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Readers' Comments on "An Open Letter to the Sikyong, Kashag, and Election Commissioner of the CTA"
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has worked tirelessly to implement democracy in the Tibetan polity and has expressed many times the personal and national satisfaction felt in his voluntarily turning over political control to elected officials, stating in his retirement message: "Contrary to the system of the Chinese Commun...
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Location: Dharamshala
Subject: Open letter
Oct 25 2015 10:45 PM

The essential concern of the letter is one of cronyism on the part of the Kashag or the Election commission, in which the incumbents are favoured over non-incumbent candidates. But the possibility of cronyism does not automatically mean that there will be any, and it might have been gracious of overseas Tibet supporters to give Tibetans the benefit of the doubt, until proven otherwise.

Losang Sengé was hardly a product of Dharamshala cronyism, coming as he does from a Harvard background. His mannerisms are quite alien to many of the Tibetans here. Even his Tibetan is not that good. But he won, and may well do so again.

Democracy is a great system, which ultimately it depends upon the goodwill and honesty of those who enforce it. We all know that it can be misused and its process manipulated. However, in many instances throughout the world I am sure it is handled with honesty and goodwill. I am not one of those who thinks that all politicians are self-serving manipulators.

The letter, on the other hand, seems to take the view that just because the rules created by the Election Commission lend themselves to possible misuse, they will be misused.

The ending of the letter is an open threat: “His Holiness and the CTA have, on many occasions, requested all the world to help Tibet, and expressed their appreciation for the assistance given by Tibet Supporters and Tibet Support Groups around the world - we who answered the call. That continuing support should not be wholly taken for granted.”

In other words, “Do what we say or we withdraw our support.” Support for the Tibetan cause is, or should be, contingent on the fact that Tibet has been forcefully occupied for over sixty years by the People’s Republic of China, that Tibetans inside the country are stripped of their rights of free speech, freedom of movement, and self-governance. It should not be contingent on whether or not a few rules drawn up by the Election Commission leave open the possibility of favouritism to certain candidates.

As for “We who answered the call,” there are many who did, and who would not be signatories to this letter.

Gavin Kilty

Location: NY
Subject: Important questions/concerns
Oct 20 2015 07:21 PM

I hope the Tibetan Election Commission and the CTA take this letter seriously. The signers are all long-time Tibet supporters & friends. There are serious concerns about the fairness & appropriateness of some the new EC rules. Some of those rules restrict freedom of speech for exile Tibetans and candidates. At the very least the CTA should publicly respond to this letter.
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