By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 2 May 2017
The Central Tibetan Administration has started using “President” as the new official translation of the title Sikyong, the highest post in the exile Tibetan administration.
Starting on 28 April, the official home page of the Administration used the term in a report describing Sangay’s call on the Minister of Culture for the Government of India in Delhi, without explicitly publicising the change.
Secretary of the Kashag (Cabinet) Topgyal Tsering said that in order to have a uniform term for the post in English, the Kashag decided to use the term “President”. He said there are various terms in use, such as, “Political Leader”, “Prime Minister”, and “Elected Tibetan Leader”.
On being asked whether it should be approved by the exile Parliament, Topgyal said that it shouldn’t matter as the basic term in Tibetan has not changed.
The Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile refused to make a statement on the matter.
Discussions came soon on social media, with one Facebook user posting a cartoon poking fun at the new term.
Prior to September 2012, this office was known as Kalon Tripa. Unofficially it was designated “Prime Minister of Tibetans-in-exile”.
Sikyong is the head of the Kashag or Cabinet, part of the executive branch of the Central Tibetan Administration. Before the change of the title to Sikyong, Kalon Tripa was the Chairman of the Kashag. The term “President” has never been used before.
The title Sikyong dates back to the 7th Dalai Lama, and the name change ensures continuity and legitimacy of the Tibetan Government in Tibet, established during the reign of the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1642 CE.
As long as Tibet is not an independent country we can not decide the leadership status at this juncture in exile. The very “Exile Tibetan Government” name shifted to CTA and CTA is just an association name, like TWA or Utsang Association which has its own rules and policies. Every Tibetan in exile do not accept CTA is a legitimate government of Tibetans both inside and outside of Tibet. Majority of Tibetans( six millions ) have not voted for the election and therefore, the present CTA and President or Sikyong is not recognized as legitimate one.
You Chinese pig. Don’t behave like you are a Tibetan. Go and tell Xi Jinping to give genuine autonomy to Tibetans.
If Choskyong is Guardian of Dharma, then Sikyong is Guardian of Tibetan Nation/Polity.
For whatever reason (and political pressures) some people made a decision to not use the wording — head of Tibetan government-in-exile.
Historically, HH the Dalai Lama was and is and represents the government of the Tibetan people by history and the blood ties of the origin story of Chenrezi’s Guardianship of Tibet; HH the Dalai Lama chose to handover his heritage and birth rights as the head of Tibetan people and government to elected term leaders we now call Sikyong.
If there is to be negotiations re the Tibetan Issue then it makes sense that the President of the Tibetan Government in exile sits across the President of the Government of China: this is the rule and logic in Mediation process where contending parties are equal; and Tibetans are not placed under duress as happened in the past.
But the struggle is between a people trying their best to follow Chenrezi and people using and abusing the teachings of Manchushri: ultimately it is a struggle between good and evil because if China succeeds in forcing all original nations to use Chinese only as they recently did then we will have a reign where Power flows from the barrel of a Gun and genocide and ethnocide will continue without anyone Speaking Truth to Power.
Over one hundred forty six Tibetans have Spoken Truth to Power; the wheel of judgement has been invoked against Chinese occupation.
Does the post by “Gangchenpa” imply that the PM of India do not share equal power to the President of China because of the difference in designation, when they sit face to face?
What hit the mind of our Sikyong that he feels changing the title to President will ultimately entice China talk to him. Sino-Tibetan dialogue has happened before under previous Katris. It never happened under our highly educated Harvard legal expert Sikyong.
Please enlighten me. What did “President” achieve in his recent trip to NZ that “Sikyong” might fail to achieve. Was he accorded a state guard of honour. I didn’t see any.
Back to the issue at hand, the term “Sikyong” connects closely with the Tibetans, His Holiness, Tibetan history and the current exile status. In my humble opinion, Sikyong works better when speaking to or dealing with China, since China recognizes His Holiness and NOT the CTA.
Considering the Prime Ministerial nature of our democracy, PM sounds more appropriate. I am sure, the monsoon session of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile will have interesting debates on this issue from legal, etymological, historical and national perspectives. His Holiness never felt the need for the title of President or Prime Minister in His lifelong and tireless advocacy for the Tibet issue while meeting with any powerful heads of the nations.
I think it is in the personality of the individual. Just keep working sincerely for Tibet and worry less about how you will be remembered in history and what your legacy will be. History and legacy are more about acts than about mere titles. If the Sikyong is more concerned about his self-aggrandazing name-change and photo-ops with no concern for Tibetans burning inside Tibet, then he will be remembered negatively. And, even the title “President” won’t help.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the Chosgyal of Tibet and the head of Dharamshala is the Sridgyal or Sikyong. In Bhutan I think they talk about Dharma Raj and Deb Raj.
But in modern parlance we talk about elected politicians and The Constitution:
Our Constitution is the Ten Commandments of the AWAKENED ONE and the 16 civil codes; with amendments proposed by HH the Dalai Lama and approved by the Tibetan people. This Tibetan constitution is embodied in HH the Dalai Lama.
The People of the Book: Jews, Christians and Muslims — are governed by the Old Testament.
Tibetans are governed by the sacred ties of Primordial Charge entered into by Chenrezi and Dolma before Lord Buddha.
This Primordial Charge and Sacred Obligations are tied to the Sacred Soil of Tibet and the red-faced Tibetans:
and invaders who seek to destroy this are insulting and blaspheming Chenrezi and Dolma; to insult the most sacred beliefs of the Tibetan people and out ties to our ancestors.
HH the Dalai Lama was the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetans; he has chosen to handover his Temporal Kingship to a democratically elected leader: President means whatever the organization wants it to mean and I personally think it is a good title for the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
China and its stooges are calling HH the Dalai Lama a “demon” and threatening all who show him respect or hospitality: PM Modi has also materialistic power; Sikyong does not have nuclear weapons and millions of soldiers but the Sikyong has the power of the aspirations of Six Million Tibetans who did not despoil their nest bequeathed by Chenrezi to the Tibetan people.
words are words: rangzen, rangwang and rangkhyong all mean the same: If Tibetans had pre-Chinese invasion said Tibet was independent and defined the Tibetan word (not for Tibetans but for non-Tibetans) then the status of Tibet would now have been quite clear.
Sikyong is the Twin in Charge of Tibetan political nation and Choskyong or Chosgyal is the Twin who is the Leader of Tibetan national soul. The Dalai Lama provides us spiritual leadership and the Sikyong is in charge of the policies of the Tibetan government-in-exile during its term.
“President of CTA” be like…
A high-level meeting aimed at strengthening the Indo-Tibetan friendship was held in Dharamshala on 25th of April. The meeting was attended by the President of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), President of Dharamshala Taxi Union Association (DTUA), President of Dhari Wrestling Group (DWG), Chairman of Tibetan Shopkeeper Union (TSU), Chairman of Travel Forest Ganj Travel Agents (TFGTA), and President of Dharamshala Sabzi-Meat Vendors Union (DSMVU). The historic meeting, which is the first ever in the 3000-year history of Tibet, was a fantabulous, ground-breaking success!
The meeting triumphantly ended with the President of CTA exchanging scarves with President of DTUA and both dancing wildly to the tune of thumping Gaddi drums. For info, please visit tibet.net. For more info on the greatness of President of CTA and his cuteness, visit Facebook page of the personal spokesperson of the CTA President, Sharling Dhadon.
Note: The title of President is under experimentation. If the President and the board members (=Kalons) were to find the title unsatisfactory, the title ”Emperor” will then be adopted. [I hear Tibetans are worried that the honorable President may be eyeing at the title of “His Holiness”]
When this weighty term ‘Sikyong’ is being loosely translated as ‘President of CTA or CTA President or President of Central Tibetan Administration’ as it like to use on their news headlines, I get a feeling that the person is just a leader of CTA which consists of staffs working for CTA, and not the entire people of a nation. So I see a problem here.
Tibet was unique in that it was a nation defined by geography, ethnicity, language, the shamanistic ties to blood and the spirits of the mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes and thunder and lightning: not invasions and blood lust clothed in words of god and law.
Before modern history, Tibetans were unique in believing that the origin of Tibetans was a monkey called Pha Treu Jangchub Sempa and a neanderthal lady called Ma Drag Srengmo. This origin story called on Tibetans to make Tibet a nation of the Law of Karma and the Laws of Land based on Loving Kindness and truth.
No other nation has such a history of its raison d’etre being Karma and Kindness. This brought Tibet into an existential struggle with the Law of Jungle where Might is Right. The leader of Tibetan people is the champion of the eternal struggle to make Right the rule of the Might and so why not go modern and call the Tibetan leader “The President”??
First among Equals would work but no country on earth today genuinely abides by this notion:
Sikyong the Caretaker of Tibetan Nation will be judged by deeds not titles.
Sikyong Lobsang Sangay has changed the English meaning of Sikyong as Prime Minister to President. But entity of the designation does not suit our present system of government. Prime Minister system and President system are entirely two different system of governments. Although both function as undisputable democratic body polity, but executive has more power in presidential system and parliament has more power in Prime Minister system of government.
With the change in the meaning, system of government must also be changed accordingly. But most importantly this must be done after discussion in the Tibetan Parliament. And consent of the Members of Tibetan Parliament is necessary in this matter. This also requires some change in the Charter of Tibet as well.
I don’t see a need for a name in English. Sikyong is title or a brand. It should be called so in any language. Like many people do it could be explained as “Exiled Tibetan Prime Minister”.
For me, Prime Minister is a better and more relevant term, compared to President. But Lobsang Sangay knows better.
In any case, it’s about the title of the top post of the CTA. It certainly should have been proposed in parliament, and with their approval, it should have been used. So the issue surely will come up on the September session of the parliament. Most probably the MPs will not approve of this name. Sikyong can use it as much as he can until then.
“The Central Tibetan Administration has started using “President” as the new official translation of the title Sikyong, the highest post in the exile Tibetan administration.”
FYI, Sikyong is not the highest post in the Central Tibetan Administration. The highest post in the CTA in terms of hierarchy is that of the Chief Justice Commissioner, followed by the Speaker of TPiE and then the Sikyong. However, Sikyong is the most powerful and the highest directly elected post.
When someone in power wants to inscribe his name as the ‘First Sikyong’, ‘First Prime Minister’, ‘First President’…. there is nothing much we can do. Great leaders sacrifices their own names for the country. Lobsang Sangay sacrifices the nation for his name and fame.
In the next remaining four years we will be calling him ‘First Chancellor’, ‘First Premier’, ‘First Emperor’, ‘First Sultan’, etc. etc…. and that will not surprise me given the leader we have now. Lobsang Sangay has all these stooges in Kashag, including Karma Yeshi and Chokyong to wag their tails and bark in acceptance in whatever LS wants.
I heard politics can be dirty, but our Tibetan politics is becoming cheap(y).