As a long-time parliamentarian involved in supporting the Tibetan cause, I must admit that I am shocked by the profound lack of transparency surrounding the way in which the representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington was suddenly removed from his duties by the Kashag!
On several other subjects, I have already in recent months expressed in private my astonishment at certain political practices which in my opinion do not reflect the democratic ambitions carried by our Tibetan friends. I will not express them here (because it is a public space and I do not want to undermine our cause that I hope is common).
But “The Penpa Tsering Affair”, which concerns a Tibetan personality highly respected by the parliamentarians of the whole world who support
Tibet, has been made public by the political authorities of Tibet in exile in a way that does not satisfy me personally with regard to the requirements that I have with respect to all causes that I have tirelessly supported for many, many years.
I therefore feel entitled to give a public warning about this.
The young democracy of Tibet in exile must be exemplary, especially at a time when the pressure of power from Beijing has never been so heavy, and when the new US administration threatens to reduce or even eliminate the aid it gives to the Tibetan administration.
I call for the restoration of democratic dignity, for the better functioning of the institution of Tibet in exile, and for the implementation of the principles of benevolence, fairness, transparency, and nonviolence within them.
To those who will tell me that I am not Tibetan and that this is an internal affair of the Tibetan people, and that I do not have to interfere with that: I answer that we cannot on one hand ask for active support of the international community and parliamentarians engaged in the difficult struggle to establish the Rule of law everywhere in the world, and on the other hand consider that we do not have account to be made of the effectiveness of its own practices in respect of democratic rules.
Having exchanged ideas with several parliamentary colleagues very engaged in the Tibetan cause, I can affirm that many will take a step back with regard to the official institutions of Tibet in Exile if certain bad practices come to multiply within them.
Last year after the election of the head of the exiled Tibetan executive, His Holiness the Dalai Lama did not hide his deep disappointment about the very deleterious atmosphere that surrounded the election campaign that has just ended (he even made a comparison with the American campaign that was then underway).
Democracy is not only the establishment of free elections. It is also the respect for the principles and the values of the rule of law.
I hope that His Holiness, who is the highest moral authority and especially the guarantor of the process of democratization of Tibet that he has carried forward throughout his life, will quickly reframe the situation.
Member of the French Senate
Vice-Chairman of the Information Group on Tibet in the Senate
20 November 2017
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily that of Tibet Sun