By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 15: In the much speculated development over the visit of former Tibetan Kalon Tripa (then called Prime Minister), Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche to China, Tibetan President Dr. Lobsang Sangay said that the close aide of the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama did visit China. “It was at most, a private visit”, Dr. Sangay said on Thursday in New Delhi.
The head of the exile Tibetan government (known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration), while responding to a question at the Prof. ML Sondhi Memorial Lecture in New Delhi said that he did not get any official confirmation on the front from Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche.
“He (Prof. SR) is yet to brief me officially, so I don’t know the details. But it’s out in the papers. But I think we should not read too much into it.” Dr. Sangay is seen responding in a video clip shared by Tibet TV of the Q&A session at the event.
On Dec. 4, a former Indian Ambassador and columnist P.Stobtan wrote that Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche made a “discreet visit” to Kunming, China and met You Quan, head of the United Front Work Department that overseas Tibetan affairs. He also wrote that the Dalai Lama’s ‘right-hand-man’ and one of Xi Jinping’s closest aide met in November in Kunming, China.
The Tibetan Prez, however, said that Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche went to Wutai-Shan mountains in Shanxi Province, just about 350 kms from Beijing, for the meet. The Wutai-shan mountains seem especially apt considering the holy Buddhist sites there and the fact that Dalai lama was reported to have expressed his wish to visit the same for a religious pilgrimage in the late 1990s.
While the issue was widely discussed in the Tibetan community and Tibetan media with regards to resumption of dialogue between China and Tibet, the official confirmation for the same has not surfaced. The Dalai Lama’s private office has not made any disclosure on the incident.
The Tibetan President also said that such developments should not be taken too seriously with regards to resolution of the Tibet issue as the previous nine rounds of dialogue between the Tibetan envoys and their Chinese counterparts have not borne result and further caused “regression” when it comes to the Tibetans exercising restrain in the global arena.