The Great Middleway Referendum Swindle

Scottish Referendum 18 Sept. 2014: Real Independence or Real Autonomy - No Special Effects.

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This is probably the last article I am going to write on the subject of the Middle Way Approach (MWA). I have posted about a dozen pieces on various aspects of this policy: from its crafty (but dishonest) name, its simpleminded political and diplomatic justifications, its screwball economic rationale and its grovelling, too-clever-by-half, modi operandi – the leading one being “outreach to our Chinese brothers and sisters.”

But one cannot go on flogging a dead horse forever. And MWA is a dead. Beijing murdered it on twenty-five or twenty-seven (I just can’t keep track) different “negotiations”. But the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) cannot bring itself to accept this. Like Norman Bates in Hitchcock’s Psycho it preserves the hideously dessicated corpse of MWA in a metaphorical cellar in Gangkyi somewhere, desperately trying to reanimate it with videos, websites, workshops, campaigns and so forth, and dealing with those who deny its viability with a large but metaphorical (?) kitchen knife. Dead as it is, there remains one last item of MWA business to be settled. It is this assertion that keeps appearing again and again in many CTA statements:

The Middle-Way Approach was Adopted Democratically

The mutually beneficial Middle-Way policy… adopted democratically by the overwhelming majority of the Tibetans…

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has proposed the Middle Way Approach and has been adopted democratically by Tibetans.

Every one of these statements are bald-faced lies. There is no other way to express it. If I tried to put it any more diplomatically I am afraid I might end up telling a lie myself.

Background to the Referendum

On 15 June 1988, His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg surrendered the sovereignty of the Tibetan nation and in return requested China to allow Tibet to become an autonomous and democratic political entity within the PRC. Near the conclusion of his address the Dalai Lama said “… most Tibetans will be disappointed”, but he also gave this assurance “… the Tibetan people themselves must be the ultimate deciding authority… in a nationwide referendum.”

On September 23,1988 China issued a statement saying it was prepared to negotiate. The exile government made its first mistake by including Michael Van Walt, the self-styled “Dalai Lama’s lawyer” in its negotiating team. Beijing objected to the presence of a foreigner. It also objected to the team being “only young people”, and suggested the inclusion of the Dalai Lama’s older brother. Gyalo Thondup had already met Deng Xiaoping in 1979, Hu Yaobang in 1981, Yang Mingfu on October 17 1987 and other Chinese leaders on different occasions. Beijing further rejected Dharamshala’s proposal of Geneva as a neutral venue and insisted on Beijing or Hong Kong. Once Dharamshala had agreed to all the changes, Beijing refused to communicate with it any further.

In April 1993, following a performance at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (at which I was present) His Holiness made an unexpected political statement which hit the exile-community like a bombshell. He stated that “..the many efforts made by him and the Tibetan government to negotiate with China had made no headway. He also expressed his fears that Chinese overtures concealed a darkly insidious and long term plan for ensuring the end of Tibetans as a nation and people. He concluded that Tibet now faced its greatest danger in the ever-increasing migration of Chinese settlers.”[1]

My first story on this appeared in the September 15 ’93 issue of  MANGTSO (Democracy) the independent Tibetan language newspaper. I reported that earlier on 5th August “Gyalo Thondup had admitted to the Tibetan Parliament that all his discussion with the Chinese for the past fourteen years had achieved nothing. Furthermore, he added that he had been constantly browbeaten by Chinese officials, who never listened to anything he had to say.”

Later that year at the conference of the Cholkha Sum (Three Provinces) organization held at Dharamshala, His Holiness again spoke of the failure of his initiative. Somewhat unexpectedly and to the discomfiture of all present, he also publicly reprimanded his own brother Gyalo Thondup for telling him that Beijing was not only ready to negotiate but even prepared to settle all issues through discussion except for the issue of independence.

The kashag released all the documents and letters between it and China since 1979, and MANGTSO printed a special issue with a ten page supplement on October 31 1993. Other Tibetan journals as Tibetan Review and Sheja published these letters and also articles and commentaries. That same year “The Dalai Lama also released a statement, where in no uncertain terms, he stated that all the efforts by him and his government to negotiate with China had failed”[2] He repeated this in his 1994 March 10th statement. Then in his 10th March statement of 1995 the Dalai Lama declared:

Many Tibetans have voiced unprecedented criticism of my suggestion that we should compromise on the issue of total independence. Moreover, the failure of the Chinese government to respond positively to my conciliatory proposals has deepened the sense of impatience and frustration among my people. Therefore, I proposed last year that this issue be submitted to a referendum.

But vested interests within the administration and certain outside organization that funded the CTA (one being the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Germany) were determined to ensure that the Dalai Lama never raised the issue of independence again.

Planning the Referendum

A preliminary meeting was convened in Dharamsala on August 21, 1995, chaired by the speaker of the exile Parliament, Samdong Rinpoche, and attended by members of the Kashag, members of parliament and Secretaries of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) to discuss the parameters and organization of the referendum.  The first two choices in the proposed referendum were Rangzen and MWA.  These were obviously the only two choices there were, and by any common-sense standard should have been the only ones. Even now, twenty years later, we only talk of the MWA/Rangzen debate. There is no other issue or party in this dispute.

But two other absolutely irrelevant options were added, almost certainly to downplay the stark and disquieting contrast between the two main choices, and muddy the waters of what now was evolving into a disquieting swindle. Samdong Rimpoche offered his own recondite pseudo-Gandhian doctrine of “Truth Insistence” (denpae utsu) as one further choice. If that weren’t bizarre enough someone else proposed “Self-determination” as a choice for the referendum.  “If you are holding a referendum, you do not include ‘do we have the right to hold a referendum’ as one of the choices” as someone on TSG-List observed. Self-determination is a right granted to all peoples in the Charter of the United Nations, and explicitly recognized in the case of the Tibetan people by the UN General Assembly in Resolution – 2079 (XX) in 1965. Chosing Rangzen or MWA in a referendum is exercising your right to Self-Determination, even if you do not choose the “Self-Determination” option.

On September 2, 1995 the Kashag issued a 12-page instruction to the heads of Tibetan Settlements outlining the four options: Rangzen, MWA, Truth Insistence and Self-Determination to be considered for the referendum. In August 1996 small teams of MPs traveled to various settlements to explain the four options to the Tibetan people and to conduct the actual referendum. They immediately ran into a minefield of controversy.

Conducting the Referendum

One of the first referendum meetings was held at Rajpur,  a settlement relatively close to Dharamshala. That same evening at the Amnye Machen Institute we received a phone call from a former reporter for MANGTSO who had attended the meeting. He told us that in their presentation, the MPs had dropped not very subtle hints that failure to vote for MWA would be tantamount to disloyalty to the Dalai Lama. The public became confused but also very angry. A former (very) senior Kashag minister, Mr. W.G. Kundeling [3], who had retired to Rajpur was the first to speak after the MPs. He flat out declared that he found the whole idea of giving up the goal of independence unacceptable but that he also had no desire to go against the wishes of His Holiness. He would therefore not take part in such a referendum. Others spoke up, saying much the same thing. A few also pointed out that since the Dalai Lama had openly declared that his MWA policy had failed in his last two 10th March statements how could he now be asking the public to vote for MWA?

It must be remembered that Rangzen or independence had been till recently the single sacred goal of every exile Tibetan, repeated ad infinitum in all the Dalai Lama’s 10th March speeches, in TIPA songs and performances, and in children’s education from kindergarten till college. Since Taiwan did not recognize Tibet’s independence and claimed Tibet to be an autonomous part of China, those Tibetans who took financial support from Taiwan were regarded as traitors. The fact that Taiwan was anti-Communist and actively anti-PRC did not matter. Entire exile communities were ostracized and a number of violent clashes, even a few murders happened because of this issue. It was devastating to Tibetans to be told they had to give up independence.

In Rajpur nearly everyone declared that they would not participate in the referendum. Some added that if the parliament and CTA wanted the Dalai Lama to continue with MWA, they should tell him so themselves and not “wipe their hands on the public” (mimang la lakpa chig). Words of the Rajpur meeting spread quickly throughout the exile world and in communities like the one in New York angry words were exchanged with CTA officials. Nearly everywhere people refused to participate in the referendum.

Spinning the Referendum

Back in Dharamshala this whole debacle was misrepresented and reinvented by the exile Parliament under Samdong Rinpoche, in a breathtakingly deceitful manner. An initial statement was issued claiming that the earlier public meetings organized by the MPs had not been to hold referendums but only conduct polls to collect “…suggestions and public opinions on whether the referendum was to be held …(also) many asked to extend the date for further discussion on the options. There are many suggestions that asked to add one more option ‘His Holiness the Dalai Lama to decide according to the prevailing situation and changing political environment from time to time’.” Then on September 18, 1997 during the fourth session of the 12th exile parliament, a unanimous resolution was passed.

Among the views received from the Tibetan public, following a preliminary poll, the majority expressed preference for dispensing with the referendum, leaving it to His Holiness the Dalai Lama to take decisions from time to time in accordance with the prevailing political situation and circumstance. Altogether 64.60 percent of the opinions received demanded that the referendum be not held and favoured for His Holiness and the Central Tibetan Administration to decide.

The “preliminary poll” referred to was the failed effort in August 1996 to conduct the referendum in Tibetan settlements and communities. The 64.60% is a complete invention. No one is certain whether the public refusal to participate in the referendum was expressed by a show of hands, paper ballots or walk-outs. Nearly all the meetings had ended chaotically. To expose the lie of the 64.60% claim I recall that my friend Lhasang Tsering la formally requested the Parliament to reveal what the remaining 35.40% of the opinions were for. No answer was forthcoming.

The Tibetan public had refused to take part in the referendum and had not said they were “… leaving it to His Holiness the Dalai Lama to take decisions from time to time.” Everyone, especially MPs, were aware of how counter-productive and unfair it was to His Holiness to force him to make purely political decisions like this on his own. About a decade earlier, in 1981, elections were canceled and it was decided to have the Dalai Lama select MPs through a kind of divinatory process called yeshe emche.[4] His Holiness’s choice of new MPs proved even worse than the earlier elected MPs. In 1987 a hitch developed in this novel system when everyone selected by the Dalai Lama for a new Parliament declined to serve. Tibetan democracy hit an all-time low.

The phrase “from time to time” in both the statements is a complete invention and also a case of what Shakespeare might call “gilding the lily”. The Parliament not only wanted to permanently establish MWA as CTA’s signature policy but also wanted to ensure that whatever changes developed in the future, they would have enough cover through the phraseology “from time to time” to make the necessary adjustments to perpetuate the status quo. It was low cunning but also prescient. No matter how much one may disagree with His Holiness on MWA it must be admitted that he does have the moral courage and honesty to accept and act on a truth, even one unpalatable to him, when those sycophants and time-servers surrounding him have not had the time to hide it from him or distort it to their advantage.

The Second Referendum Swindle

On October 25th 2008, following the brutal crackdown on the massive anti-Chinese protests in Tibet, His Holiness, speaking at the Tibetan Children’s Village declared that the lack of any sincerity from the Chinese government in the dialogue process and the worsening state of affairs within Tibet following the widespread anti-China protests had made it impossible for him to continue with his current policy. “I have now asked the Tibetan government-in-exile, as a true democracy-in-exile, to decide in consultation with the Tibetan people how to take the dialogue forward”, the Dalai Lama said. An “Emergency Meeting” was called for that November.

A news report from the Dalai Lama’s private secretariat quickly followed. “The future course of the Tibetan movement, including the possibility of a historic switch from demanding autonomy to a demand for full independence, will be the focus of a special meeting next month of around 300 delegates representing the worldwide exiled Tibetan community. ‘The only non-negotiable aspect is that the movement will still be non-violent. Everyone is agreed on that,” the Dalai Lama’s spokesman Tenzin Taklha told AFP.’”

Tibetans everywhere became tremendously excited and galvanized, far more than in ’95. In 2008 large-scale revolutionary protests had not only erupted throughout the Tibetan plateau, but the exile public and supporters had conducted what seemed like a never ending series of well-publicized demonstrations, actions and peace marches everywhere around the globe. Dharamshala became full to bursting with international TV crews and journalists for the Emergency Meeting.

But in spite of His Holiness clear call for a transformation of our fundamental policy. Samdong Rimpoche (now prime-minister) in an interview on Voice of Tibet said “We are committed to our Middle Way Approach and we will continue our efforts for a genuine autonomy within China’s framework, and that will not change.” Under Rinpoche’s aegis the Tibetan People’s Movement for MWA was organized and Samdhong Rimpoche delivered the principal address at its first conference in February 2008,

As prime-minister, Rinpoche made sure only MWA Movement leaders, officials, settlement heads and MPs, serving and retired, were invited and paid full travel expenses, including full airfare from USA, Europe and elsewhere. No one else received expenses or even invitations. The largest political organization in the exile world, The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), was only allocated two seats. All other Rangzen based organizations and individuals did not receive invitations. A number of us went anyway – on our own dime. We were a very small minority at the Meeting.

Members of Rinpoche’s MWA Movement – essentially the same mahjong playing, religious-right, yahoo politicians responsible for mob-attacking Tibetan journalists and scholars who disagreed with the establishment – had in previous months held public meetings in Tibetan settlements where they set about poisoning the minds of the older generation against the TYC and Students For Free Tibet (SFT)  whom they claimed had gone against the Dalai Lama’s wishes with their mass protests and peace marches earlier that year. They also exploited the ignorance and fears of the common people with scare stories, one being that the Government of India would deport all Tibetan refugees to China if they gave up MWA and adopted Rangzen.

On the second day of the Emergency Meeting it became clear what the strategy of Samdong Rinpoche and his followers was going to be. MWA Movement members and representatives of Tibetan settlements and centers in India and Nepal insisted that the written proceedings and resolutions of the public meetings they had earlier organized back in their communities, be included in the records and resolutions of the Emergency Meeting. These documents (completely unverified or unattested) overwhelmed whatever discussions had taken place in the Emergency Meeting itself. Practically no mention was made in the final resolution of alternative policy ideas and strategies that had been raised at the meeting by the few Rangzen advocates.

The concluding session of the Emergency Meeting created the distinct impression of near unanimous support for MWA. In his concluding speech Samdong Rinpoche’s declared victory claiming that over 90 percent of Tibetans clearly supported MWA.

This is a very brief overview of what happened at the Emergency Meeting and the events leading up to it. For those of you who want a more detailed account check out my two blog posts: Making The November Meeting Work and A Not So Special Meeting.

Another Minor Swindle

Getting back to his Holiness’s original Strasburg Proposal of 1988, it is clear that he had not consulted the Tibetan people or even the exile-parliament before making his proposal. In the original Proposal the Dalai Lama mentions that he and his cabinet had only solicited the advice of friends and concerned persons, and just the name of former US president Jimmy Carter is mentioned in the document. Even CTA brochures and publications made no claims that the Strasburg Proposal itself was adopted democratically. But recently I came across a statement in an official website where on Section D: Middle Way Approach was Adopted Democratically, this claim was made:

Before His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a statement in the European parliament in Strasbourg on 15 June 1988-a four-day special conference was organised in Dharamsala from 6 June 1988. This conference was attended by the members of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies and the Kashag, public servants, all the Tibetan settlement officers and the members of the local Tibetan Assemblies, representatives from the Tibetan NGOs, newly-arrived Tibetans and special invitees. They held extensive discussions on the text of the proposal and finally endorsed it unanimously.

I was rather taken aback by this Stalinist style rewriting of political history and telephoned former MPs, and officials and asked about this meeting. One former MP who had actually attended the meeting did not remember any four-day confab. He claimed that a day or two before the Dalai Lama’s announcement, officials in Dharamshala including directors of TCV, TIPA, the Medical Center and MP’s were told to gather at the Kashag auditorium. They were told in strictest confidence that the Dalai Lama would be making the Strasburg proposal, and that Tibet’s independence was being given up for “genuine autonomy”. All the officials gathered were not asked for their opinions, but were told that after the Dalai Lama’s announcement there would most likely be anger and confusion within the community and they were to make sure that criticisms and negative talk did not spread. They were briefed on how to answer questions from the public. This was not a conference for democratic dialogue but a damage control briefing. The meeting was held in great secrecy and for just one afternoon. No representative of the Dalai Lama from Europe, USA, Japan or Nepal, nor the heads of the settlements, schools, monasteries and organizations outside of Dharamshala attended the meeting.

Tibetans have a nice saying about anyone overdoing something or gilding the lily as I mentioned earlier.”If the caretaker is too skillful with his polishing he might turn the gold (-plated) statue into brass.”

Ku-nyer chigda kheyna, serku rak la tang yong.

Conclusion

The Middle Way was not adopted democratically. Far from it. Instead the lies and swindles of officials and MPs led by Samdong Rinpoche, to foist a phony referendum on the exile public have undoubtedly undermined Tibetan democracy. They also effectively sabotaged His Holiness’s genuine attempts, in 1995 and 2008, to democratically consult with the Tibetan people and find a workable alternative to the Middle Way Approach.

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NOTES:

[1] Edward Lazar, Tibet:The Issue is Independence, Parallax Press, Berkeley California, 1994 pp 26-27.

[2] Jamyang Norbu, Shadow Tibet: Selected Writing 1989 to 2004, High Asia Press, New York, 2004, pp 110-111

[3] Woeser Gyaltsen Kundeling along with Dronyer-chenmo Phala was instrumental in the Dalai Lama’s escape in 1959. In the PRC’s first proclamation on the Lhasa Uprising issued by Premier Zhou Enlai on March 28, 1959, Kundeling is prominently named – “Weisegeltsang (Kundelinchasa)”– as one the eighteen leading traitors. Some time after the meeting Kundeling was violently attacked at his home by masked intruders. He fortunately survived. Some have suggested that the attack might have resulted from his opposition to MWA. But that is conjecture.

[4] Jamyang Norbu, “Opening of the Political Eye”, Tibetan Review, November 30th, 1990

 

77 Replies to “The Great Middleway Referendum Swindle”

  1. Thank you Jamyang la for this detailed background scope. Hopefully, it will at least give people pause before they profess the mantra of Middleway. I consider True Referendum to be one where everyone has a vote to cast, much like an election. And since a question of whether one wants to abandon one’s basic right to Independence is one of the most important question, it ought to have been done at the very grassroot level – through ballot.

    At the same time, that will only constitute only a very small part of the population, the majority of who live inside Tibet. I don’t know if we have the right to make decisions of this importance without the consent of those who will actually have to live it.

  2. Thank you this enlightening piece. The fact that they included ‘rang-thak-rang-chod’ and ‘denpei-utsug’ as options is extremely stupid. These are not political stands, perhaps methods! It only bespeaks of the political maturity of our leaders, and it is an insult to the Tibetan public.

  3. I am very sorry to say that i was really confused with your facts whether its a fabricated or truth. Drawing the judgement about the MWA and specially the harsh verbal attack on the our revered HH The Dalai Lama is hard to digested. I was in 5th grade when the first referendum meeting held and also was in college during the 2008 special meeting. I am in part of that then 60.64 and now in 90 per cent in support of the MWA. In future too with use of my head and heart will support the Middle Way Approach..

  4. Enough from Jamyang Norbu. I don’t remember reading an article by you critical of Chinese government’s policy in Tibet for many years. Did you write anything?

    I am sick of reading series of articles by you critical of CTA. It does not matter anyway, because only few self-proclaimed intellectuals take it seriously and blow the horn and fuel your “anti-CTA mindset.

  5. Thank u jamyang la for the eye opening article. Recently North American tibetan association conference was held in Washington, D.C. My relatives who attend the conference told me now a days in every exile meeting they talked about umaylam and dhogyal.
    This was very true. Exile officials are the one who open the pit of poop and now they can not cover up( massive and impressive public communication shugdhen committe had organized) and complaining of the smells instead of their first missteps work.

    Then there is poor sikyong lobsang senghe la, promoting himself, I have done is and I have done that!!!!!
    It is just sad that there is not a topic of inside tibetans’s situation and their struggle.all they talk is MIDDLE way policy, SHUGDEN CONTROVERSY!!!

    I am so tired of hearing this!

  6. A great article indeed. As always, your research and analysis is both incredibly useful and academically respectable.

    @Tenzin Tsomo, accusing Jamyang la of not writing articles critical of China is absurd. If you click on the title of this blog and read nearly any of Jamyang la’s posts (or books), you will find that he is one of the few Tibetan intellectuals publishing work critical of the Chinese government in the English language.

    @LODHEN, Jamyang la provides footnotes at the end of each of his articles; something that is seldom done by those writing on Tibet.

    Not being critical of the Tibetan Government right or wrong is exactly what China would like to see: A politically disengaged exile movement that simply follows the leader without asking questions.

  7. The current exile leadership is obsessed more with which spirit to worship rather than finding a vaccine for our people from the Sinitic plague that has diseased us since the rock demon and the simian gave birth to our progenitor.

    The USFMTI shall prevail as the main front in the strive for genuine liberation from not only the Sinitics, but the Anglo-Saxons and Zionist scum who exploit our cause and culture as well

    We Tibetans should forge ties with, and take influence from the other oppressed peoples such as our Palestinian, Native American, Amerinidian, Kurdish, Chechen, Uyghur brethren!

    Bhutanese, Sherpas, Sikkimese, Monpas, among other progeny of the Tibetan people, will see their judgment as swift as harsh as what the Sinitics will face for their neglect and MISTREATMENT and even DISCRIMINATION towards their mother race! The Balti people in Pakistan still recognize and are proud of their blood ties to Tibet and should be further reached out towards!

  8. Every Tibetan seems to say “It’s not the Chinese people, it’s the ‘Communist’ government”. Each and every government of China has been terrible to us each and every time they bastardized and rampaged our land of snows. Ask the Khampa who lived under the Kuomintang warlord Liu Wenhui or the Amdowa who lived under Ma Bufang’s iron fist. Not only the Sinitics, but the Anglo-Saxons and sub-human Gurkhas when they invaded as well. In the end, the oppression and occupation of Tibet is rooted in Chinese nationalistic beliefs. I don’t know about any of you, but finding a Chinese person who complains about their govt. or is supportive of our struggle is like finding a marble in pool of milk. The majority of Chinese people support or simple don’t care about their government’s oppressive tendencies towards Tibet.

  9. I think this whole MWA shenanigan is for the benefit of the CCP and our “Chinese brothers and sisters”. When have they really cared about the feelings of our own Tibetan people? We are always taken for granted because they always know whats best for us and we dont. But our “Chinese brothers and sisters” have to be treated with kid glove lest their feelings are hurt.

  10. I am thankful to Jamyang Norbu la for keeping Tibetans informed, I like to believe that, at the end of the day, people want the truth. That, however, is not to suggest that only JN has all truths at all times, there certainly is room for disagreement.

    Infact, while noting his concerns for the safety of His Holiness, I disagree with JN’s insinuation regarding Kundun and CTA ‘meeting so many Chinese, and the further allegation that Chinese are given preference over Tibetans, that there may be CCP agents amongst those who seek audience with His Holiness. Now as I have noted the problem of security, but then again, isn’t this the risk you have to take if one of your main priorities is to engage with the Chinese people? This obviously isn’t some opaque conspiracy but an oft stated, transparent position of His Holiness, and certainly the current leadership of CTA. In this regard, I support His Holiness and CTA’s efforts to reach out to the Chinese people.

    Once I too felt like many here with the honest opinion based on experiential data that since the chinese people generally seem so ultra nationalistic, added to that a life time of being brainwashed, having personally gained the mind blowing insight when speaking with Chinese people who live in the free West, that most of them still support the brutal CCP regime!! So its only natural for a tibetan to feel that we may never find an understanding friend in the Chinese people.

    But as right as that fact is, we still need to find solutions, a way to coexist peacefully with the Chinese people in the future, because, even if we gained Tibet, the problem of how to deal with C.P. and their muscular military and economy, which sits so neighborly to our national interests.

    Therefore it seems to make reasonable sense, if not so much emotionally, but from a practical necessity, we need to find common ground with China and Chinese people. How much more pressing is this for the MWP?

    Anyway, there is much to say on this topic, however, I shall leave it for the nonce, and instead, find agreement with Jamyang Norbu on the charge of fraud-of fake referendum, fake Khampa, fake Democracy, fake democratic party(i’ll come to this at another time)….

    It is hard to overlooked the tremendous energy being spend by Dharamsala when it comes to deceiving people within and without on religious and political matters, no doubt the morally bankrupt idea of, the ends justifies the means, factor prominently, where, ‘for the greater good’ as conceived by these clever elites, who award themselves the entitlement of always being on the righteous side.

    Ofcourse, in the self interest of my own tribe, I would lose no sleep if deceptions were perpetrated against the deception incarnate that is the brutal Chinese regime, but alas, our wise leaders seem to be free of my bias, for them, even Tibetans who questions(threatens, they would correct me) their religious and political views and positions can be labelled quite reflexively as, enemy of the government, and since we are blessedly Democratic,’enemy of the people!’ Thanks to our highly educated leadership, the exile government is now quite skilled in a number of ways to exploit the meaning of democracy in order to stifle democracy.

    I remember reading a chinese proverb which likens sneaky people as ones who, “display lamb meat but sell dog meat” Well let me tell you all, the Sikyong certainly baa baaa’ed all the while serving up democratic dogmeat to the NED, who not only eat it all up, they even licked the plate too. (If all funding were this easy to obtain, sigh)

    I heard some tibetan malcontent once wrote an award winning thesis, “inherent paradox between the goal and function of governments-in-exile as a freedom movement and as a democratization process”, where the author irreverently chose pluralistic democracy, transparency, free speech over Unity.

    FF 3yrs later at NED forum were this same author prostitutes his 3 daughter’s of Mara, the foundational factors’, begins he ,of exile democracy consisting of a,’single leadership’,’single voice’, and ‘Unity.’ These three big boys of democracy are so ‘unique’ a ‘model for other refugee communities around the world to duplicate’ boasted the snake oil salesman. He further claimed that this anorexic exile democracy bereft of genuine freedom of speech, active participation of citizens and parties, is still so much more enlightened and mature that,’a special provision exists in the exile constitution wherein the parliament has the right to impeach the Dalai Lama!’

    This quaint story of impeaching the Dalai Lama must be working at some level because the PM told the same story at a Euro Conference too. Sentiments like impeaching the dalai lama or a future woman dalai lama have not even a tenuous thread in the web of reality what we are stuck in, but I suppose such things are easily said-over and over again, as if mere utterance of words equate deeds..

    Pls check out the video, the whole thing is kind of surreal..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2N9AvwKHs4

    Now if I were to accept everything our exile leadership says to the world on face value alone, I would think there could not be a more reasonable, more conciliatory people and government on this pale blue dot!

    Then I woke up, and while perusing the news, wot you what I found there? Stay tuned…

  11. “Since Taiwan did not recognize Tibet’s independence and claimed Tibet to be an autonomous part of China, those Tibetans who took financial support from Taiwan were regarded as traitors. The fact that Taiwan was anti-Communist and actively anti-PRC did not matter. Entire exile communities were ostracized and a number of violent clashes, even a few murders happened because of this issue. It was devastating to Tibetans to be told they had to give up independence.”

    Thank you Jamyang la for reminding us. Many young Tibetans are not aware of this part of our exile history. There used to be a time when entire community was ostracized for having links with Taiwan. It was a curse to be called ‘Thewang phok Za khen’.

  12. Katrinche jamyang norbu la. Samdhong rinpoche , the tibetan ayatollah is the key player of shugdhen controversy. Like his organic farming, it was a another disaster .

    His bullying and abusive ,beating to the students in Dalhousie, the health TB epidemic at VARANASI, Authoritarian rule during his speaker, shugdhen controversy during his kalon tripa, radio free Asia controversy during his gad hen phodrang chairman trust!!!

    I have no idea why he is still a key player in Kundun entourage. Hope he will be soon kick out .a rotten apple will only spoil the rest.

  13. Thank You JN la for the wonderful peice of Truth.

    #14 Norbu, You are are Samdhong is the Tibetan Ayotolla. Pretending to be very pro- Dalai lama trembling on the rights of Shugdhen followers and Rangzen advocate.

    TYC controversy was created by Samdhong as a payback to those who join the crowd of accusing samdhong when he charged rangzenwala more dangerous than shugdhen.

    if Samdhong doesn’t like somebody, he will surely call a jihad on that person. But, if somebody do chamcha like Chithus Penpa, Lobs Nyendak, then he will reward you no matter what. Even when Lobsang Nyendrak has a sex scandal, he was nominated for kalon. When chithus rejected he was send to Office of tibet, NY and now finally director of Tibet Fund.

    Lobsang Nyandak will be in jail if he was in America and if the girl sue him in America.

    Samdhond doesn’t pay his greenbook until he became Chithu Tsoktso in 1990s. Varanasi Greenbook collector says that. Check his greenbook and you’ll see Samdhong only has the newer greenbook.

    So compare to all these tibetan thugs such as Samdhong, Penpa, Los Nyendak, Jamyang Norbu is the real Norbu.

  14. Jamyang Norbu is 100% correct. I felt the same way about Samdhong Rinpoche’s strategy. And because you are an expert and have been objectively and critically looking at our issues, i trust you 100%

    These days “poisoning the young mind” was a mantra of the day and they say that Umay lam video should be shown to every one even to the young children who have no clue so that they don’t listen to the rangzen guy.

    I’m sorry man, you cant change my mind with these strategies and don’t you ever underestimate my power of reasoning and logic. I see more logic in what JN says than Samdhong. Period.

  15. @Lhoden #4: Just to clarify things, could you quote exactly the “harsh verbal attack on our revered HH The Dalai Lama” that you are referring to? I can’t find any such attack on His Holiness in this article. Thank you.

  16. Jamyangla, ALSO the biggest swindle perpetrated is by the Chinese.
    If I understand; the primary reasons for setting the course for Umelam (abandoning Rangzen) are:
    1. Gyalo thondup’s initials meetings and assurances if not promises by the Chinese for some kind of TALK.
    2. Those organizations mainly he Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Germany that fund CTA in exile (from whom we get our phok) who are not in favour of seeking Rangzen.

    So it’s easy to see that the biggest swindlers are the Chinese who met with Gyalo Thondup.

    Out of that the middle way grew, grew and GREW; while the Chinese just deny, DENY and play for time.
    If I’m not mistaken Tsering Woeserla has written that the negotiations are referred to as ‘time passing’.
    I don’t know if ‘truth insistence’ and such future “PLEADING” will make the Chinese wince even for a FRACTION of a second. Such is category of people we are up against.

  17. JN,

    I don’t have enough words to thank you for this timely article. This is one for even unborn future generation of Tibet. They will know how we are swindled in the name of loyalty and faith.

    You will be much hated for writing this by what you call ” religious right”. But trust me, more than your loyal followers like me, your more important audience is historians, pro-Tibet ( not necessarily pro-Dalai Lama) politicians, and researchers and scholars who will write on Tibet. So, don’t get dishearten and keep writing.

    As a Chinese reader, I know for certain that Woeser-la is one example who quote you extensively in her writings, on any number of subjects you write.

    I for one is, one of “the sheep” who knew all too well, how the so call “referendum” is manufactured. Every word you wrote is true.

    To those who have some reservation, I tell you that, it is manipulated in the same way, when Samdhong Lama led CTA manipulated name change for Tibetan Government in Exile to Bomi Drek-Tsuk, ( Tibetan organization).

    This is more recent. Many of us were attendees to that Special Meeting. Was it unanimous? What was the majority consent and how did it change between its time travel from Upper TCV (the meeting venue) and Private Office.

    Again Samdhong Jadugar played his trick on Tibetan people to achieve what they set to achieve, using ‘ people’s decision”.

    I think there is no greater magician in Tibetan society than Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche! More recent was Gaden Prodrang sponsored strike in RAF, promoting that disrobed monk Kelden Lodroe and expelling Jigme Ngaobo.

    I think JN should do a follow up on RAF as I hear the Chinese lady is trying to become CEO of larger radio broadcast that includes RAF Tibetan Section for that she has been using our holy man.

  18. North America Tibetan Association Meeting:

    The usual shenanigans about Middle Finger Approach and Shugdhen.

    I was there and i was sick of here people who act as if there are bodhisatvas when it comes to giving up Rangzen and being a gentleman considering too much to the chinese- “there are also human, brained-washed blah blah– we need to be patient and understading blah blah”
    I wonder how wonderful these dalai lama people are.

    Then comes Shugdhen issue and they are ready to kill all those propitiators–blah blah blah- some with little teary eyes– so much respect to his holiness.

    I was like, aren’t we suppose to be reacting the other way or atleast in same way.

    I CONSIDER MOST SHUGDHEN PEOPLE IGNORANT AND FANATICS, AND THERE WERE VOILENT.. BUT I KEEP IT TO MYSELF AS THEY ARE LIKE MOST OF US WHO BELIEVE IN EVERYTHING THAT ONES GURU OR SAMDHONG RINPOCHE SPITS OUT.

    BUT THERE ARE NOTHING COMPARE TO CHINESE COMMUNIST.

    CHINESE COMMIES KILLED OVER 1.2 MILLION TIBETANS AND DESTROYED OVER 6,000 MONASTERIES.

    WHY WE ARE SYMPATHETIC AND UNDERSTANDING TO THE CHINESE COMMUNIST AND TOTAL OPPOSITE TO THE SHUGHDEN FOLLOWERS?

    IS IT BECAUSE CHINA IS STRONG AND SHUGHDEN IS WEAK? I CALLED THAT COWARD.

    PLEASE LEAVE SHUGDHEN FOLLOWERS ALONE, TAKE DOWN THE LIST, TAKE DOWN THE POSTERS ON THE STORE FRONTS IN SHICHAKS.

    THERE IS ONLY ONE ENEMY AND THAT IS CHINA AND WE SHOULD CONCENTRATE ON FIGHTING THEM. THAT INCLUDES PEOPLE IN OUR GOVERNMENT WHO ARE ALLIED TO THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY.

  19. Very inteeresting article. But few points should be noted. JN injected couple of personal politics of old school days and old boys personal as well as group albeit a tribal politics into nicely written piece. The finacial support from Taiwan was from the depatment of Tibetan Mongolians affairs, they are not anti-China at all, rather either seeking power or collaorate with Leaders in Beijing. Most of money flows through them, but from Beijing, even today. Therefore, i cannot imagine fierce rangzen defender does not care or ot matter much the source of and intention of money. It is i.ndeed surprising. I can only speculate JN does not dispute lo ma thang politics, mostly khampa men with cia cordinator gyalo thondup. So, jn goes on to say taiwan