By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 8: Raising the Tibetan flag at the Capitol hill riot is “concerning”, the North America Representative at the Office of Tibet in Washington Ngodup Tsering told Voice of Tibet on Friday amid sentiments of outrage and alarm by section of the Tibetan online community.
On Wednesday, supporters of US President Donald Trump, few carrying Tibetan flags among them, stormed the building as the House of Representatives and the Senate held a joint session to certify the results of the presidential election where Democrat Joe Biden has emerged victorious. Photos appearing in social media and mainstream news agency portals showed a few individuals in Tibetan attire holding Tibetan flags and banners that espoused their support for the incumbent US President.
The images have since drawn stark reactions from Tibetan netizens, many of them condemning the act of carrying the Tibetan national flag and representing Tibet in the riots. NA parliamentary candidate Thondup Tsering wrote in his Facebook, “In the midst of all these lawlessness and chaos, it pains me deeply to see our sacred Tibetan national flag. I have no reservations against any Tibetan supporting Trump, but I urge my fellow Tibetans to distance themselves from any situation involving violence and violation of the law as it is not only morally wrong but it is against everything we Tibetans stand for.
“Projecting our national flag in a highly condemnable mass riot puts our nation Tibet, and our very standing in the international community into jeopardy. We cannot afford to denigrate our Tibetan national identity and symbol for the sake of one’s political affiliation.”
President of the exile Tibetan government known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration Dr. Lobsang Sangay when asked on the incident, told the members of the press, “As human beings we have our personal dispositions, feelings and the right to express it. While expressing admiration is fine, do not express overly critical and objectionable sentiments as it can prove to be highly counter productive in the future for the Tibetan movement with regards to bipartisan support from the two US political parties.”
Dr. Sangay added, “Do not carry the Tibetan flag and represent Tibet while espousing support or objection to a particular party as it may drag the Tibetan movement along with personal affiliations of individuals.”
Tibetan netizens have expressed condemnation for the act while few questioned the identity of the rioters carrying the Tibetan flag and whether they are Tibetans to begin with. The mob has reportedly vandalized the public offices and clashed with law enforcement personnel resulting in the death of 5 including a police officer and arrests of 80 people.