By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 14 March 2018
Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile Khenpo Sonam Tenphel declared the 5th session of the 16th Parliament open with the traditional striking of the gavel.
After observing a minute’s silence to mourn and honour the martyrs who gave their lives in the Tibetan freedom struggle, Parliament members began the session by condemning the ongoing repressive Chinese policies in Tibet.
The representatives demanded that China reverse their genocidal policies in Tibet, release all the Tibetan political prisoners, and allow Tibetans to protect their language, culture, and environment.
They also urged the international community, including the United Nations, to send fact-finding missions to Tibet.
In a unanimous resolution, the members urged China to resume dialogue with Tibetans to resolve the Tibetan issue.
Tibetans say that the Middle-way approach proposed by them is mutually beneficial, and nine rounds of exchanges took place between 2001 to 2010. But no breakthrough was made in the talks, which have been stalled since then.
The members argued that the wave of self-immolations that has seen 152 people resorting to this form of protest is the indication of the repressive Chinese policies in Tibet. The fiery protests started with a monk named Tapey in 2009.
This Parliamentary session will pass a budget for the financial year 2017-2018 for the seven departments and other autonomous bodies of the Central Tibetan Administration. The session will go on till 24 March.
Speculations are rife about the possibility of appointment of a new minister during this session. The Department of Education and the Department of Information and International Relations are currently being handled by two other ministers in addition to their own portfolios. CTA President Lobsang Sangay is said to be proposing at least one new minister, mostly likely for the Department of Education. The appointment would be subject to approval of the Parliament.
One name that is going the rounds for the post is Tenzin Palkyi. Tibet Sun has learned that she has recently resigned as the Programme Assistant for the Asia and Global Programmes at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC.
It is said that Sikyong has an alternative plan for Palkyi, in case the Parliament does not approve her as a minister. Tibet Sun has learned that an additional Joint Secretary post was created at the Office of Tibet in Washington DC over a month ago, and that post has not yet been filled.