks. It’s the time to think and act if we want a multi party democracy or an impotent Tibetan government doing official prayers to remove obstacles and consulting oracles to make important decisions. This is absurd. We have to get rid of this “Panchayat” democracy that has brought us non-action and non-results.

    It is very understandable in this period of Tibetan history that most Tibetans feel great loyalty to the TGIE and the Dalai Lama. Being that we have gone through with this unnecessary tragedy. But now we also have to be realistic. Is our loyalty toward the Dalai Lama/TGIE OR Tibet? Being pro-Dalai Lama does not necessarily mean pro-Tibet. Most Tibetans say that the Dalai Lama is omniscient and everybody else is an idiot? We are doing more harm for our future Tibet by encouraging this kind of 17th century obsequious verbiage. Yes, we are lucky that we have the 14th Dalai Lama with us who is able to unite almost all the Tibetans. But some of the Tibetans are using him as a panacea for everything including spiritual blackmail. Is the Dalai Lama a Buddhist first and a Tibetan second? The Dalai Lama and the TGIE consult oracles to make decisions for Tibetans. We don’t need gods and devils to make decisions for us. We have had enough of this mumbo jumbo for centuries. Are the Tibetans dying for autonomy and cultural rights? How long is the Tibetan leadership going to apply the wait and see attitude and do nothing about it. We need leaders at this hour who are able to make decisions without the oracle’s advice, without Buddhist, Bon, Muslim, Hindu, Christian etc. precepts. It just doesn’t work. Let us not delude ourselves. We have enough intelligent Tibetans if we just let them express themselves without being ostracized. This type of criticism should be encouraged anyway. We need leaders who are ready to sacrifice their time, energy, intellect and if need be their life. WE HAVE TO AGREE TO DISAGREE. Is the Dalai Lama a Buddhist first and then a Tibetan? The Dalai Lama says that he follows the Buddha. If the Buddha is more important than Tibet and the Tibetan people maybe he should let somebody else take over the helm. So that he can concentrate on his religious practice.

    In pre-1959 the Dalai Lama as per the Chinese made the two Prime Ministers, Lukhang and the monk resign and leave Tibet in spite of the good job they were doing for Tibet.

    There was a great plan of building the Dharamsala University. A few professors from abroad were even willing to work for almost nothing. Logistically it would have been easier since the Tibetan medical and astrology center was close by. By now we would have seen hundreds of Tibetans graduate in astrology, religion, science, political science, architecture etc. We would have been proud to see it before the Lhasa University came up if the Dalai Lama had given his blessings.

    Why did Samdhong Lama and Gyalo Dhondup have to break up the Chushi Gangdruk with the Dalai Lama’s blessing? It was never a threat to Tibetan independence or unity. Not to mention it is the reason why the Dalai Lama (and the majority of Tibetans) is in exile and have access to all these medals, religion and celebrity status.

    What has the Shugden done to harm Tibet or the Dalai Lama? Isn’t it just plain politics that has been going on since the fifth Dalai Lama? Is this witch hunt and inquisition necessary?

    The Tibetans marching peacefully to Tibet would have gotten some media attention and more importantly it would have boosted the morale of the Tibetans inside Tibet. Why did the Dalai Lama stop it?

    By the way, why are there separate offices for negotiations with the Chinese et al, viz the ICT, Office of Tibet, etc? Why can’t it be a part of the Tibetan government? What will happen to these organizations after the Dalai Lama passes away. Or does the Dalai Lama not trust the TGIE. If we can’t trust our own government, who can we trust?

    The Dalai Lama is the only person who can separate church and state at this time. Maybe he should leave us a good legacy, a legacy that will carry us through the centuries. We might not be so lucky to have such an influential and charismatic Dalai Lama in the future.

    Why hasn’t Jamyang Norbu and several other prominent Tibetans ever been elected to a Kalon or even an ambassador to any country where they can make a difference? Isn’t it nepotism? Is ass kissing a necessity?

    All this wouldn’t be happening had we not lost our nation. This brings to question why we lost our country in the first place. Isn’t the primary reason being that people in power used Tibetan Buddhism to control the public by keeping them ignorant, illiterate, ill informed and fearful all their lives. Meanwhile the aristocrats and the ruling clergy tried to consolidate their power. This is so unjust for the Tibetan people. We deserve a better leadership. A leader should be a Tibetan first and a Buddhist, Bonpo, Muslim, Hindu, Christian or whatever second. The Tibetans have demonstrated that they are ready to sacrifice one million Tibetans or more for the sake of six millions and the future generations. So please, step out of the way.


  29. Tibet fell in 1959 to Communist China. Gyalo Dhondup wants and assumes all political power. He does not want the Dalai Lama to have any power. Dalai Lama being gullible, listens to everything to what Gyalo Dhondup says.

    Gyalo Dhondup established the “Chidi Tsokpa” or United Citizens Association, and the Tibetan Women’s Association. Gyalo Dhondup in his quest for absolute power used these 2 associations to expel experienced “Kalons” and “Sawang Chemos” or cabinet ministers after they came into exile.

    In New York, Gyalo Dhondup spoke at the invitation of New York branches of Tibetan Youth Congress and the Tibetan Women’s Association. In his speech he said that he thought of introducing democracy in Tibet before the Chinese invaded in 1959. But ministers or “Sawangs” et al, did not permit him. The Tibetan audience applauded and was apparently very happy with what he had to say.

    Till now there have been three Tibetan democratic leaders in this generation. The first was Gongtang Tsultrim. With the backing of the Indian government he established the “Shoka Chuksum” or United 13 States Association. He wanted to democratize Tibetan society. Gyalo Dhondup allegedly had him killed. The second was Ala Chonze. He established the Democratic Party in Tibet to fight against the Chinese communists. Gyalo Dhondup used the Tibetan Women’s Association to beat him up in Dharamsala which almost killed him. The third is Jamyang Norbu. He also tried to establish a democratic association. Gyalo Dhondup again used “Chidi Tsokpa” or United Citizens Association and Tibetan Women’s Association to beat him up where he almost lost his life. As a result of that he couldn’t live in Dharamsala anymore and had to relocate to the USA.

    Gyalo Dhondup wants to be the king of Tibet. He wants to make the 3 provinces into an ignorant, powerless and feudal state. This is not democracy. Gyalo Dhondup is not a democratic leader. He has no political and economic experience. He wants to see Tibet into tatters. He already messed it up more than can be repaired. He also convinced the Dalai Lama to accept the middle way or autonomy. Then he used the Dalai Lama’s name to blackmail the Tibetan public to accept the middle way. He has been negotiating with the Chinese for over 20 years. Since he likes to deal with China and prefers autonomy and not independence which has now completely destroyed any semblance of Tibetan independence in the eyes of the world.

  30. Atsongg, thankfully the Return March to Tibet has not been stopped, not yet anyway. =) I think announcing that it was stopped was just a ploy to get past the Indian authorities and make it to Delhi in time for the torch relay. We’ll have to see what happens next and how far India will go to try to stop it.


  32. The way I see it, the policy of TGIE and the activism of the average Tibetans (in Tibet as well as in exile) should work in unison, like the two hands.
    When you clap hands, the left and the right hand will move in opposite directions. The right hand will move to the left while the left hand will move to the right.
    Together, they accomplish the common goal, “clapping” in this particular case.
    If the right hand and the left hand were to move in the same direction, “clapping” is not possible.
    I don’t mean to say that the government and the people should always have to be at loggerheads to achieve a common goal.
    Unfortunately, in the current situation where the TGIE is calling for “autonomy” and the common people is calling for “independance”, it would appear that the government and the people have different aims.
    If anything, the call for independance by us average people could buy our government stronger bargaining chips.
    The way I see it, at this time in history, it is as if our government has thrown away every bargaining chip that it ever possessed. It is hoped that our activism will buy some semblance of decency for our government, something on which to leverage their negotiation with China.

    To those who advocate complete submission to HHDL and the TGIE officials:

    1. I don’t doubt HH sincerity in wishing good for his people.
    2. No matter what his wish, there is a limit to what one human being can accomplish. HHDL is a human being after all.
    3. Two brains are better than one. The more the better, especially when making a policy for a whole nation.
    4. Rather than relying wholely on what HHDL decides, the officials of the TGIE should use their brains to come up with ideas of their own.
    5. Either the officials don’t have brains, or they are too lazy, or are too coward to take responsibility, they somehow end up hiding behind HHDL.
    6. In the end, we end up with policy conceived by HHDL (and a few advisors at the most)alone.
    7. As I said somewhere else, I think many a times there is a conflict of interest between HHDL role as a world buddhist leader and his role as a head of the Tibetan state.
    8. As a buddhist world leader, he has no option but to stick to non-violance. But Tibetan cause is unlikely to succeed with non-violance alone. It is as if he is sacrificing Tibetan cause in trying to reconcile is two roles.
    And the result is “middle way” and “autonomy”

    9. The officials of the TGIE should be mindiful of this conflict of interest within HHDL’s mind. With this in mind, TGIE officials should come up with sound policies of their own.

    10. Unfortunately, TGIE officials so far hasn’t been able to see through this conflict of interest. They themselves end up acting like “bodhisatvas” and preach non-violance as a means of achieving our common aim.

    11. This is a blunder on the part of TGIE officials.

    12. Rather than repeating HHDL’s every word, and hiding behind him, the TGIE officials should come up with creative solutions of their own. Something that will allow HHDH to stick to his ideals as a buddhist head without compromising the Tibetan cause.

    Until that happens, we the citizens of Tibet should not only actively call for “complete independance” but also make constructive criticizm of our government’s mistaken policies so that they can see the other side of the coin as well.
    That I think is our duty.
    Our duty DOES NOT LIE IN BLINDLY FOLLOWING wrong policies. We owe that much to HHDL for the education that his untiring work has enabled us to receive.

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