By Elizabeth Roche | Live Mint
NEW DELHI, India, 16 October 2020
In a move that is expected to exacerbate frictions between the US and China, the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile in India, Lobsang Sangay, on Thursday met the newly-appointed US special coordinator for Tibetan issues Robert Destro.
Sangay, who lives in exile in India and heads the Central Tibetan Authority [sic] shared a picture of his meeting with Destro in Washington on Facebook.
“Great honor to meet with the Special Coordinator on Tibetan Issues Robert A Destro. This is the first time in six decades, a Sikyong (President) of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was formally invited inside the State Department,” Sangay said in his post.
Sangay also took the opportunity to thank US secretary of state Mike Pompeo for appointing Destro as the special coordinator earlier this week – something the Chinese foreign ministry responded sharply to on Thursday. “I want to thank the State Department for acknowledging the democratically elected leader of CTA and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for approving the visit. History is made today!” Sangay said in his post.
Destro was on Thursday confirmed as the special coordinator for Tibetan issues, after Pompeo named him to the post earlier this week. The appointment is seen as a move to exert pressure on China on the autonomy of Tibet and bring issues concerning human rights and forced labour to the fore. Incidentally, Destro was part of a delegation visited Taiwan recently with US undersecretary of state for economic growth Keith Krach.
News reports said Pompeo had criticised the Chinese government in a statement in which he said that the US “remains concerned with the PRC (People’s Republic of China)’s repression of the Tibetan community, including the lack of meaningful autonomy, the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas, and severe restrictions on Tibetans’ religious freedom and cultural traditions within China.”
China had hit back calling the appointment an attempt to interfere in China’s domestic affairs. Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the appointment is a case of political manipulation. “Tibet affairs are China’s internal affairs that allow no foreign interference. The setting up of the so-called coordinator for Tibetan issues is entirely out of political manipulation to interfere in China’s internal affairs and destabilise Tibet. China firmly opposes that,” Zhao told reporters on Thursday.
Is this such a big news? The Tibetans are completely lost as how to analyse the significance of this event. There is nothing to write home about this. USA is playing the Tibet card right before the elections, and we are falling prey to their trick. And he makes such a big fuss about this, calling it a historic development. If he meets with the United Front then it would be a news.
In addition, one should notice that Sikyong takes credit for everything. We have created a little fascist dictatorship in the name of Tibetan government in exile. Whatever he does is a news while all the other staff of CTA is completely ignored. It is not surprising while the CTA staff are completely demoralized, except for his chum and advisor Kaydor. They are all waiting to announce the next big grant from the US government while the future of Tibetan nation increasingly vanishes in front of our eyes!
The United States has for the first time hosted the Sikyong (President) of the Tibetan Exile Government at the State Department in Washington DC. This is the first time an elected Head of the Tibetan Government in exile has been facilitated.
All US Presidents from George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, George Bush (junior) and Obama have personally met the Dalai Lama except President Trump.
Its a triumph for the Tibetan struggle and also a mile stone for the present Sikyong’s achievement. However, the strongest reason why it hosted the Sikyong is to show to the CCP that just as it has suppressed democracy in Hong Kong without any thought of consideration for US sentiments, it can do the same against the CCP.
Sikyong Lobsang Sangye has set two milestones for future Sikyongs to emulate. He had obviously made connections with BJP leaders who invited him during the inauguration ceremony of PM Modi in 2014. That was the first significant recognition of the Exile Government by India.
The invitation to US State Department is the second feather in the cap of Sikyong’s achievement. These are baby steps to gain recognition of the Exile Government which is the legitimate Government by virtue of being the continuation of the Government of independent Tibet led by the 14th Dalai Lama.
Tibetans should rejoice even if it’s a tiny step. The detractors of Sikyong will of course trivialize such achievements because of their intense dislike of him. Such people will do the same next time around because it’s their habit to disparage and discredit any one who is not to their liking.
If we lose sight of the bigger picture and indulge in internecine feud, we are giving victory to the bandit CCP but if we remain united and fight for Tibet and it’s people , we will be the…