By Tibet Sun Onlinenews
ON THE WEB, 31 January 2016
Member of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile Karma Choephel passed away Saturday morning at his home in Dharamshala after a prolonged illness with lung infection. He was 67.
Born in 1949 in Tradun, central Tibet, Choephel had a long span of service in the exile Tibetan community. He served as a teacher, an activist, and then a politician.
After obtaining a BA from University of Delhi and a BEd from the University of Bangalore, he taught at the Central School for Tibetans (CST) in Bylakuppe from 1975 to 1980. He was then appointed the Rector at the CST Shimla and Mussoorie from 1981 to 1989.
He was elected to the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and the current 15th exile Parliament. Twice he was elected the Speaker of the house.
Choephel served two terms, 1977 to 1983, and 1986 to 1989, in the Executive Committee of Tibetan Youth Congress. He was a Vice President and then became President from 1982 to 1983. In 1994, when the National Democratic Party of Tibet was founded, he was elected the president of the new party. He organised a hunger strike outside the UN headquarters in New York in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of that world body.
During a speech in the exile Parliament in March 2013, Choephel stoked controversy by saying that in his heart the Dalai Lama was seeking independence. Choephel made this remark while announcing the withdrawal of his support for the ‘Middle-way’ policy of the Central Tibetan Administration, which seeks autonomy for Tibet within China rather than independence. The Dalai Lama has denied Choephel’s interpretation.
Karma Choephel leaves behind his wife, a son, and three daughters.