Former Speaker of Tibetan Parliament in Exile Mr Penpa Tsering should tender his unconditional apology to all Bonpos for his irresponsible comment on Bonpo.
With his past over twenty years of governmental service, I have always held high regards for Mr Penpa Tsering. However, his recent baseless comment on the Bon religion, of allegedly having more religious freedom than the rest, as well as indirectly signalling that Bonpos were dancing to the tune of Communist China, broke my faith in him and made me wonder if he really is a drunkard as many of his critics say!
He is a senior government official in our exile government. Probably one of the few most influential political leaders in our diaspora. I do not know what kind of sources or advisors he has that feed him with such information. Such information can’t be coming out of any of his advisors other than Chinese spies. This is purely a carbon copy of Communist China’s propaganda.
My parents are still in Tibet. I keep in contact with my family day-to-day. What I hear from them is totally different from what is said by Penpa Tsering. My cousins, who are monks in our local Bon monastery in Tibet, do not even have the right to travel to Lhasa or Beijing. They even have to get permission from the local Chinese office in order to make a trip to the nearest town or city which is just three hours by bus.
My Bonpo monk friends and relatives at Menri monastery in Dolanji, Shimla, in India are in the same situation as the rest of Tibetans in Exile. Two of my relative Bon monks at Dolanji who are from my native home in Chamdo have been trying for a visa to visit Tibet, but they never got the visa. They have been trying for visa for years, since they were in their early thirties, but now they are in their fifties and have never got the visa to Tibet. It is the same case with me as it is with any other Tibetan. So, for Mr Penpa Tsering to be picking on Bonpos as if he is picking up the “threads from the butter” is unfortunate and unnecessary. It is a pure devil’s tongue-slip at best, if not the work of Communist China!
Anyhow, keeping in mind the sentiments of all Bonpos, especially Bonpos in Tibet, Mr Penpa Tsering needs to issue an unconditional and sincere apology, without trying to cover it up by using words such as ‘if’ or saying “someone told me”. He is the Penpa Tsering who holds the second-highest position in exile, the Chairman of the Tibetan Parliament, and he is the man who is respected by almost all the Tibetans including myself. He is not the Penpa Tsering whom Nepal airport held hostage for hours and interrogated. He is the real Penpa Tsering, the former North American representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the chairman of the Tibetan government in exile.
We wholeheartedly request Penpa Tsering to stay up to his name and not be carried away by his informers or advisors or people in his circle who feed him with such false, baseless, and divisive information.
This is a serious accusation, and for the unity of all Tibetans, he needs to genuinely apologize, be it his first mistake in his political career or last mistake. He needs to pull up his socks and apologize genuinely.
Many of his critics say he tried to divide our society based on our political ideology and regionalism, and is now trying to divide us based on our religion. His critics might be wrong, but unfortunately Mr Penpa Tsering is somehow involved in all of these; be it his stance of not sharing the stage with Lukar Jam, the then first ever Rangzen candidate for Sikyong, or his work in taking the current CTA administration to the court. We have had enough of it. Enough is enough.
It is high time for our political leaders such as Mr Penpa Tsering to stop sowing the seeds of division in our community. As a man sows, shall he reap, and Mr Penpa Tsering needs to apologize to all the Bonpos. Genuinely.
12 December 2020
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily that of Tibet Sun