McLEOD GANJ, India, 14 May 2018
Since there have been many who have put forth questions regarding the usage of the title “President” in English for “Sikyong”, I will answer in one presentation for all.
It would become a long talk to give answer as regards this. Nonetheless, because, to keep the public in the dark is objected to in a democratic system, I will try to present insight that is complete and not mistaken.
Initially, the exile Tibetan Parliament had established through general consensus that the title “Sikyong” is to be used instead of “Kalon Tripa”. In connection with that a resolution was passed by the members of the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-exile during the fourth sitting of the second session on 21 September 2012, that “Sikyong” solely is to be used in writing, as phonetically, without the need for using the translation “Political Leader”.
The first stage of this process took place with the publication in 2015 of a compilation of rules and regulations of the exile Tibetan administration by the office of the Parliamentary Secretary of the Tibetan people’s deputies, where it appears on page 181 in Appendix 8 [Zur-hzar nya], of sub-section 3 of article 66 of the electoral rules of the exile Tibetans.
Then, on 26 April 2016, the exile Tibetan administration made the announcement on its official website tibet.net that “when the term ‘sikyong’ is to be translated into English it should be written as “president”, and that has been used up to the present day.
It is the honourable Kashag which says that “it was established [formally decided] that ‘president’ is to be the term to be used,” and the honourable Kashag claim that they had decided thus on the advice of His Holiness Dalai Lama. The Kashag had cited many other reasons, but I will not refer to them at this time. Everyone knows that at that time there was much expression of displeasure regarding this from the public.
In the second stage, as regards the usage “President” there was guidance by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the reception ceremony accorded to the high-level Representatives’ Committee of the United States, at Tsuklagkhang Temple on 10 May 2017.
The third stage is that the Kashag have, both orally and in writing, said insistently that such guidance by His Holiness the Dalai Lama was as per the provision of Article 1 of the Charter of the Tibetans in exile. I am not able to know whether His Holiness the Dalai Lama has advised thus as the intent of Article 1 of the Charter. I do not consider that to be case, because if there had been the guidance advising “President” to be appropriate for the title of Sikyong, as per Article 1, then even after 25 famous amendments to the Charter such a guidance would have a procedure of discussion in the Parliament, as in the past, a procedure that has been clearly laid out.
It has been laid out in the sub-section 1 and 2 of Article 17 of clause 6 of the rules for procedure of meeting and carrying out of works by the the deputies of the Tibetan Parliament. For example, to cite the sub-section 1: “As per the sub-section 2 of Article 1 of the charter, the Speaker, in discussion with Sikyong, is to set aside time for discussion on the suggestion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.” But, without going through any recommendation from the Parliament or legal process, the Kashag said that the title in English as “President” has been decided on and designated as such, and they continue to use this title. As such that title has not became legal title. That is stage three.
Then, the fourth stage is that it may be assumed that the Sikyong and the Kashag continue to do so as it is known clearly only by most government service personnel, former and present, and People’s Deputies, former and present. Yet since the public do not know the details, when we put forth questions on the this issue in the Parliament it may be conjectured that it is an electoral grudge. Besides, when the honourable Sikyong also talks of it to the public by attaching it to electoral grudge, we are not able to have at the matter a valid rule by law. Instead everything is stirred here and there into dirty politics, so that eventually when there is too much dwelling on personal name and prestige, the common administration incurs losses.
If things go on like this there is the danger of the collapse of rule by law. From that point of view, for this issue to be clearly sorted out, the Secretaries of Gadhen Phodang must make it clear whether or not that guidance — as per Article 1 of the Charter — was given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. If it was, since it would be related with the rules, the messages, advice, notice and so on be bestowed to the Parliament, and then whatever is to be established (passed as resolution) by the Parliament when implemented by all the central and regional branches of the administration, it would become concordant with the law.
So that is the issue if explained clearly.
In the end, nowadays at Gangchen Kyishong the administration relies upon one person and makes changes to the Rules; while there are able staff members in all sorts of appointments, through equal qualifications and pledges, and so on; such instances are taking place many times, not just once. In such a situation it appears that there is not sufficient supervision and watching, by the public and writers, of whether or not this Administration — set up with such effort by His Holiness the Dalai Lama — is being administered by rule of law.
I request all to put more effort and power as regarding this issue.
English rendering from original Tibetan by an anonymous translator.
About the author
Lobsang Choejor aka Sharchok Khukta is a member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.