By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, March 22: China on Tuesday labeled Dr Lobsang Sangay, the “43-year old Harvard trained legal scholar”, who is dubbed by many as next Prime Minister of the Tibet's Government in exile after Sunday’s elections as a “terrorist”.
Tibetan government-in-exile prime ministerial candidate Lobsang Sangay shows his identity document as he casts his vote during elections for a new prime minister in the northern Indian town of McLeodganj March 20, 2011. (Phayul/Norbu Wangyal)
In an article, titled “Terrorist poised to rule "Tibetan government in-exile"?
”, published by the People’s Daily, a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist regime, Sangay was labeled a terrorist for once serving as an executive member in the pro-independence Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC).
“Meanwhile, the Tibetan government in-exile is set to elect a new prime minister Sunday as a political leader. It is said that winner would still operate in the shadow cast by the Dalai Lama but noted that the current frontrunner, Lobsang Sangay, a Tibetan who was trained in Harvard as a legal scholar, enjoys wide popularity among young exiles,” the article noted.
“Lobsang Sangay was born and bred in India, but has never been to Tibet. In 1992, he rose to fame and became the youngest leading member of Tibetan Youth Congress, a terrorist organization in nature,” the article said of the man who is likely to become the new prime minister if the early forecasts are any indication.
The article went on to accuse the Tibetan Youth Congress as the “direct planner” of the March 2008 unrest against the Chinese rule in Tibet.
“The crimes made the organization look like a kin member of Al-Qaida, Chechnyan armed terrorists and "East Turkistan" separatists”, the article said.
The Tibetan Youth Congress, however, categorically rejects Chinese government’s claims and calls it a “baseless and unfounded” accusation.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government appears to be strictly following the Tibetan elections.
"The exiled Tibetans worldwide voted Sunday to elect a new "prime minister" of the “Dalai Lama's India-based "government in exile", the article highlighted.
“As many as 83,399 exiled Tibetans settled in India, Nepal, Bhutan, the United States, European countries, Australia, Japan, Russia and other countries were eligible to exercise their franchise to elect the new "prime minister" and 44 members of "Tibetan Parliament-in-exile",” it said.
”Even though the outcome will be unveiled till April 27, the Western media bet a great deal on the 43-year-old Harvard- trained Lobsang Sangay to be the winner,” it added.
Also taking serious note of the Dalai Lama’s announcement to “formally relinquish his political leadership role in the Tibetan government-in-exile", the article said the decision was “intended to strengthen his long lobbied Tibetan movement on the eve of elections to choose a new generation of political leaders”.
“In all likelihood, a new-generation leadership to rule the "Tibetan government in-exile" would inject the more radical and extreme theory in "Tibetan Independence", and would also take desperate steps to obtain the highly coveted goal. And they will never cease to sow the seed of ethnic discords and fuel flames among the Tibetan people within China, the article sid.
The article, however, said that the retirement announcement did not mean the “Dalai Lama would cease to be recognized as the overall ruler of the exiled Tibetans”. “He is regarded as the lone figure capable of mobilizing his followers to devote to his ambition of "Tibetan Independence", or "Greater Tibet" as he has lobbied while going globetrotting,” it said.
By formally giving up political power, the article further ruled that the exiled Tibetan leader, who has been calling for democratic reforms as the way forward for the Tibetan people since the early 1960s, was “trying to deepen the authority and credibility of the "Tibetan movement” to seek "Tibetan Independence".
The Dalai Lama, who Saturday publicly rejected requests by Tibetan people to reconsider his decision and urged them to accept it wholeheartedly, said he still favoured Middle-Way approach of seeking meaningful autonomy in Tibet.
Chinese Communist regime sent military troops in late 1949 to illegally occupy Tibet. Ten years later thousands of Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama, who is revered by Tibetans as their undisputed leader, into exile and established a Tibetan government in exile as part of an effort to restore freedom in the Himalayan homeland.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-exile Monday discussed ways to amend the constitution to facilitate the smooth transition of Dalai Lama's political power to an elected leadership during its ongoing session. The parliament also constituted a high-level committee to be headed by the prime minister to resolve the issue.
The committee is expected to give its report on Wednesday and the parliament will discuss the matter later on.