By Lobsang Wangyal
DHARAMSHALA, India, 8 August 2010
Tsewang Rigzin was elected to lead the Tibetan Youth Congress for another three years, while former general secretary Dhondup Lhadar was voted in as vice president, by TYC members at the 14th general body meeting of the organisation late Sunday.
Tenzin Chokey, a former human rights activist from Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy and a Fulbright scholar, was elected general secretary. A further seven were elected to the 10-member executive body from 24 nominees.
Chokey and Tenzin Dolma (RTYC Delhi) were two female members who topped the list of those elected with 83 and 79 votes respectively. The third female who got elected is Tenzin Yangzom, a former executive member, with 70 votes balloted by 150 members.
The remaining five members include Tenzin Norsang, Kunchok Yarphel, Penpa Tsering (all former executive members), Jigme from Varanasi, and Yeshi Tharchin from Dekiling in Dehra Dun.
The 10-member team will lead TYC for the next three years.
In the TYC electoral process, the ten executive members are nominated and voted on by all the attending TYC members. These ten-elect members then make the nominations for the posts of president, vice president and general secretary from among themselves, which are then submitted to the general membership for one more round of voting.
Despite Tsewang Rigzin’s request not to elect him for another term, he was elected with 77 votes, putting him at third spot. He rejected the decision and resisted strongly, saying he had done all that he could in the last three years. But he was not able to back down after former TYC leader Lhasang Tsering and other members pulled him onto the stage.
After he accepted the executive membership, the 10 elected members sat together to nominate the president, vice-president, and general secretary. He was then nominated for president, and in the final voting by the entire body, he was elected.
In his acceptance speech, he said that although it had been a painful experience to work at TYC during the last three years because of the internal rifts, it is the hope and unwavering spirit of the Tibetans inside Tibet that is giving him motivation to accept and continue for another term. He pledged to put every effort into regaining Tibetan independence.
For the past week, more than 150 members of the TYC from about 50 regional chapters have been brain storming on issues ranging from political activism, security of the Dalai Lama, the Panchen Lama, political prisoners, environment, HIV/AIDS, Tibetan language and culture, and the upcoming elections of the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile and the members of the exile parliament.
The members resolved to take action on several issues. On political activism, the organisation will bring more awareness about the history of Tibetan independence to parliamentarians, students, the Chinese people and the international community in general. An international conference on Tibetan independence will be organised.
To know the whereabouts of the 10th Panchen Lama, who is being held by the Chinese authorities, and to secure his and other political prisoners’ release, TYC will demonstrate in front of the UN and Chinese embassies around the world. Literature about political prisoners will be published and distributed.
On the fight against population transfer of Han Chinese by China into Tibet, TYC will publicise the issue to the international community.
TYC, the largest Tibetan non-governmental organisation, strive for an independent Tibet, as opposed to the Dalai Lama’s quest for autonomy through what he calls “Middle way” approach.