Tibetan Parliament: China has no role in selecting next Dalai Lama

Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile Pema Jungney making the opening remarks to commence the 10-day meeting of the 8th session of the 16th parliament, in Dharamshala, India, on 20 September 2019.

Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile Pema Jungney making the opening remarks to commence the 10-day meeting of the 8th session of the 16th parliament, in Dharamshala, India, on 20 September 2019. Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal

By Lobsang Wangyal

McLEOD GANJ, India, 21 September 2019

The monsoon session of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile began on Friday, with 44 of the 45 members attending the 11-day meeting of the House.

Speaker of the Parliament Pema Jungney declared the meeting open with a remark stating that Tibet is passing through a difficult time, and asked all the members to put in all their efforts to address the problems and meet the challenges.

He said that there are complaints that the discord in exile Tibetan society is coming from the top down, from the discord in the Parliament among the members. He urged the members to engage in constructive input and to unify the Tibetan community.

He thanked the US Congress for introducing a new bill to oppose Chinese designs to pick the next Dalai Lama. A bill introduced in the US Congress recently would call for sanctions on any Chinese official who interferes with the tradition of selecting the reincarnations of Tibetan lamas.

This was followed by the members of Parliament paying tribute to former members of the Parliament who have passed away in recent times. They also remembered former US Senator Richard Lugar, former Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Babulal Gaur, former member of Lok Sabha Ram Chandra Paswan, and former minister Ram Jethmalani.

Jungney then opened the floor for discussion on the current situation in Tibet and Tibetan affairs. Among various issues raised, one was the lack of any Tibet-China dialogue since 2010 after Lobsang Sangay took over in 2011 as leader of the Central Tibetan Administration.

The member pointed out that Sangay has been saying that the Tibetan leadership is ready to hold talks with China “any time anywhere”, but since the resignation of the two former exile Tibetan envoys, there has not been appointment of new envoys for talks.

Sangay responded by saying that communications have been going on without envoys. “It was at His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s suggestion that new envoys have not been appointed,” Sangay said.

“The Chinese-language secretary of the Dalai Lama’s office, Tsegyam, has been handling the communications. He’s doing very well, if not better than before.”

While China is drawing its own map for selection of the next Dalai Lama after the current 84-year-old 14th passes away, the members affirmed that China has no role in selecting the next, as it is a matter that concerns only Tibetan beliefs and traditions.

Some expressed frustration at the arbitrary detention of Tibetan people by the Chinese authorities for political views. They called on the Chinese government to stop such practices, and release all those who are in prisons now.

The 8th session will go on till 30 September.


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