By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 11 June 2019
Tibetans in Tibet are in a dire situation under Chinese occupation, with more than 150 Tibetans having set themselves on fire calling for freedom, said the President of the Tibetan Youth Congress as he opened the 17th General Body Meeting.
About 150 members from 45 regional chapters of the Tibetan Youth Congress have congregated in Dharamshala, the capital of the Tibetans-in-exile, to attend their six-day discourse and to elect new executive members.
Members attending the meeting are mostly from India, with some from the US, Europe, Australia, Nepal, and Taiwan.
President Tenzing Jigme said that there is rapid economic and military development in China in recent times, but that these have no meaning unless matched by freedom for the people.
“Because of the lack of freedom, people will rise up to overthrow the Communist government. Tibetans will then have the chance to get back their lost country.”
Setting the scene for future TYC actions, Jigme said that Tibetans are headed for a major challenge in the coming years as the Dalai Lama ages. “We need to be realistic and talk about the post-Dalai Lama scenario.”
He said that the meeting should be used to strategise how to strengthen TYC’s activism to regain Tibetan independence. “Independence is our right. We are the rightful owners of Tibet. Irrespective of how strong China is we must continue to fight for our rights.”
Calling for unity among Tibetans and within the organisation, Jigme said, “We are not opposed to other policies such as the ‘Middle-way approach’. We have only respect for the Middle-way approach, as it is also about resolving the Tibetan issue.”
The Tibetan Youth Congress is by far the largest Tibetan organisation in exile. Unlike the Central Tibetan Administration, the official representative of the Tibetans in exile, Independence is their goal.
The organisation will celebrate its 50th founding day next year.
In the last few years, the organisation saw internal conflict after some regional chapters called for TYC to adopt the ‘Middle-way approach’ that seeks autonomy for Tibet as the goal. Since then, eight chapters left the organisation, but two later rejoined.
“I hope the six other chapters would make a sensible decision to rejoin for the 50th anniversary next year. This will send a strong message to China.”
Ajai Singh Mankotia, President of the Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association, was the chief guest. Wishing well and success for the meeting he said, “Deep inside China wish for respect from others, but the way they bully others cannot bring them respect.”
Promotion of Tibetan culture, awareness about democracy, and education on health within Tibetan society will be some other issues the TYC members will discuss.