Reinstate Jigme Ngabo with Honors


I am posting Tsewang la’s piece here on my blog since he is someone who has worked in RFA for a long time and has an insiders point of view. JN

Although I view myself a political person but I often prefer to refrain myself from indulging in heated and emotional debates like this. But the current debate on and the way Jigme Ngabo was seemingly forced to step down from his position as Director of the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia prompts one to articulate.

On the internet there are serious and unserious views both in Tibetan and English languages reacting to the letter of Dana Rohrbacher, US Congressman, to Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and his rejoinder.

As such I welcome the very insightful article by Jamyang Norbu “Free Radio Free Asia” on this website and I would to write my opinion by drawing from my personal experience of working with the RFA and Jigme-la as stringer since March 1997. Although I know that he is the son of Ngabo Ngawang Jigme whom the Kashag called “honest and patriotic” I always have my political reservations on his historic role, but have great respect to his son, Jigme Ngabo, the Director of RFA Tibetan Service, as he never ever tried to interfere in what, when and how I file my report during all those years. He encouraged me and I am quite sure others as well to file reports on various aspects as long as it is sound and verifiable. I have taken this to heart and I am thankful to him.

In my article on Tibetan Democracy I have mentioned his father Ngabo Ngawang Jigme as one those high aristocracy of old Tibet who choose rather to collaborate with the Chinese Regime than the government of Tibet under the reform orientated young Dalai Lama. I am quite sure that he has read my article but sensed no personal grudge. I value this high.

It is easy to talk about tolerance in theory but we all know that it is hard to put tolerance into practice. Jigme Ngabo, however, showed tolerance and openness in his position as Director of the Tibetan Service.

For him the sole criterion is journalistic credibility, in other words, the reporter has to stand up for his or her report. This is for me freedom of speech and freedom of press in theory and practice.

As a Tibetan and a reporter I see that this issue touches two important aspects of democratic governance. I am a person who plays with open card and always stand for independence. I do not know whether Jigme-La stands for independence or Middle Way Approach but frankly speaking as a stringer of the RFA this is of no relevance to me. This is exactly the greatness of Jigme-La as Director of the Tibetan Service.

So much on the person of Jigme Ngabo but this issue has wider implications and I will elaborate more below and share with you some personal experiences. During the TSG meet in Prague, I tried to interview our Prime Minister, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, for RFA which he refused on the ground that he does not grant interview with RFA. For a person living in a democratic society in the West, I had no problem in accepting it as I know that the then German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, also did not give interview to the influential German tabloid Bild Zeitung and it is my conviction that the RFA in general and the Tibetan Service in particular is no tabloid media.

However, I would like to take the CTA in protection against this charge as I also heard similar complaints against RFA from Tseten Norbu when he was President of Tibetan Youth Congress. We all know that the TYC stands for independence and the CTA propagates the Middle Way Approach. I also hear complaints from ordinary Tibetans that the Tibetan Service of RFA provides forum to voices critical of the CTA.

It is not right to create impression that the RFA airs more CTA critical voices. An analysis of the RFA Tibetan Service will definitely prove that such assumptions are wrong. The fact is that vibrant democratic societies need critical voices and programs with Jamyang Norbu or others must be seen in this light.

It may not be wrong to assume that both the CTA and TYC (at least some office bearers) see the RFA as an instrument for their official standpoint and forget the value of media that is independent of any state control. Freedom of speech and freedom of information is such an important accomplishment today that in democratic countries media is often regarded as the fourth pillar of a modern state along-with executive, judicative and legislative.

The Mission Statement of Radio Free Asia “is to provide accurate and timely news and information to Asian countries whose governments prohibit access to a free press. Guided by the core principles of freedom of expression and opinion, RFA serves its listeners by providing information critical for informed decision-making.”

Although I feel that the tone of the letter of the US Congressman to Sikyong is very unduly, I completely agree with the honourable member of the Parliament that any political censorship within RFA must be fully investigated and Jigme Ngabo immediately reinstated in full honour.

Finally I agree with Jamyang Norbu that Beijing is playing with Dharamsala and it has become “an article of faith” with the Tibetan leadership that Beijing would grant one day “genuine autonomy” if the Tibetan side fulfill all the preconditions China sets. This will not happen or at least is not going to happen during the lifetime of the XIV Dalai Lama, then reaching at a negotiated settlement would require Beijing to allow His Holiness back to Tibet and come to China. It would pose a great threat to the CCP power monopoly. At the moment we see no Chinese leadership with enough stature to risk it. When one day His Holiness the XIV. Dalai Lama would be no more there, Beijing might agree to give “genuine autonomy” and I feel that the Tibetan leadership would not be in a position to win majority in a referendum to support the negotiated settlement as stated in the Strasbourg Proposal.


20 Replies to “Reinstate Jigme Ngabo with Honors”

  1. Second ignorant came up. JN is totally ignorant, he didn’t know Enemy and Friend. He oppose CTA instead of China. He didn’t know that if CTA didn’t exist then nobody can not accomplish any Tibet issue. If JN stand up to vie for Sikyong Post against Lobsang Sangay, then JN will get zero support from voters. That will show, JN do not have capability to take leadership of Tibetan cause. Also he don’t know what Democracy is. His view is that he is free to speak whereas CTA leaders does not have any right even to make clarification on allegations. Why there is no human right and free speech for CTA leaders?

  2. YOUNG

    For passion, be it observed, brings insight with it; it can give a sort of intelligence to simpletons, fools, and idiots, especially during youth.
    Honore De Balzac

  3. One who don’t have independent idea or not knowing how to write even if one got small ideas. One who just copy and paste. Sitting on forehead and throwing dust in eyes are simpletons, fools and idiots, Un Karmic, Immoral, Uneducated, Insincere.

  4. young,
    In your words, I see you Mao Tse tung, Kim jong IlL, can not tolerate other people’s view.If people like you have power there is no doubt that genocide will happen. Please try to be more open. If your views are not the same let it be, you do not have to go badmouth. Jugding people by reading their opinion and calling names like ignorant shows your weakness and indicates how insecure you feel.

  5. Young,
    By the way If we fully have faith and support to CTA does that mean that we are a good citizen and If we oppose their view, criticize thier policy, are we the bad guys. That is what you are trying to say. Remember Gandhiji never got the Nobel peace prize in his lifetime so I would not be surprised if Jamyang norbu did not get the vote too. Democracy is not only for a vote. It is also about freedom of speech, press,we the people, by the people, for the people.

  6. Thank you Tsewang la for the inside stories. From the beggining of this debacle, i knew that Samdhong Rinpoche’s hand is there. He is bend on killing Kudraks/yabshis which he openly claims TGIE is free of these people when he became PM.

    From my experience, i can tell you that Samdhong Rinpoche is deadly and no can challenge him then-he was so strict on us civil servant and called us literally “servant” and told us we must trust and follow whatever he says–he said (in Tibetan)- even when he points to east and calls it west, we must believe. Inother words, he wants us not to question at all.

    During his first term, most of the senior civil servants quits/retired and in the second term he calmed down and lament no expereinced civil servants which is too late. During those times he lied and engaged in nepotsim and favoritism like as if he doesn’t beleive in the law of Karma. He acted totally against the Buddhist tenets and befriended negative actions- he particularly became DRA-TUL, NYEN-KYONG. He will reward you, like LObsang Nyendak, Tsering Dhondup and other if you to follow him like god. or, if he doesn’t like you then you will keep in a dept without any portfolio which is a great humiliation for that civil servants. This is a way for him to get rid of those he dislikes– you know he can’t fired civil servants without bad behavior.
    He lied so much–not just about the privatisation issues but every year about the budget which he claims it’s balance. Last year, Chithus’ committee pointed that there was huge loses and further investigation will be conducted this year.

    So person with such background, i do not doubt his involvement when somebody accuses something. I would like to thank Tsewang la and especially Jamyang norbu la for the bravery in challenging the lies of the ranking political and religious leaders like Samdhong Rinpoche. Most of the civil servants knows that he is quilty of many worngdoings and none can challenge becasue the backlash against them is imminient. thats why, we are silent.

    You guys are doing a great service to the community. At the least, you are right in challenging the wrongdoers. History will judge you and the like favourably.

    Thank you, Jamyang la again.

  7. Clarification from Representative Lobsang Nyandak
    Office of Tibet, NY
    November 30, 2012

    Mr. Jamyang Norbu’s article “Free Radio Free Asia” dated November 22, 2012, and his subsequent piece “CTA Joins Free RFA Debate” contain inaccurate information which is misleading our community and supporters alike.

    In the piece dated November 22, Mr. Norbu wrote, “It also appears that in June of this year Lobsang Sangay, Libby Liu and Lobsang Nyandak, the representative of the Dalai Lama in New York, met in London and had discussions about the need to restructure RFA’s Tibetan service and to replace Jigme Ngabo.” In the second one he corrected himself, “I rechecked my notes and came across the actual month and exact date, plus additional information. On October 23, 2012 His Holiness was in London and participating in an event organized by Legatum Institute. On the sidelines of this event the meeting between the Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, Representative Lobsang Nyandak and Ms. Libby Liu took place.”

    I have had no discussions with Ms. Liu about Mr. Ngabo Jigme in London or anywhere else; in fact since becoming Representative four years ago, I have never even been in London. As for Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, he did not fly to London to meet Ms. Liu as Mr. Norbu claimed. Sikyong was in London at the time to attend a Symposium on Ethics for a More Prosperous World, at which Ms. Liu was also present.

    During Sikyong’s visit to Washington DC in July 2012, I did accompany him to a meeting with representatives from the BBG. That meeting was a courtesy call. Not only was Ms. Liu not present at this meeting, but there was no discussion of RFA personnel.

    Mr. Jamyang Norbu also wrote that I was in DC “a few days after Jigme Ngabo’s dismissal…to thwart any effort by RFA staff to organize support for Jigme’s reinstatement.” My visit to DC on November 5, 2012, to brief senior officials from the US State Department, including the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Affairs as well as White House staff on the dismal situation in Tibet, was confirmed many weeks in advance. It was a coincidence that Mr. Jigme was abruptly dismissed on the same day. Because of unfounded rumors circulating of CTA’s involvement, I met with RFA staff in the evening to categorically state that CTA has no involvement with Mr. Jigme’s involuntary resignation or dismissal. As a representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and of the CTA, it is my duty to clarify misunderstanding and correct misinformation about the CTA.

    Sikyong Lobsang Sangay has already stated that CTA has no involvement in the resignation of Mr. Ngabo Jigme from RFA. His statement of November 21, 2012, said, “Allegations of interference on personnel matter are completely baseless.” However, Mr. Norbu has continued in his efforts to paint a dark picture of CTA leadership as being engaged in a conspiracy to stifle voices of people who advocate independence and prevent freedom of speech within the Tibetan community.

    The CTA leadership, along with the Tibetan people, is invested in the integrity, honesty and independence of Tibetan media.

  8. JN can you check you notes again to make sure that Lobsang Nyandak is not in London. However it seems Sikyong did met with Ms Liu in London and I don’t know how both were either invited or attended the meeting either accidentally or is planned.
    I am sure you’ll notice this, there is a slight inconsistency in the representatives letter too. Why is he going on a CTA defensive mode when the this whole event became public only after Woeser wrote about it and CTA came into picture only when senator wrote that letter to Sikyong which is much later. It seems he already knows that Ngabo is going to be ousted and otherwise why he have to tell the RFA staff that CTA has no hand in it. This is fishy!

  9. Dorjedhenma,
    You are like Mao, Kim jon il who kill people when some one pinpoint their ignorance. We pointed out the ignorance of JN. Every one has democratic rights Including free speech, how can you prove that leaders do not have such rights, Where as people have ? JN said Lobsang Sangay met Ms. Liu in june, but he was not in London in june which is very clear in the documents of CTA. This is false assumption and lie, this is not free speech. JN also said Lobsang Nyendak went to London and met Ms. Liu, now Nyendak la clarified that in his four years of Representative of the Dalai Lama and CTA he had never been to London. Only these two facts showed that JN is writes without any basis of research, fact checking and exaggerating. Was that also free speech? JN said one who follows and support CTA are fool but for me those who follow and agree with JN are fools because JN always write that it appears some thing happen, it may be, always making assumptions.

  10. My sources in Tibetan government say that there is lot more people involved in firing of Jigme Ngabo and subsequent power grab. They say:

    ” the worldwide search” for new Director will end with either Tseten Samdup or Kalsang Gyalsten, former Geneva Envoy”

    Tseten Samdup is currently Swiss Representative, but more importantly, he is younger brother of Private secretary Chhime Rinzin, one unnamed key player in this dirty game.

    ( Tube-lights in Tibetan communities should first ask: how in the world Tseten Samdup became a Dhonchoe in the first place? How come all these plum posting goes only to people who have powerful connection while many good people of CTA get struck right down there, where they began? That is aside.)

    Sources tell me that Chhime Rinzin is trying to get his journalist brother as Tibetan Service Director. Chhime Rinzin is said to be trying to influence RFA president through Kalden Lodoe. Sikyong is promoting his own candidate.

    Sources say if they have their way, they will compromise on some one who will initiate self-censorship of RFA broadcast but also undermine Lodoe Gyari.

    We all know Lodoe Gyari is no friend of RFA Tibetan service. But I am just relaying you all the information my sources throws at me.

    Keep watching as plot thickens, your and mine tsampa will taste better.

  11. Before few months of demise of senior ngabo ngwang jigme in 2009 he wrote ‘on xihuan news that “they (Dalai lama and Tibetan in exile) are demanding unified greater Tibet, which is one fourth of Chinese political territory and finally wants to create independent country” and concurrently his son is monitoring the report on aftermaths of Tibetan 2008 uprising in RFA … and jamyang norbu lak you might have written many articulated articles in Tibetan review . Have you not written the article in May 1980 in Tibetan review that “there must be certain rules of conduct binding on everyone, and we must certainly draw the line at treason” pointing towards ngabo ngawang jime and bhawa phuntosk. (I couldn’t able to link this, sorry readers–. Please check out old Tibetan review, it seems that you are losing memories so often these days) or why haven’t you added this article in your book shadow Tibet, don’t try to shadow Tibetan. Or you are corroborating with traitors, crossing drawn line and attacking CTA. Now only these things left for you to do?

    I don’t know who is bugger called tsawang norbu, but from writing seems outdated retired person. Don’t try corroborat to fuss the situation, by attacking our establishment CTA. You guys are not going to gain any medal, rather demoralizing the staffs and vision of fragile administration, functioning only through the fame and grace of HH the Dalai Lama. (Forget about continuity of the administration after HH, today we couldn’t able to say any word to taxi driver in dharamsala, ) JN you might have millions of acre and property in Darjeeling and enjoying your life in taxes, and same like minded in other areas. But the final fact is that now you are creating more problems then doing good for our Tibetan cause and stability of society. If you are educated person then read this stanza by great Tibetan master then lead.


  12. We must understand that the real question is not about who was fired but rather how and why Ngabo was fired.

    The circumstantial evidence that we have can tell us that CTA top official’s dirty hands are there in firing RFA’s Director.
    One side charges and other side denies the charges–

    One side thinks it’s an attmpt to stifle the rangzen voices given contract termination of Rangzen advocate and other denies it.

    There is only one way going out of this mess: that is to have an independent high-level investigation and let them make the conclusion. Guilty should be brought to justice.

    Lastly, we should make sure RFA is really free of politics and influence from anybody let alone CTA. In other words, they should give equal excess for the rangzen advocates to voice their opinion.

    4 Tibetan Parliament: please stop being childish. You don’t have to side with anybody at so early. Least you can do is to investigate and then calm the situation. When you get so defensive to the charges congressman brought against Sikyong, people will wonder why chithus has to answer as if they knew everything about CTA official’s conduct. Chithus responsibilities lies with the lagislation and scrutiny of the executive. HOw do you know that funds aren’t misspent during the last chithus meeting and today? I am not saying there is but you got to act smart. You don’t have to gang up with Sikyong.

    What you could have wrote to the congressman, if at all deemed necessary, could have been something like this:

    “Thanks for sharing your concern. We’ll launch a high level investigation regarding this allegation. Chithus and the Audit dept are always working hard to make sure the funds we recieved are not misspent and the records will be submitted upon request. Thank you for your continued support.”
    I think more damages is being done by the chithus letter. I will be happy if i am worng on this.

  13. Tsweang Norbu la´s insider view of the Tibet Initiative Germany, the powerful, non Tibetan led NGO here in Germany, would also be worth a piece.

    As Tsewang la now stands so openly for Rangzen I would like to know how he can sit on the board with people that do not tolerate any tibetan opinion and have crushed every single tibetan attempt to take more action than the washed out ” Free Tibet ” whispers or the pathetic sending off of balloons in front of the German parliament.

    Maybe, after being on the TID board for a year now, Tsewang la can put out some information as to the extent of funding from the German Government and what is asked in return by them.

    Tsewang la´s big Inji boss Wolfgang Grader has been to Tibet at least 8 times and maybe he can find out how the president of a tibet connected NGO can get a visa from the arch enemy to visit Tibet ??

    Have the chinese also asked Grader to keep the Tibetan Community in Germany quiet ?

    Is the Tibet Initiative caught up in a web spun by both the germans and the chinese or have they formed a triangle ( Triad )of paraylsis that leaves the Tibetan Community in the position it finds itself at the present…in chains !

    As a journalist calling out for freedom of speech and expression Tsewang la must not forget that there are not only rights but responsibilities too.

    As a seasoned journalist he definitely knows that and as someone that is right in the middle of things in the TID he surely has a lot to share that would benefit not only the Tibetan Community in Germany but the Tibetan struggle as a whole.

    Someone that always STANDS for Rangzen cannot take a convienent break and SIT DOWN with people that are out to kill Rangzen. That would only be acceptable in the case of spies and journalists that are collecting information !

  14. All the fuss should remind everyone of the Reting era, after the 13th DL. The only difference is between a closed society and the digitally-connected yet socially-fragmented Tibetan “community”. Indeed, it bodes ill for what will transpire after the 14th DL for your Cause–should there continue to be one or even two “Causes” at all. IMHO, Tibetans need a strong leader like the Great Fifth or the Thirteenth–leaders that existed only briefly in the long history after 853 AD. “Democracy” may sound great and uplifting, but it is such a luxury for a people whose history lacked stable and effective institutions of governance.

  15. Hello, Tsewang Norbu la, I read your article, but I have to ask question to you. first,in the past sixteen years Nagba Jigme as chief department of Tibetan news program. meantime Jigme la never ever been Dharamsala, is it true? second, why it has not improved Tibetan on the Web page of RFA? I go to their Web page everyday, but I can not read they write Tibetan on their Web page. Third, How many times Jigme la had been in China and Hon Kong in the past in sixteen years? Thank you.

  16. My sources in Tibetan government say that there is lot more people involved in firing of Jigme Ngabo and subsequent power grab. They say:

    ” the worldwide search” for new Director will end with either Tseten Samdup or Kalsang Gyalsten, former Geneva Envoy”

    Tseten Samdup is currently Swiss Representative, but more importantly, he is younger brother of Private secretary Chhime Rinzin, one unnamed key player in this dirty game.

    ( Tube-lights in Tibetan communities should first ask: how in the world Tseten Samdup became a Dhonchoe in the first place? How come all these plum posting goes only to people who have powerful connection while many good people of CTA get struck right down there, where they began? That is aside.)

    Sources tell me that Chhime Rinzin is trying to get his journalist brother as Tibetan Service Director. Chhime Rinzin is said to be trying to influence RFA president through Kalden Lodoe. Sikyong is promoting his own candidate.

    Sources say if they have their way, they will compromise on some one who will initiate self-censorship of RFA broadcast but also undermine Lodoe Gyari.

    Now we all know Lodoe Gyari is no friend of RFA Tibetan service. But I am just relaying you all the information my sources throws at me.

    Keep watching as plot thickens, your and mine tsampa will taste better

  17. After all it’s sad to say everything is pouring out. so it’s time to wait and see!! It’s pathetic to see the whole tibetan leadership falling before this scandalous Chinese woman. Even sadder is the collision between shameless (KALDEN LODOE) and unscrupulous SYIKONG and his company.

  18. We’re busy with playing Chair/post games than uniting against the China. jamyang… blah blah..tired dude.. do something.. I wish you could do like you write.

  19. pema Trinley,
    I think you should ask question to yourself that, Am i really standing for the freedom of speech…? Am i really asking unbiasedly those question to other….?
    I think you should answer that first before asking question to other…

  20. The so-calleld ‘world-wide search’ to replace the ousted RFA Tibetn Service chief, has a third name floating now. That is for Samdhong Rinpoche’s representative in England-Thupten Samdup.

    Also, if the long blog-appel in Tibetan by an
    undisclosed Tibetan group is true to its allegtions, including financial irregularites, involving millions of dollars,committed by Libby and BBG’s Michael Mehan, both the institutions are in big trouble. No wander Libby was criss-crossing USA, India, and Burma for what and what expense!

    And this guy, Kalden, has taken all those talking heads for a ride which they are finding it hard to disown. Saddest things is, no one now thinks, that His Holiness is kept in the dark. Ultimately, he will have to, willing or not, reign in. That seems to be only solution as of now if CTA’s damaged image is to be put under check.

    The damage caused by the Syikong’s rash answer coupled by the legislature chairs’ uncalled for arrogant free-for-all letter, as well as mobilizing the Tibetan communities in North by the representative to malign the US Congressman cannot be repaired.

    One prays that CTA is not caught in the web of RFA/BBG financial scandle when its sees the light of the day!

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