Should TYC reconsider its “Independence” stance?

TYC contemplating Independence and Middle Way

The way ahead for TYC: Some regional chapters of Tibetan Youth Congress have called for discussion of the Dalai Lama's speech which points out the infeasibility of independence for Tibet, implying that TYC may reconsider its independence stance. Tibet Sun Graphics

By Lobsang Wangyal

MCLEOD GANJ, India, 29 April 2013

After coming into exile in 1959, the Dalai Lama along with his followers rallied the world for an independent Tibet from his exile base in McLeod Ganj. However, in 1974, the goal was changed to what the Dalai Lama calls a mutually-beneficial “Middle-way” policy, seeking autonomy within China. In that arrangement, Tibetans would rule all the ethnically-Tibetan-inhabited areas of Tibet, which includes Amdo, Kham, and U-Tsang (with a size of 2.5 million square kilometres), except for foreign policy and national defence which would be the responsibility of China.

In 1970, exiles started their first NGO — the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC). The preamble of the charter of TYC states, one: Members of TYC accept to dedicate themselves to the task of serving their country and people under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet, and two: to struggle for the total independence of Tibet even at the cost of one’s life.

Since the adoption of “Middle-way”, which does not seek independence, as the policy of the Dalai Lama and the exile administration for the future of Tibet, these two clauses of TYC have been contradicting each other, as the first pledge is to work according to the Dalai Lama’s vision (read “Middle-way policy of not seeking independence”) and the other clause talks about seeking independence (read “separation from China”).

Also the charter continues to refer to the Dalai Lama as the “spiritual and temporal ruler”, although he abdicated his political responsibilities in 2011.

The Dalai Lama’s recent speech in Salugara in the Indian state of West Bengal has stoked debate after he said that independence cannot be achieved and that Tibetans would thrive living within one big China. He also said that the Middle-way policy has support from a large number of Chinese.

Following this speech, four Regional Tibetan Youth Congress chapters in South India, which form an important part of the TYC, convened a one-day meeting on 17 April and concluded with a call for discussion about the Salugara speech. This implies that members of the TYC would consider changing the “Independence” stance to “Middle-way” policy.

Have you heard the Dalai Lama’s Salugara speech? Should TYC change its stance from “Independence” to “Middle-way”?

What is your opinion on this?

Have your say!

There are 11 comments so far.

  1. 11.
    Tenzin Wangdu, from Hillsboro, Oregon, says:on 23 July 2014 at 3:29 pm

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s gift of democracy to Tibetans way back in 1963 was his vision for Tibet issue to become a popular movement. The renunciation of his political leadership position a couple of years ago led to the historic election of Tibetan PM which symbolizes a true democracy in action.

    Therefore, not only we need to create some constructive environment to have differences of philosophies on the issue of Tibet, but also essentially to have an equal platform for Rangzen advocates to field their candidates against the opposing party, i.e., Middle Way for autonomy. Unless this happens in near future we are simply allowing ourselves to be ineffective in our non-violent struggle against our common enemy, i.e. Communist China.

    The point I am making here is about the true functioning of democratic government through viable party systems, which can be far better than the government elected through unilateral process. The healthy democracy is our best weapon if we are to make our struggle a popular movement and if we are to help sustain our Tibetan freedom struggle over a long period of time given the economic power of our enemy and the sudden changes with global trends with reference to the unexpected collapse of USSR.

  2. 10.
    Bhoepa says:on 18 May 2013 at 9:52 am

    The Tibetan struggle is not about what you want or what I want. We in exile, living a happy life, how can we be so stubborn by simply stressing our own desire. This is entirely about Tibetans in Tibet. If Middle Way has failed, so has the Rangzen path … But at least there is a hope in Middle Way. Which government in the world would anger China by supporting Rangzen?

    Tibetans in Tibet are already there. All we should think of for now, is the freedom for them.

  3. 9.
    Phuntsok Palden, from Delhi, says:on 15 May 2013 at 5:54 pm

    It’s not about what we want, it’s about what Tibet needs. That’s what His Holiness the Dalai Lama is telling us. We know that many of our brothers and sisters in exile went to where the grass is greener (United States of America, Europe, Australia, etc) because that’s what they wanted. They live happily and fight from their comfortable homes, unlike our brothers and sisters in Tibet who risk their lives every moment and give up their lives for Tibet and to fulfil their wish to see His Holiness.

    His Holiness is for middle way and Tibetans in Tibet want to see/follow him. This clearly endorses his views – middle way.

    TYC must screen His Holiness’ Salugara speech and decide democratically by involving all the members for the best interest of Tibet and particularly about the well being of our brothers and sisters in Tibet. Many in exile have what they want. Now it’s the time to try to achieve what Tibetans in Tibet want.

    Like someone has suggested, TYC should fix all the persisting problems such as the contradictions in their Charter.

    We all know that the majority of the members of TYC are older than 50 years. It has been bothering me calling it a youth organization by this fact. Shouldn’t TYC also think of making it a real youth organization?

    Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama

  4. 8.
    jimmy kunsang, from New Zealand, says:on 15 May 2013 at 3:54 am

    Aim for the Independent, settle for the Middle way.

  5. 7.
    Thondup Tsering, from Amherst, MA, USA, says:on 7 May 2013 at 11:50 pm

    Each Tibetan must make their own decision whether it is “Rangzen” or “Middle Path.” No one person, no one individual, no one group nor groups of people has the right to force their will on others. TYC stands for complete independence and if one disagree with it, go follow your own path for all our different paths must ultimately lead to a free Tibet!

  6. 6.
    Gyurmey Namgyal, from New Delhi, says:on 5 May 2013 at 6:59 pm

    There are good points in this piece, and it’s a very good question. I hope TYC will not overlook their Charter this time, and will fix what’s necessary during the meeting.

    Getting on to the point, if the majority of TYC members want to change the stand from Independence to Middle Way, they should do that, as that what we call exercising democracy.

    Two, who knows better about Tibetan politics — the Dalai Lama, or TYC or, some individuals like Jamyang Norbu and Lhasang Tsering? Some only get enchanted by the 13th Dalai Lama’s prophecies. The 14th Dalai Lama’s speeches are equally prophecies and his calls must be paid heed to. Like we understand the Tibetan failures of not listening to the 13th — somedau when we feel the same by not listening to the 14th, then that will be just too late.

    Three, who is it that Tibetans in Tibet are waiting (should I say dying) to see? Not TYC, not those independence seeker individuals. They just want to see the Dalai Lama once before they die. This will happen only through Middle Way.

    We still have the time, and the time is now. I wish TYC a successful meeting.

    Bod Gyallo!

    • 5.
      Tsering Choekyap, from Dharamshala, says:on 10 May 2013 at 8:15 pm

      I support Gyurmey Namgyal’s well-informed and realistic viewpoint.

  7. 4.
    Peter Terpstra - Kesang Neljor, from NL, says:on 5 May 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Personally i would say that it is not up to me, independence or not independence.

    As long as China upholds its distorted vision of “Liberated” Tibet and does not want to negotiate with the Tibetan government in exiles it is all the same water against the wall.

    I do not like to make difference between people who support the one or the other, I’m not a Tibetan but support the Tibetan cause and would love to see Tibet to become free of its oppressors and exploiters.

    It is all in the hands of the CCP: They have the gun.


  8. 3.
    Omze, from New Zealand, says:on 3 May 2013 at 6:13 am

    As long as the CCP have total control over the Han Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolians, Uyghurs, neither the Middle Way nor Rangzen will make any difference. Tibetans can have all the support in the world, but if the Chinese people continue to be so afraid of their regime, the current situation will only get worse.

  9. 2.
    Tashi, from DC, US, says:on 1 May 2013 at 2:53 am

    Tashi, I agree with you. TYC shouldn’t change their stand.

  10. 1.
    Tashi, from India, says:on 30 April 2013 at 11:01 am

    TYC is a historic and the largest Tibetan NGO seeking to RESTORE complete independence of Tibet. TYC must not change its stance — rather, those who don’t have faith and confidence in restoring full independence should withdraw themselves from TYC and rally behind “Middle Way” policy. As simple as that. A group of people, now matter how large they are, cannot force others to change their stance.

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