RFA Tibetan Service Director Jigme Ngapo
DHARAMSHALA, November 21: Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people, today dismissed allegations of his interference in the internal matters related to the Tibetan Service of the US based Radio Free Asia, calling them “completely baseless.”
RFA is a private, nonprofit corporation that broadcasts news and information in nine native Asian languages, including Tibetan, with the purpose to provide a “forum for a variety of opinions and voices from within these Asian countries.” Recently, its Tibetan Service Director of 16 years, Jigme Ngapo was “forced” to leave his position.
In a release today, Sikyong Sangay said it is “unfortunate” that the Central Tibetan Administration and his name have been “dragged into internal matters related to the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia.“
“I want to categorically state that I have never approached either RFA President Ms. Libby Liu or members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors on matters related to RFA personnel. I, therefore, have nothing to do with developments between RFA management and Mr. Jigme Ngapo,” Sikyong said. “Allegations of interference on personnel matter are completely baseless.”
On November 19, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, in a letter addressed to Sikyong Dr Sangay, expressed his “outrage that actions taken by you and other Tibetan leaders such as Lobsang Nyandak, Lodi Gyari, and Samdong Rinpoche are eroding support within the US Congress for the Tibetan cause.”
“You and your cohorts must immediately cease making disparaging remarks and taking harmful actions aimed at the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia and its loyal, hard Working Tibetan-American staff,” the Republican leader serving his 12th term in the US Congress wrote.
Rohrabacher, who had sponsored the Chinese Media Reciprocity Act of 2011 aimed at ensuring open and free journalism access in China, also touched upon what he called “serious accusations” that US funding meant for Tibetans may have been “misspent.”
“Scarce US foreign assistance funding to those struggling against Communist China should be allocated for Chinese pro-democracy advocates, the Falun Gong and the Uyghurs, who have clearly articulated and identified that the problem China faces in advancing towards freedom and democracy is the - Communist system,” Rohrabacher stated in his letter. “They, unlike some Tibetan leaders, have been standing firm and are unwilling to cut a deal with a corrupt and despotic regime.”
In his statement today, the de facto Tibetan prime minister noted that CTA takes “great pride in maintaining fiscal integrity and transparency.”
“Every dollar we receive in humanitarian and development assistance is accounted for, and, as required, funders receive clear, complete and timely statements on use of their finds,” Sikyong Dr Sangay stated.
Rohrabacher, who is also the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Committee on Foreign Affairs, had earlier written to Libby Liu, president of RFA, inquiring about Ngapo’s “abrupt dismissal.”
In October, a vast majority of the staff at RFA’s Tibetan Service had signed a letter addressed to Liu expressing their shock at Ngapo’s “sudden resignation,” while vouching their “full support and loyalty” in his “exemplary” leadership.