Middle Way Economics 101

Wool caravan bound for Kalimpong, 1938. F. Bailey Vanderhoef Jr.


One of the more depressing things about being a spokesperson for the Rangzen cause, even in the unofficial “of sorts” way that I am, is being obliged to participate in the occasional Middle Way Approach (MWA) vs Rangzen debate, organized by some SFT or TYC chapter or the other. I am not a good debater, but that’s the least difficult part of it. It’s just that having to watch grown men (with whom at one time or the other one has been friendly) make embarrassingly brainless and facile statements just to ingratiate themselves with the MWA high cabal, can be such a disheartening experience.

I think it was at a 2008 TYC sponsored debate in New York City (moderated by Karma Zurkhang of RFA) where Sikyong Lobsang Sangay unleashed his now infamous “U-Rang” formulation. Then, in a 2011 SFT debate in Emory University, Lobsang Nyendak, the Representative of the Dalai Lama in New York, came out with the MWA economic rationale that as Tibet was a landlocked nation it had to be part of the PRC in order that Tibetans be able to ship their products out to the world through Chinese ports and share in China’s economic prosperity. To be fair I should point out that this was not an original statement made by Lobsang Nyendak la. In fact it was contained in the official MWA pamphlet that was being distributed at the talk.

His Holiness himself had, way back in 1995, stated in a couple of interviews that since Tibet was economically an underdeveloped country it would be beneficial for it to be part of China and its booming economy. He also added that as Tibet was a landlocked country it would need to be part of China which had access to the sea. I mentioned this in an article in the Tibetan Review. At the time I thought it might have been an off-the-cuff remark, and so did not pursue it any further.“It is not the place here to debate His Holiness’s views on economics and geo-politics, but it can most certainly be said that his recent utterances have thoroughly confused and demoralized many of his followers.”

But now it appears that there is nothing off-hand or extempore about the statement. It clearly represents a foundational economic argument in the MWA doctrine. And since everyone is, I think it is safe to say, thoroughly confused and demoralized – more than ever before – it is perhaps time to analyze the statement and see if it stands up to rigorous inspection.

Far from the situation of being landlocked necessitating that a country give up its independence to join a coastal nation, I might point out that, as of this moment, there are forty-eight independent landlocked countries in the world – all doing very nicely, thank you. Landlocked states like Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein are thriving, even in the midst of the present European economic crisis. I might add that these four solidly landlocked nations are doing far better than Greece, Spain or Italy, countries that probably have longer coastlines than any other European state.

The rest of the world’s landlocked nations are managing to hold their own in the present global economic climate, probably no better or no worse than coastal countries around them are doing. Tibet’s old neighbors, Mongolia, Bhutan and Nepal are, of course, fully landlocked nations. They also certainly have their share of problems, economic and political, but whether these stem from their landlocked condition is doubtful. Anyway, no matter how great their problems, no one, I am sure, is suggesting that they give up their independence to be a part of China and benefit from access to the ports of Shanghai or Shenzhen.

Being landlocked does have its disadvantages, in terms of access to seaborne trade or starting a fishing industry. Yet some economists have argued that being landlocked may actually be a blessing in disguise as it creates a “natural tariff barrier” which protects the country from cheap imports. In some instances this has led to more robust local food systems, and a more self-reliant economy. We should also bear in mind that all the coastal nations in Asia and Africa were the first to be conquered and colonized by European powers, while landlocked Tibet was probably the last non-colonized country to which the British Empire sent a military expedition, and one that encountered near-impossible logistical problems.

Mules carrying wool entering Kalimpong, 1953. James Burke, LIFE.


Yet, however remote and inaccessible Tibet may have been in the past, by all accounts it managed to sustain a fairly brisk and profitable commercial relationship with neighboring countries. Tibet’s exports: salt, musk, caterpillar-fungus, other medicinal plants, sheep and yak meat, hide, wild animal-pelt, pashmina, shahtoosh and of course the most lucrative of all, sheep wool. By 1950 Tibet’s wool exports to the USA, Britain, Italy, and Japan were worth around two million US dollars annually, which was unquestionably big money in those post-war years.

Wool caravan arriving at 11th Mile, Kalimpong, 1953. James Burke, LIFE


There was no comparable big business in the rest of High Asia at the time.  Earlier during the War itself Tibetan traders supplied Nationalist China with an enormous variety of items from penicillin, Rolex watches, Parker pens, Scotch whiskey, French brandies and so on, and created a period of legendary prosperity for everyone from Kalimpong to Lhasa and further on all the way to Lijiang. I am putting together a longer account of that period, so I won’t go on any further.  The reader will have to buy the book. But I can honestly say that I have never met a Tibetan of that period, farmer, nomad or petty trader who didn’t own a wristwatch – sometimes a Rolex or an Omega but more often the affordable but famously reliable “West End” of Switzerland. I don’t think you could say the same about peasants in India, Nepal or China, at the time.


Tibetan wool traders unload their mules, 1951. Hulton-Deutsch.


The crucial terminus for this amazing trading activity was Calcutta harbor, which if you look at a map is relatively close to Lhasa, only about 500 miles as the crow flies, while Shanghai is about 2000 miles away – four times the distance.  I read somewhere that even a Manchu amban had travelled via Calcutta to Lhasa. Communist China’s first occupation administrator for Tibet, Zhang Jingwu, did not come to Lhasa via Chamdo with his troops, but instead took the easier sea voyage to Calcutta.

From Calcutta you took the overnight express train to Siliguri, and then a two-hour jeep ride to Kalimpong. From Kalimpong to Lhasa it would take you around seventeen to eighteen days on horseback, in easy stages of about twenty miles a day. David MacDonald mentions that his son-in-law, Captain Perry once rode from Gyangtse to Darjeeling in seventy six hours. A  journey on horseback from Beijing to Lhasa could easily take you a couple of months.

A do-khyi mastiff guarding a caravan

Until the Qinghai-Tibet railway had been completed in 2006, the enormous problems of linking Lhasa to China had not been overcome, even with the extensive road-building efforts in the fifties, sixties and seventies. In the Far Eastern Economic Review of April 8, 1999 there was a report that Beijing had proposed to India the opening of a land route for Tibetan imports and exports through the port of Calcutta. This would require a transit agreement for Tibet similar to those which the independent kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan had already. But India wanted the border question to be settled first before any trade-route discussion could be started.

MWA economists should note the fact about Bhutan and Nepal having transit agreements with India, which were settled sometime in the sixties. Independent Tibet already had an informal agreement with British India and later independent India, an indirect benefit of the major trade concessions Tibet had to make in the Lhasa convention of 1904. A more formal agreement would certainly have been worked out if Tibet had remained an independent nation. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea gives a landlocked country the right of access to and from the sea without taxation of traffic through transit states. The UN also has a program of action to assist developing countries that are landlocked.

The long and the short of it is that there is absolutely no reason for a nation to give up its sovereignty because it is landlocked.

Another argument invariably trotted out by our tireless MWA debaters, to demonstrate how Tibet could benefit economically by being part of China, is the comparison with the European Union, and how membership in the EU benefits small nations like Ireland or Portugal. This is, of course, specious nonsense of the most pernicious kind, especially since MWA ideologues always neglect to tell members of their target audience (old palas and amalas in the settlements) that membership in the European Union is on a purely voluntary basis, and that each member state still retains its sovereignty and seat in the United Nations. Comparing such a mutual association of independent nations to the brutal military invasion and occupation of Tibet by Communist China is the equivalent of saying that legal consensual marriage between adults who love each other is the same thing as violent rape, with made-in-China electric batons, in our case.

But the fact that such outrageously fatuous and dishonest “economic” arguments are being made by MWA proselytizers when Tibetans are being oppressed, marginalized and exploited to the point of functional extinction, and over a hundred and nineteen people have burned themselves to death in a desperate bid to demonstrate to the world that “without independence Tibet will be annihilated” (Phagmo Dhondup), should convince all honorable, intelligent and free-thinking Tibetans that MWA can no longer be considered national policy, even in the most marginal sense.

I have, for some time now, relegated the whole Middle Way cabal and its faithful but simpleminded followers to the status of a cult, especially after its high priest, Samdong Rimpoche, declared enthusiastically that the Qinghai-Tibet railway (now fast-tracking Chinese immigrants to Tibet) represented a genuine economic benefit to the Tibetan people. Perhaps Rimpoche meant it in the same way that a cult leader in California claimed, some years ago, that an alien space-ship represented salvation for his followers from the coming apocalypse.

On March 26, 1997, San Diego police discovered the bodies of Marshall Applewhite and 39 of his Heaven’s Gate cult followers  who had committed mass suicide in order to reach what they believed was an alien space craft following the Comet Hale–Bopp, which was then at its brightest.



85 Replies to “Middle Way Economics 101”

  1. May the Jelep La and the Teesta Gorge soon be buzzing with trade between Tibet and India and the Gowdowns of Kalimpong full again.

    Such glorious days back then, and so they will be yet again when Tibet is INDEPENDENT and Tibetans can trade with who they like without getting permission from their controlling masters in Beijing.

    Thank you JN la.

  2. I think economic argument is an excuse to settle on a solution without actually exposing the inability of exiles to do anything to change the ground situation while also being absorbed into adopted countries population and culture. It will be too embarrassing to say, we got nothing and we are so weak to China in foreign relations. It will be so embossing to say we got no army, we got no money, no country support us, we ran the street across the world to beg mercy, we did hunger strike, we hold candle vigils, our children are lost into different races and racially being extinct with great pleasure, we in fucked almost fucked up with our culture, language, and religion, we even failed in other scientific field, we even failed to understand China, and so forth. Such a tone will be self defeating. Therefore, economic argument might have a moral high ground tone, but putting the question to settle in a positive tone rather than depressing tone of we got nothing and we are nothing…..but helpless unrecognized refugees. The statement, “we got no oil” also should be seen in this light. It is made because western countries are waging war for their self-interest of oil, from Persian war to Iraq war to now Syrian war………it actually means nobody actually help us. The fact of matter is, we got everything and China just started mining everywhere like crazy. Most of China’s uranium comes from Tibetan area. For example, the secret mining area called 792. Most of exiles don’t even know where it is and never knew about it at all. This mining is not a recent exploration, rather is way back in late 1980’s………Therefore, economic argument should not be taken at face value…rather a cover to same our asses of inability.

  3. Also, the picture JN posted and argument JN is having here is strictly restricted to U-Tsang where erstwhile social elites ruled. It is not the case with vast majority of Tibetans who were not part of that political process. They did not trade with India or Nepal. They did trade with China…….Therefore,, JN’s economic argument is not a wholesome argument and representative, but a part of the whole.


  4. As always, your write-up is not just informative and educative but is truthful to the core, backed by facts and figures. Please keep writing to enlighten the new generation so that they do not live in a mirage of self defeating goals but understand the value of self respect, independence, uncompromising stand.

  5. Who in their right mind even suggest that we will not have trade relations with China even if we have our own country????!!!! That is what countries do with their neighbors and even across continents. This is one of most ridiculous reasons ever put forward by our idiots in charge. It is the same sort of argument where they envision the Umalam to be peaceful while purposely attribute violence to Rangzen movement when it is nothing of the kind. OF COURSE WE WILL STILL TRADE WITH CHINA EVEN IF WE WIN OUR INDEPENDENCE!!! like we will trade with any other countries such as India, NEpal, Bhutan (like we have done for centuries)etc and beyond. I can’t believe we are being fed such nonsense and people are just sitting there eating it up.

  6. Jamyang la,

    I am bit confused with the following statement,

    “Samdong Rimpoche, declared enthusiastically that the Qinghai-Tibet railway (now fast-tracking Chinese immigrants to Tibet) represented a genuine economic benefit to the Tibetan people.”

    Kindly do share with us a source.

    Thank you.

  7. Thank you, thank you! I love your articles, because they are honest and fearless! We need more men and women like you, who dare to speak out in our community. Keep thinking and writing!

  8. Thanks again JN la for this informing piece. All those big Khampa traders’ godowns in Kalimpong have been housing the Tibetan school and hostel. Judging by the size of those buildings, trade must have been booming. “Landlocked” argument is such a lame MWA talking point.


    The Middle Way Policy has practically become The No Way Policy. What else one can seriously say about it now.The whole watery documents supplicating Beijing’s benevolence has been shattered into tetters.

    It was ill-conceived and ill-fated from day one. The Dalai Lama himself blew the cannister by disclosing during the first Tibetan special meeting in Dharamsala, and to the Tibetan public’s dismay that he, along with few of associates had already given up the Rangzen fight as early as 1974, thereby dispelling the common notion that it was Deng Xioping’s gaffe to Gyalo Thondup that ‘everything can be discused except Rangzen(indepence)in late 1980 which prompted the Dalai Lama to make that move.

    And the self-proclaimed avatar of Tibetan polity has shocked not only the Tibetan people, but the the corridors of foreign offices of many governments when he declared at a recent US capital meeting that he virtually wished nothing from China: We are not calling for Democracy in Tibet. We are not challenging the Communist Party’s rule of Tibet.etc. etc. etc. All we are asking is limited and timebound autonomy for Tibet.

    So the questions is: Why is he criss-crossing the capitals of the world when there is no real demand or agenda for Tibet. Unless, there is already a hidden rift rift between the Sikyong and his Gaden Phodrang, represented by Samdhong Rinpoche, they should seriouly consider closing some of the offices. If the disgraced Middle Way Policy advocates are so sure about it, ask the Tibetan administration to first close the office of Information and International Relations, followed by shutting the doors of the Office of Tibet abroad. We can then see if Beijing don’t make an equal move. Beleive or not, the Tibetan side must, and has to be one who makes of first offer because we are at the receiving end.

    The Sikyong should make the move during the next session of the Tibetan parliament exile which meets in October 2013.

    By the way, who is funding the Sikyong’s uncontrolleld overseas travels? – we all know CTA itself can’t simply afford such endless visits. It is only a matter of time before he is grilled on the subject. The Tibetan legislature,confesses Sikyong, requires him to inform his itinerary ahead of time. Next time, he will be asked how is travells are being funded.

  10. The question is How ?

    Middle way is ground and international support. It can bring the Chinese leaders and us ( Tibetans ) on the table for a more mutually acceptable solution.
    Obviously Chinese Communist can’t keep on a oppressive stand for ever. They too need Tibetans to cooperate for the Real dream of China to achieve means.
    So Both Tibetans and Chinese need each other. Question is Can we make that peaceful and meaningful transition through Rangzen or Middle way ??

    The heart of Tibetan education is Compassion. Now can we stay compassionate in the face of such oppression ?

  11. Great take on this important aspect of the present madness that is running riot in the exiled world !

    Land-locked ? More like….

    Conch-Shell-Shocked !

  12. @gyamtso: insteading of picking on middle, so there is no real alternative solution in general solution if not specific plans. Middle way is an ongoing process. If middle way goes with DL after another 20 years as China is expecting, deceptively strong rangzen current, but feeble in reality wil have a natural death. It is matter of time because exiles do extremely knows their own bad situation except occassional emotional outburst at times. To begin with, rangzen people need a solid historical proof for independence? You might say jn has been writing about it, ut it you drop the gun of prejudices and bases, his writing is about legitimate lhasa govdernment and it never factor in vast majority of the ethnic Tibetans in China. So, this poses the question, what is the Tibet in physical form rangzen people equTing? To me for th3 historical re ord, there is huge p betweens rangzen wallas supporting historical documents armed with dates and their slogan and map of Tibet. Then the qquestionis, who will do the dirty job of taki g on someone of more powerful? Shall we all be armchair visionaries afraid of sacrifing physical comfort? Rangzen wallas slogaon of insinuation for arms is bit well known from people like lhasang tsering and Tenzin Tsundue and others. Rangzen wallas when charged for this slogans, they comfortably slip into middle ways non-violence and hide their asses. If you cannot make it, then dont even say it. If rangzen wallas also folow the same behavior as middle pathers in way of struggle, I dont see any differences because you are basically doing nothing and nobody give a shit about a slogan. At least middle pathers at least put on a good political show in different parliaments despite how hollow the show is. The simple catch is, whether it is rangzen wallas or ulamwallas, the bedrock of the argument aabroadis Tibetans inside and that is the center of movement nor and for yesrs to come. If present situation continues inside in general, both middle pathers and rangzen wallas, theis is the end. For either of this rhetorics to be successful, there should be a grgeater rebellion with unpresented blood backed up by foreign manipulation through both Tibetan agents as well as sympathetic foreign supporters, much like the so called Syrian Human Rights Obervatory based in UK funded by westerm hostile forces who are anti-Bashar Al Assad. Note, I am not saying Assad regime is good, simply citing the events and how it unfolds. In such an events, rangzen wallas cash in much needed dollars as some middle pathers cashing in on Tibetan suffering. So, to cut this vicious circle, it is emtremely important for Tibetans inside to have a whole understanding of exile politics and cunning nature. Many Tibetans who come directly from Tibet to study in western colleges and universities, normally stay ay a distance rom exile peers. They see them as much unTibetan as exiles see them as being braineashed idiots. Yet these people are way better in Tibetan culture, languafe, religion, history, and politics. These people are well travelled and well incormed. They corm their opinion ghrough news clip and propaganda as exiles are nurtured, but ghrough personal experience and observation.


  13. Thank you Jamyang la for your continued writing keeping us not only informed but educate us , young and old alike.A house with only a door to enter is rather difficult to see anything else around it. Your opening numerous windows is very enriching minds kind of thing.
    Listening to Samdhung Rinpoche and you;both are very enriching. Through intellectuals like you all; I hope our future generations to see , grasp, understand and be able to make right, mature and , good decisions on their own without being swayed and blown in any and all directions like it seems to be the case today on many an occasions.

  14. The question is How ?

    Middle way policy has a firm ground and international support. It can bring the Chinese leaders and us ( Tibetans ) on the table for a more mutually acceptable solution.
    Obviously Chinese Communist can’t keep on a oppressive stand for ever. They too need Tibetans to cooperate for the Real dream of China to achieve means.
    So Both Tibetans and Chinese need each other. Question is Can we make that peaceful and meaningful transition through Rangzen or Middle way ??

    The heart of Tibetan education is Compassion. Now can we stay compassionate in the face of such oppression ?

  15. JN.. “”I have, for some time now, relegated the whole Middle Way cabal and its faithful but simpleminded followers to the status of a cult, especially after its high priest, Samdong Rimpoche””
    you crack me up sometimes with this kind of joke.

  16. I totally think that JN is right. We are all divided and confused between middle way and independence. Its time now for the CTA to change its view and work for Tibet independence. We the common people with not much knowledge, are baffled, and getting hopeless day by day with no positive results. We Tibetan need to have a single aim. Either its going to be middle way or independence.

  17. Lol….samdong did not formulate middle way. It was DL who formulated and later officialized through referendum. JN quite cunningly accuse Samdong because JN feared for being heavily criticized. This is a clever articulation. Also regarding Samdong as priest……samdong might have religious followers in his phayul monastery, denifitely not in exile. Therefore accussation or priest and cult of worship of this dude is laughable. JN labelled it on DL is more accurate judging from conventional standard.


  18. So, entire comcept of Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism is nothing more than culture, and then the culture based on this cultish belief should bedestroyed, Chairman Mao helped us, but not complete yet. Meanwhile, death Iin the families of rangzen wallas prompt inviting cultish monks to perform cultish rituals for the dead bodies……are you suffering from psychological crisis of sort? Confused by too much consumption of informations? I clearly JN invited visiting Drepung monks when his dear mother passed away……that was the time when JN was out there in full force to denounce Tibetan Buddhism as superstition……well, he himself bought into superstition.

  19. @BHOD_RANGZEN: You actually outperformed this time! Go on dude! As a matter of fact, the conception of Middle Way started in 1974 as for DL’s recent disclosure in order to put a stop to the speculation of sudden U-Turn in policy in 1980’s…….Let zoom in the date 1974 and 1972 and GThondup! G-Thondup was the broker of CIA backed gurrillas until 1972. Well, JN actually exercise child dream of holding a gun and run up and down without actually shooting in Mustang, Nepal. When Nixon and Kessinger changed the political relation with PRC, here you go, left Gurillas with nothing more than an orphan of cold war, its leader and broker, JThondup must be highly demoralized. He left for HongKong and lived with his CHinese wife. Suddenly a a call from Mr Deng who consolidated power from Hua Guo Feng, and wanted to hear exiles. GThondup left for Beijing in unofficial capacity after consulting DL on a hearing mission rather than full blown out talk with the CHinese leader.

    Therefore, insinuating GThondup as the architect of middle way is either attritued to intense political and educational ignorance or clever and cunning move who is dare not to talk the real beef.


  20. It’s about a ‘ Win Win ‘

    A para from Prof. Sperling’s scholarly article – INCIVILITIES – reveals more than simple minded blind faith.
    “For when the Middle Way became official policy—with the Strasbourg Statement in the summer of 1988, though, truth be told, Tibetan Government-in-Exile officials were already operating on the basis of the policy years before it became public—it wrought a stunning reversal. Over the course of days anyone with a stake in the governing status quo, anyone with something to lose should they not remain in good standing with the Tibetan establishment, was faced with the fear of possibly losing a position, prestige, even a job, should he or she not remain in step with the policy decreed by the Dalai Lama. And so, one saw many, many, split-second turnarounds. People who had one day touted their commitment to the independence of Tibet were the next day touting that they were not for independence, but for Tibet being a democratic “entity” within China. Or minimally they learned to keep quiet. All of this happened in the absence of reasoned discussion and the formulation of a logical conclusion. It happened for reasons of expedient self-interest. People didn’t want to be on the opposite side of the divide from those who held power.”
    Guess no one spoke up – then and now.

  21. one time when Gyalo Thondup was questioned about Kham and Amdo that wouldn’t be included in the “genuine autonomy” for TAR, so called middle way policy, He retorted that it was part of the area he came from that he was giving up and asked the person to just shut up. sounds to me like he treating us tibetans like we have no say at all. Whatever you say, Gyalo Thondup is a big influence for HHDL those days and maybe even now.

  22. @ 19
    “JN invited viisting Drepund monks when his dear mother passed away..”

    Are you saying that if one doesn’t believe in religious rituals and superstition that he/she should impose that same belief on others who pass away and not perform any prayers that the deceased’s soul might find peace and comfort in?
    May be you are a fanatic that way and impose the same on your family. And anyway people who are not superstitious still may believe in the healing power of prayers.

  23. I am laughing at the double standard and hypocrisy. I dont give a damn whether you believe or not believe……i fiercely stand out when someone step the personal space and start false talk seemingly supposed to be on behalf of the majority. I just exposed hycrisy that is so much.

  24. Enjoyed the article & thanks a lot.
    We all know Tibet has many mineral and other natural resources; water being the most important one. Our neighbor Bhutan’s major source of income is generated through the export of hydro electric power.
    Tibet could have also done it………

  25. His Holiness also said that Amdo and most of the Kham were never part of Tibet under Gadhen Phodrang. If that is true…

    then Middle Way will receive Middle Finger from China for their infamous Great Plan, “memorandum”.

    Why do His Holiness and TGiE ask for Amdo and part of Kham to be included in one Tibet if they were never part of GAndhen Phodrang.

    Should we then Ask for Independence for TAR only?

    All we hear from MWA people is the glorification to China and its achievements to the highest level and degradation of Tibetan to the lowest level.What do we have? “we can’t even make matches,” opined Penpa TSering once.

    What a desperation!


  26. Chokyi

    if it would help to your query,SR in an interview to India Express (May 2006) made three zany points.

    1. although the railway would bring tremendous negative influences on Tibetan culture and it’s environment that he was not opposed to the railway as it would be great for Tibetan trade and open great possibilities for growth of trade in Tibet.
    2. he believes that the China’s Communist rulers are not so much an enemy, as the rest of the world and, perhaps, the majority of Tibetans believe they are.
    3. He dismissed a question about the need for IT education for Tibetan people, saying Buddhism and Gandhianism would be the driving forces in the 21st century.

  27. Samdong Rinpoche la is the one and the only inspirational leader after HHDL.Now he is retired, but still contributing through volunteer work.

    Gyalo must have gave his best just like JN in mustang.

    Amdo and kham should be part of our effort.i cant imagine my children not having the choice to select beautiful amdo ladies (because only tibetan can my children marry).

  28. @Anoyog: Before giving your crooked middle finger, go and study a real history, not a fabricated history by JN. It just show what level of education you have in your head…..Go for independence for TAR and ask DL to go to China coz he is from Amdo. We will see how earlier kudras, their siblings, and U-Tsang will fighting for your dear rangzen and preserve your culture….dont come to amdo to learn Tibetan literature!

    Om Mani Ped Med Hum


  29. Oh yea….JN is carrying Tibetan culture and language and it is locked in his personal library in TN. Go to Mid-West and be a red neck!


  30. It seems some of the ignorant rangzenwallas heart is broken when fact is presented. Go to a library and learn about it……awakening from ignorance is better than forever staying in ignorance and manipulated by people like JN……I am impatiently waiting for this historical fact after the great fall of imperial Tibet at end of 9th century!


  31. Hello NG, it is fine to debate on ideologies and I am pleased to read your articles but please don’t bring private matter Like JN mom. I hope, you are a son of good mother. You know the kindness of your mom toward you. As you being an educated person, you should apologize Jamyang la for your mistake if your mistake is unintentional.

  32. Every one is entitled to have and speak about their opinion, but attacking on personal level I guess is an act of cowardice. Speak, listin and evaluate, getting hyper n shouting I guess is waste of energy n time…
    Bod Gyalo…

  33. Why should any democratic nation support the Tibetan Cause when their leadership accept Communism as an acceptable form of government. What has the TGIE done which demonstrates the transparency and rule that a democracy requires? Nothing…and they act as if they are living in the PRC already! The Western nations cannot help the Peope’s Republic of Tibet.

  34. Hey #18 NG

    You wrote “JN quite cunningly accuse Samdong because JN feared for being heavily criticized.” If JN feared criticized so much why does he write so much criticism of HH at all. I don’t think JN fears anything especiually miserbable people like who is afraid to use his own name his comments. If you really had courage in what you believe let us have your real name. Otherwise no respect. You are just Chinese shit. (sorry moderator)

  35. @Pasang: Then JN’scriticism is misplaced and it shows you are another exile donkeys whoo can be brainwashed. Isuggest you drop HH in reference to DL because pretense is the worst crime, especially spiritually.


  36. If it wasn’t so maddening, it would be amusing to read, watch and listen to lesser mortals than NG summarily dismiss Jamyang la as a credible spokesperson for Rangzen. We’re not talking about brain surgery or splitting the atom here. We’re not even talking about repairing a refrigerator, which also requires a degree of professional training.
    and on another subject but it’s been troubling me….is the collective hot dog and coffee-scented sigh of relief from the TYC hierarchy after their recent elections could have knocked a buzzard off a manure wagon – the same wagon that would have dumped its load on the MWA doorstep if SR had not attended their meeting. A ‘genuine’ TYC stand on Rangzen would have embarrassed the CTA and its apologists into finally addressing the elephant in the room, but fate decreed that they can continue whistling through the graveyard, when they’re not either swallowing their whistles or blowing them at entirely inappropriate times.

  37. The logic of the landlocked argument brings about all kind of odd strategies. China’s booming economy is fueled by the natural resources it takes from Tibet, so using the logic of the landlocked argument, we could call on China to accept being an ‘autonomous region’ of Tibet, as China needs resources to grow economically. Would China agree to this; of course not. China has a simpler solution; occupation. So to no longer be in a position where it’s rich resources are being used to drive another country’s economy, Tibet needs a simpler solution too; independence.

    As a non-Tibetan, I don’t feel my opinion of what strategies Tibetans use is important, but still I am constantly inspired by the bravery of Tibetans inside, Inside, where the rangzen-middle way argument is not something people have the luxury to debate, the calls are clear; ‘freedom’ (an ideal), ‘an end to Chinese rule’ (pretty clear), ‘independence’ (very clear). I have yet to hear of thousands staging a protest calling for ‘the rights of ethnic groups as promised in the Chinese constitution’ or a Tibetan walking into a market square, dousing themselves in petrol, lighting the match and shouting ‘I give my body for the genuine autonomy of Tibet as a part of a Greater China’.

    Again, as a non-Tibetan I can’t say what strategy Tibetans ‘should’ follow, but I can say what non-Tibetans (IE people who do not have a feeling of Tibetan identity) will think, and they may well think the landlocked argument is so illogical that it is merely an excuse to do nothing for Tibet. And even if people are convinced by this logic, how about using it the other way; India is not a landlocked country and Tibet would benefit from being able to use their ports; how about suggesting Tibet and India form a union instead; China has never shown any intention of respecting Tibetans’ rights, India has.

  38. All this middle-way policy is the handiwork of Deng who promised all sort of things but never delivered even though he could have. Mao never delivered on 17 points agreement although he was the virtual emperor of China until his descent to hell.

    So we are duped by these Chinese art deception and yet we do not realise it.

    Has Deng given has written assurance to Gyalo.

  39. You are right that the “landlocked” BS is another rationalization to do nothing concrete to alleviate the suffering of Tibetans in Tibet. Our leaders appears to be more concerned about the success and material well being of the handful exile Tibetans and refuse to inconvenience powerful world leaders.
    When leaders refuse to see His Holiness or cancel impending meetings with him at the last minute due to pressure from China, our side shows no sign of distress and tells them “It’s okay. We don’t want to inconvenience.” There is no honesty in that because the fact of the matter is it is not okay. Those cowardly world leaders should be told exactly what they are. Bunch of morally bankrupt cowards. At stake is the rights of the Tibetans inside Tibet. Think of the suffering of your own people and go ahead and inconvenience some leaders. Embarrass them. Trust me they won’t starve or shed tears of grief. Think of the Tibetans who are burning themselves and you will see it’s not such a hard job to embarrass and upset world leaders who are not doing their duty of bringing real peace and equality in this world.

  40. At some stage we have to do away with MWA vs Rangzen debate altogether sooner than later. Because it is matter of perspective and for genuine patriot they do not criss cross or undermine one another. One looks at immediate short term benefits and other long term targets. Both are Tibetan aspirations born out of realities that Tibetans face both within and without. MW economics has nothing to do with MWA policy. If it has, it has more relevance to Independent Tibet than less independent Tibet. It is an ideal state of Tibetan economics which is so unlikely in this increasingly world.

  41. Recently, our ex-Kalon Tripa, Samdhong Rinpoche publicly made an announcement in Dharamsala that he has spent his entire life working ONLY and SOLELY for his root guru and has NEVER worked for his people and nation. (Please do your research before you start rebutting that it refers to HHDL.)

    Consideration of the fact that he was the Kalon Tripa of Tibet for two terms and had sworn an oath to serve the Tibetan people and nation in these capacities makes this statement very disturbing and nothing short of deep betrayal. In his speech, he even went on to emphasise that he had no wish or desire whatsoever to work for the people of Tibet in any respect: political, spiritual, cultural or social.

    This should come as a most heart-breaking revelation by a person most trusted and respected by a lot of Tibetans both inside and outside Tibet. Hearing this will indeed make them feel extremely let down and shocked because it is us, the Tibetan people, who have elected and re-elected him for the very important post of Kalon Tripa; not once but twice.

    How can he even think like this, let alone say such audacious things so unabashedly in public?

    Now if one correctly digests this statement, Samdhong Rinpoche has completely and immorally deceived the entire Tibetan nation both inside and outside Tibet, and more importantly HH Dalai Lama. This is because His Holiness definitely would not like to have a Kalon Tripa who is unfaithful, unnationalistic and unpatriotic.

    Samdong Rinpoche has to answer to the following questions:-

    1) In the very first place, why did he stand for the post of Kalon Tripa if he had no wish or desire to work for Tibetan people and nation?

    2) Why did he deceive the Tibetans and take the oath to serve the Tibetan people and nation after he was elected when he clearly had no intention of doing so?

    3) If he was a true Buddhist monk, especially a pure lama, is it correct to deceive his own people who trusted him so much.

    There are many other questions which arise due to this statement which clearly reveals the real motivation of our venerable ‘Khewang’. But I stop here because I know that he is very clever and shamelessly bold. He always has a deceptively clever answer for each and every question posed to him.

    The more unfortunate thing is despite his ‘retirement’, his nefarious activities continue unabated and unknown to the general public. One example is the recent crackdown of the Tibetan Youth Congress at his instigation. The Tibetan Youth Congress which represents the youth of Tibet, is the present foundation and the future seed of Tibet. Therefore, any individual or idea that aims to harm, divide and destroy this indispensable institution is as dangerous an enemy as Communist China itself.

    Every Tibetan should know and realize that what Samdhong says is what he exactly does. We should know that if Samdhong gets the opportunity, he has a motive in the back of his mind that will fundamentally and irreparably harm the Tibetan people, the basic foundations of the Tibetan Buddhism and the existing harmony and peace among the different sects of Tibetan Buddhism. Look at his track record as Kalon Tripa – there is nothing positive or noteworthy about it.

    Divide and rule, divide and rule, divide and rule!

    Nepotism, cronyism, sectarianism and what not!

    He is a hypocrite who teaches Satyagraha but has never done one hunger strike, one protest, one march for Tibet! He has departed from Satya long ago. The ironic thing is that he has in fact dissuaded Satyagrahas in past. Deceit, through clever speech and linguistic obfuscations, and sowing of discord is his forte! He is only good for baashans and interviews. In short, he is a true blue neta!

    Our message to you, Samdhong Rinpoche is, keep your dirty nose away from the Tibetan institution like TYC and stop meddling in our religious affairs too. You have done enough harm during your time in Dharamsala. Now go into solitude to do your dharma practice. Expiate your sins.

    If you truly have no wish to serve the Tibetan people, so be it. AT LEAST, DON’T HARM US!!!

  42. Middle Way means “neither yours, nor mine. Let’s compromise.”

    CTA version of Middle Way is “Surrender a bit more each time and get nothing in return”.

    Such perversion of a of very holy Buddhist term. Such obfuscation and denial of reality.

    If we really want to raise the white flag! We should not harbour any pretence of courage or nobility, let’s take it in the chin and admit we lost.

    Let’s admit, our Tibetan spines are soft, only 60 years of freedom struggle is enough for us. We give up.

    We would rather become Chinese than disappear as Tibetans. Wait…

    Something’s wrong with this statement. CTA please explain!

  43. 45 & 44@ You are mislead or has very perspective of realities -political, social or economic. First and foremost you failed to read the exact meaning of what SR is trying to say. He wants to say that he has nothing for his own benefit. There is famous western saying -either you lead or follow! Where is the wrong if someone sincerely trusted and followed what HHDL’s leadership. And you have no ideas what political realities have compelled to bring MWA. Please study our recent political history 10 years prior to 1949 and aftermath.

  44. The recent pronouncements by SR at the TYC General assembly was an eye-opener if there were any doubts on who is really behind the campaign of discrediting TYC and the Rangzen movement in exile. The blatant use of the “hurt feelings” of Kundun (I thought I would never say this in any other context except for mocking CHina) and blaming Rangzen activists of of being unreasonable in seeking blessings of HH being a facade. SR’s inability to understand that dissent is a natural part and process of democracy. Yet he is applauded as khewang.

    How can SR say that TYC because of difference in political stand vis a vis HH, should not seek His audience? Does different political parties or people with different viewpoints not meet and discuss with each other? Does it mean that just because there are Tibetans with different political viewpoints as compared to His Holiness, should cut all links with Him?

    Doesn’t SR know the values of tolerance?

    I weep for the myth of democracy that is the Tibetan govt in exile.

  45. Dear KarmaT,

    First of all, who are you to tell me to study recent political history of Tibet?

    Second, what makes you think that I need to and do not know?

    Third, what has it got to do with Samdhong and his doing?

    Fourth, if Samdhong was so clever and capable, what was he doing during his two terms as Kalon Tripa?

    Fifth, you need some understanding and appreciation of the politics of capitulation that is being played out in the name of Middle Way.

    Wake up! It’s still not too late. Sleep a little longer, you will wake up as a citizen of China!

  46. the MWA minions for far too long have stuck to their guns in support of a document that would be considered treasonous in any society,they have hid under the cover of HH standing tall trying to explain the unexplainable on why betraying their land and people was necessary.
    SR,our version of Wang Jingwei has exploited his standing with HH to push through this agenda by creating real fear and division within our community….
    History will paint a story that the steep price paid for the Noble and the Congressional Gold Medal was in lieu of a Free Tibet.
    O Lord,why…..

  47. It is not about Middle Way or Rangzen. The only goal that has been and is, is for HH to travel to China and through His command of respect as the religious leader to convert the millions of Chinese into Gelugpa. (The Tibetans in Tibet are taken for granted.)

  48. There was no doubt that Zabdhong lama was responsible for these hangamas going in the TIbetan society. It was unsettling for him to without the sikyong’s power- thats why he tries to extend his hand to every nook and corner of the Tibetan society.

    Take Zabdhong lama out of Dharamsala and they will not be such hangamas in the Tibetan society.

    You are very true. Zabdhong lama did say that he works for Tibet only because of his teacher— Not His holiness– but he was saying that Trichang Rinpoche had advised him to serve His Holiness.. such a liar! and he said it after 2 terms of speaker and 2 terms of Katri- only fools will trust him.
    Zabtong lama also tried to take that 2 year term limit of Katri frim the constitution through his chamcha like penpa Tsering and Gyari Dolma.

    So much for today.

  49. Is it even true that Gyalo Dhondup was actually assured by Deng that anything except independence could be discussed? The Chinese have caregorically denied Deny having said anything to that effect and as the years roll by, it is getting increasing difficukt to believe if such assurances were even made in thd first place. If the Middleway policy was akrwady conceived, wouldnt it stand to reason a deliberate lie was made up to help the fruition of Middleway? I am not saying even if Deng had actualky said it, it will be followed through because they wont and never will. It is not in their nature. But this exchange which was at the center of this could have been entirely made up, I think.

  50. I do not always agree with SR but he does represent us at many occasions. As far as his “netagiri” style is concern it is an essentially a product of “old” Tibetan communication culture which is now at the verge of extinction. It was born to express in a hierarchical society where you are not encouraged to say it directly. A lot of metaphorical pharases are used to avoid direct confrontation. Born in the west, I feel it is an advance way of expressing serous matter. Even today -we don’t like some one (lower) telling you directly. It is taken as disrespect in Englandn Germany or amny other “advanced” culture. At TYC he was just communicating what HHDL/Gaden Phodrang thinks and may not be entirely his views.

  51. TDolker -you think we (Tibetan side) have made/cooked this up. If this is correct, you are pathetic member of our society.

  52. If the difference of polical view is the reason for HH not granting audience to TYC. We sure do have a huge difference with China and therefore not even talk to them.

  53. 50 & 53 -you are all “Damnyam” you have a strong grudge against our leadership. How can you possibly come to such ideas? Your being, seemingly, educated member of Tibetan society, may I know what grudges make you think like that?

  54. BHULA-TYC is over 40 years old. He never had any difference. It is only the recent development which disturbed him. You would have done the same thing if you are at such helm of the affairs.

    How will you talk to China if you support such “separatist” moment? You guys are such a alienated people, though in west, I try to inform myself at least so much.

  55. @KarmaT What recent development are you tak8ng about? The TYC faction diversion created by Samdhong and his cronies?

    And shame on you using the commie term for TYC!

    TYC is patriotic, nationalistic and solid adherent to the just cause of Tibetan nation and people.

    There is nothing wrong in TYC seeking full independence for Tibet! It is the most righteous and just cause.

  56. Karma T.

    “Damnyam” is exactly what one is branded if one dares to voice ones opinion. The term “Damnyam” is misused skillfully by some to silence others.

  57. What do you mean by accusing us of ‘DamNyam’? Do you know what it means actually? It has religious significance. Here we are talking about politics.

    Our allegiance is to our country and its people. And we have stood firm by it.

  58. TYC is one of the good non-governmental org in our society, we also had TWO & etc…. but since these are non-governmental org, a society could live without such org.

    Samdong Rinpoche la has just pointed out few technical error existing in TYC mission statement.

    Samdong Rinpoche la is the “only” inspirational leader we had after HHDL.

  59. I see some Injee here criticizing Tib.administration for adopting MW and not Rangzen.And lack of support from their government as a result.

    Tib.Admin has Rangzen prior to MW, which is a fact and the Govt that represented you ( which is you) has always considered Tibet a part of China (communist),even when presented with Facts.

  60. @Daveno, reading ur comments allows me to appreciate better what type of people find Samdhong ‘inspirational’.

    BTW NGO’s are as important to society as goverment! Study dome social science.

    Also realise that it is the injees who funded education of people like you. Govt. And individual are different. That is what HH says about the Chinese. Same should apply to Injees.

    In fact it is ironic that injees are more passionate about Rangzen than Tibeyans. What a sad turn of events.

  61. Thanks -Utsug!

    who is saying NGO are not important.And they do not represent all and are not as important as Govt…live in the real world.

    HHDL provided education to me.

    Study the intention of passion not the passion.

  62. Don’t be naive or worse develop a selective memory! Who provided $$$ to HH?

    If you can live without something, it is not important to you!

    Steadfast on the path of truth if you are a true believer of satyagraha and follower of Gandhi. Lip service is useless. Don’t bow down before lies and injustice! MW is capitulation of truth dressed nicely as ‘being practical’! That’s all. It even lacks the honesty of the loser who honourable admits defeat!

    Rome was not built in a day!

    If the excuse is that Tibetan culture cannot escape the chinese cultural invasion, then surely becoming chinese ourselves sould be the least palatable solution to us. How can we not see through such shallow and falacious logic!

    The commies are adamant despite their lies, it is ironic that us, who loudly should each 10 March that “truth will prevail”, have no faith in the power of truth.

  63. If u are a student of TCV, u benefited from an NGO!

    Following your logic, if govt is important, why then should n’t Tibetans have their own govt.? Why should they live under chinese govt.?

  64. To all: HHDL is more spiritual/moral guide than mundane political head. In fact he never lead us for those years “politically” if you are want to see this term so narrow. Your suspicion that HIS outreach to China and Chinese people is to convert into Gelug can only come from people who have completely lost their faith in HHDL’s leadership -therefore I say DAMNYAM. If yu are failed to look at him morally, culturally and spiritually, what else HHDL of Tibet stands for that world outside Tibet so admire. Having said that I don’t take HIM also as infallible person.
    And I don’t think TYC is rubbish or those who stands for Independent are anti MWA either. I said earlier these two goals do not conflict at all if properly expressed. By recent event, I mean is TYC is hijacked by some people who have grudges and vested interests to go against the establishment or some personalities. They collude and try to coopt CTA make or show its efforts weak. We can’t effort to make our leadership/CTA weak if not make it stronger. The ways to express your grievances are always there.

  65. @ KarmaT while I have no intention to debate over who is converting who to what as I am least bothered about such things, I want to point out that it is not TYC, but rather Samdhong and his cronies and some elements in CTA who are trying to make it toe the official CTA line and saying TYC is against HH. That is neither true, nor fair.

  66. HHDL created the Universe and everything else. So please never disagree with HHDL. If you do, know that in Hell your bones will boil and melt.

  67. KarmaT: you think I am a rotten person to even doubt the authenticity of the event ever taking place and some in our midst making it up to push their agenda, then I guess i am. I seriously doubt it ever took place and somebody added a lot of masala in the food and our collective behinds have been burning ever since.

  68. @73 Tsering Dolkar la,
    You are one heck of an intelligent women! I like your response; indeed, that masala have been the reason oour collective behinds have been burning. Samdhong lama and his cronies aree laughing out loud. HAHAHAAAHAHAHA..

  69. Hi, Respected Jamyang La, thank you so much for your article, its really helpful to open our view.. i am really upset with chithue Penpa Tsering how he express on you. he need to learn how to respect to people thoughts… thank you…


    Middleway approach is looser way,,, thank you…

  70. Double standards of exile leaders.

    Always say you can expressed different opinions but at the same time abusing their power by using the platform to diminish the influence of scholar like jamyang norbu to the youngsters.
    Said our enemy is china and we have to focus and fight ,if they r our enemy then why are u all saying die hard followers of middle way policy.

    Special envoy resignation
    Firing Of NGABO
    Bashing of scholar JAMYANG NORBU
    WHEN HHDL IS SAD AND NOT HAPPY! THEN WE CONSIDER THAT ONE OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKE WE TIBETANS HAD DONE AND WE ARE VERY UNFOUTUNATE AND SINFUL(this is not a new thing in the world, happens everywhere in countries like china, North Korea and Iran.

  71. does Tsoktso Penpa Tsering really believe that we would be nothing if not for HHDL? What a thing to say man.
    Yes, things may be different but definitely not lost.

  72. Tsoktso penpa tsering got publicly spanked by a high school kid. hahahahahaha…It was definitely worth it. His bulldog face got even lower this time. OMG it was the best ever! That kid deserve a gold medal.

  73. Penpa tsering i heard was called “Phosa”, well he seems to be a ‘phosa’ with his khari kahduk no nonsense attitude atleast in this interaction with the public.
    His talk mostly was mostly based on his EXPERIENCES and NOT on mondhey-leypa jangu practices OR belief or drawing conclusion based on what one sees through Dhoorbin not knowing the facts on the ground.

  74. Tsoktso Penpa Tsering tried to put down the one student who was brave enough to question about the (Rangzen, Jamyang Norbu and Karma Chomphel) issue.I didnt expect the speaker to be that partisan but what kind of democracy we practising, i really dont know.
    To the student i want to say-BRAVO! and keep strong, keep learning and keep growing and no one can dismiss you.

  75. Mr. Speaker Penpa Tsering, in his 45 minute speech to the students at Upper TCV School invoked the name of the Dalai Lama a paltry 94 times. Is this guy working for CCP or is he a dirty Shugden rat?

    I am disappointed with our illustrious speaker of the house in whom I once had great faith in.

    I fear this might be an early sign that indolence and rot is seeping into CTA when we are forced to witness the 4th most powerful person in the Tibetan World being so lazy, so unable to muster enough energy to summon the Dalai Lama’s name every 10 seconds as per official MW dictum.

    If Speaker Penpa Tsering thinks he can slack off now that the Dalai Lama is fully retired, well, he better think again!

    Calling upon the Dalai Lama twice every minute is an insult to all red blood pious, conservative Tibetans like me, who can’t get enough of hearing the Dalai Lama’s name cited over and over and over and over and over again, regardless of the topic at hand.

  76. You are right, Owl. Forgetting to call upon Dalai Lama’s name more than twice a minute is inexcusable! A speaker must mention it at least 4 times. Prime Minister must not only mention it more than 4 times but must follow His Holiness wherever he goes. Sikyong is doing an excellent job.

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