News and Views on Tibet

Tibetan snowboarder to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics

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Yangchen Lhamo participates in the 2021/22 FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup in Hebei province in November (Photo/

By Tenzin Lekdhen

DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 26: Tibetan teenager, Yangjin Lhamo, has qualified to compete in the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. The 18-year-old girl reportedly scored the best performance of athletes representing China at the 2021/22 FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup held in Siberia, Russia at the beginning of this year.

The snowboarder from Chamdo majored in the city’s school of sports techniques and was selected as a snowboard cross athlete in 2018, wrote China Daily, a media outlet owned by the Publicity Department of the CCP. The snowboarder, in an interview, said, “I am very excited to be qualified to compete in the Beijing Winter Olympics. I will prepare well, and I will try my best in the competition to win glory for my country.”

Activists and rights groups have called for the boycott of the “genocide games” and campaigned against the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and sponsors citing gross human rights violations in China’s colonised regions.

Youdon Aukatsang, a four-time Member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, told Phayul that we cannot pretend the events happening in China are normal amidst all the human rights atrocities. “Yangjin Lhamo is not free to voice her opinion or protest by not participating in the Olympics. She has to put up a front which is enforced by China, the most repressive regime in the world. China is trying to whitewash its image and she is being forced to put on a facade of being happy to represent PRC.”

Aukatsang, who has supported the #BoycottBeijing2022 campaigns and called for the boycott of the winter Olympics, further added, “My position on the Beijing Olympics is very clear! We need to boycott the Beijing Olympics and the more governments, athletes and people join this boycott the better.”

This would not be the first time a Tibetan Olympian will represent China. Choeyang Kyi, at the London Summer Olympics, won a bronze in the women’s 20-km race walk. According to China Daily, the Tibet Autonomous Region’s sports bureau has listed three Tibetan athletes to date, who have qualified for the winter Olympics.  Due to China’s practice of sinicising names of places and people to depict their ownership, regardless of credibility, Phayul has not been able to independently verify their names due to heavy sinicization of the athletes’ Tibetan names. Yangjin Lhamo’s name has been listed as “Yongqinglamu.” The same has been the case with Sonam Darjiee, a Tibetan mixed martial artist in the UFC, whose real name has been sinicised to “Su Mudaerji”.

3 Responses

  1. People chose what they deem is acceptable for them personally. You see the Anglicization of many ethnic names upon immigration to North America to “fit in” (including people of Eastern European and Jewish origin who may have names that are difficult to pronounce). It’s actually something that colonial powers also practiced in a former century. Some multi-generational ethnic Indians in Africa courtesy of the East India Company perhaps did not chose to go back to India when they were forced to leave. The same can perhaps be said of many 4th or older generation white farmers in many Southern African countries.
    Tibetans in exile may see things differently than Tibetans in Tibet. Tibetans and other ethnic minorities used to co-exist with the Chinese in centuries past. Perhaps focusing on what allowed that versus the current situation can be helpful not just for Tibetans but the world as a whole. Nowadays, people have somewhat more freedom to move than they perhaps had in the past. Have any influential Tibetans had positions of power in Beijing?

  2. Its a good thing that some of our brothers and sisters get to compete in these international events. Though i don’t look lightly at what the wrong things going on in Tibet, i don’t go with the boycott campaign too for it does not serve our ultimate purpose. I have read news articles which are misleading as they cite HHDL in connection with the kind of anti-winter games in Beijing. These are not true because HHDL never said that people should boycott the game. The things is we should judge well the pros and cons of doing a thing. We lost too much after the 2008 olympic in Beijing. The backlashes to our actions are far more than what we gain. Just a front page story in a major news paper, a breaking news from a media house etc. these are just almost nothing nowadays, at the end of the day there is no no substantila result.

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