By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, DEC 31: In the year 2019, stories of protests from different regions in Tibet, the recent self-immolation in Ngaba and Central Tibetan Administration’s Case no. 20 conundrum have been the stories that have attracted most readerships. Here is a list of 5 such stories from Phayul.com:
1. His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s hospitalization in New Delhi: The Tibetan leader’s sudden hospitalization
in April which we later learned was a minor lung infection was discharged in a few days’ time. The news of His Holiness’ health spread throughout the Tibetan community which was followed by wave of scare and concern from devotees and followers from around the world. Previous false alarms about his health for click-bait purposes have been noted as the article
published by the quint
claimed in 2018 that His Holiness was terminally ill from prostate cancer which caused concern. His health has been a matter of great importance to the Tibetan people and his followers worldwide. A number of mock drills were conducted last year in case of a medical emergency for the octogenarian leader. Dalai Lama is the figure of the Tibetan struggle and the spiritual leader for the Tibetan people all across the world. It is important to note that His Holiness is in good health
and has even hinted at the possibility of living till the age of 113 or more in his recent visit to south India.
2. Kashag v/s Penpa Tsering in the legal battle of Case no. 20
: The exile community politics was once again torn between the two stalwarts of Tibetan politics who were both 2016 candidates for the post of Sikyong (President) of the exile administration. The plaintiff Penpa Tsering accused the Kashag led by Lobsang Sangay of defamation. Sangay ousted Penpa from the position of the North American representative of the Office of Tibet, Washington DC. Kashag lost the defamation case and was told to give an official apology on their websites along with the fee compensation of the plaintiff’s lawyer. In the last month, Sikyong’s lawyer Lobsang Drakpa’s license was also revoked as he failed to appear before the Tibetan court after he was summoned twice. When the official deadline for the apology was due, their official website briefly expressed “regret” for having defamed the “dedication, competence and character” of the ousted senior official. The politics of the exile community has been divided into this battle of hearsay about the two leaders concerned. The intervention of the Tibetan court in the case, which was filed by the plaintiff, has resulted in concretizing the matter in a legal way. Even though the case has been called a waste of time and resources by a section of the society, it has been one of the most tempted topics which were discussed mostly by taking one’s side against the other.
3. The issue of the reincarnation of the next Dalai Lama: Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) conducted the 4th Special General Meeting
, 8th Tibet Support Group Meet
and the 14th Tibetan Religious Conference
in order to retain the rightful legitimacy of the Dalai Lama institution. These important meetings are meant to conduct discussions on resolutions and statements which help to curb Chinese influence in the matter. His Holiness’ importance to the struggle seems evident in the face of illegitimate claims made by the Chinese government in their role of appointing their candidate for the same. This assertion has been countered by the administration by insisting that the decision making process of the next reincarnation will solely rest on His Holiness himself. Even though the CTA has urged on the behalf of Tibetan people that the Dalai Lama institution should continue in order to sustain the ongoing struggle. Meanwhile, His Holiness has also hinted at the possibility of discontinuing the same institution. The discussion around the reincarnation has been spun around the world in different degrees but it has been noted by CTA officials that the sole responsibility of this matter rests on the Tibetan leader himself.
4. Recent protests following the self-immolation of Yonten in Ngaba: Four monks were arrested
from the Dzo Wonpo monastery in Sershul followed by two more arrests in the same region after protesting outside Chinese offices in November. The most recent self-immolation
of the 24 year old Yonten in Ngaba was heavily bemoaned by the Tibetan people and His Holiness also expressed his sadness over self immolations. 165 Tibetans have self immolated themselves in occupied Tibet and in exile since 2008. Thupten Ngodup (2008) and Tapey (2009) were the first Tibetans to self immolate in exile and inside Tibet respectively. These developments were followed by extensive military regulation
in the concerned areas. These were recorded by several media networks in exile and have been widely circulated on social media.
5. US Congress passes bills in support of Tibet:
The US bipartisan views on Tibet has helped to garner support and push bills into acts. Recently, a bill was passed and it was unanimously approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee of US Congress. Tibetan Policy and Support Act (TPSA) seeks to update the landmark Tibet Policy Act of 2002
, include new provisions, including on reincarnation of His Holiness, CTA, democracy and other issues concerning the Tibetan people. Similar bills have been passed with regards to Uyghurs and Hong-Kong prodemocracy matters. Beijing has continuously condemned these acts which try to intervene in China’s ‘internal’ matters. On the other hand, Sikyong has been visiting foreign countries to garner support for the Middle Way Approach (MWA) and to gain prominence over the ongoing struggle of the Tibetan people.