McLEOD GANJ, India, 16 November 2020
World leaders congratulated Joe Biden on his election as the next President of the United States. The Dalai Lama was among the first to congratulate him and wish him well. China was among the last countries to do so — while Russia and Brasil are yet to formally recognise him. A few days into the vote count it became clear that Biden would be the next President. The unpredictable swing states eventually favoured Biden as the mail-in ballots came in.
Donald Trump has refused to concede defeat. Dejected, Trump claimed the election was tainted by widespread voting fraud, but without producing any evidence for these claims. Now in his desperate clinging to power, he’s spreading misinformation, filing lawsuits, and mounting challenges against election officials to overturn the results. Disruption in the transition process to the new president is already evident as Biden is being denied resources by the Trump administration to initiate the formal transfer of power.
Quite a large number of Tibetans in the US, irrespective of whether they could vote or not, expressed their support for Trump. As well, many in India and some in Tibet have shown their moral support for Trump. They believed that Trump was good for Tibet, and was confronting China. These misplaced ideas, however, were based on limited information, so to speak. The two Tibetan-language radio services funded by the US, broadcast from Washington DC, are their only source of information. In fact, their whole worldview is based on the broadcasts of these two services. These “Tibetan Trumpers” are mostly those who have come from Tibet, and their main means of communication is just the Tibetan language. One could guess what they would come to with that kind of limited information.
For instance, after Trump started saying “China virus”, blaming the entire pandemic on China, these Trump supporters were thrilled, thinking those words would hurt and caused huge damage to China, not knowing that Trump was using that gimmick to deflect attention from his failure in handling the rapid spread of Coronavirus in the US.
They even believe that the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the Dalai Lama in 2007 was from a Republican President George Bush. Actually this Congressional (not Presidential) medal was decided on by the members of the Congress when the Democrats dominated the House. Of course, many centrist Republicans did support the conferment as well.
All the legal Acts related to Tibet signed by the US Presidents were bills sponsored by Democrats, be it the 1,000 Tibetan Resettlement Project 1990 (Barney Frank, D-MA), Tibetan Policy Act of 2001 (Tom Lantos, D-CA), Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018 (Jim McGovern, D-MA), or the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2019 (Jim McGovern, D-MA). Of course, the bills were approved with bipartisan support, clearly showing Tibetans have supporters from both sides of the aisle. What is important here is to look at the person holding the top post. Bush junior is regarded highly by the Dalai Lama, for instance.
Strangely, the political leader of the Tibetans-in-exile (known as Sikyong in Tibetan), Lobsang Sangay, also showered huge praises on Trump, saying he’s among those US Presidents who have given the strongest support for Tibet. He used the events of Trump signing the Reciprocal Access Act, and the few million dollars given in aid to Tibetans in India and Nepal, as a sign of “strong support” for Tibet. He totally discredited the Representatives who introduced the bills at the first place.
After being in the US less than a month ago, Sangay will again travel there, this time to Washington to lobby for the Tibetan Policy and Support Act, now pending at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to have it approved and brought forward to get the presidential signature before Trump leaves the White House. This bill, introduced by Democrat Jim McGovern, was successfully passed by a bipartisan majority in the House, but has been sitting at the Committee on Foreign Relations since January. What made it so important for Sangay to lobby now for this bill, is another question.
Trump didn’t confront China on human rights, freedom, democracy, rule of law, or global warming, let alone speak on Tibet. The word ‘Tibet’ has never once come from his mouth, so much for “strong support”. On the contrary, when Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to UN, sought permission in June 2018 to take a diplomatic envoy to meet with the Dalai Lama, Trump refused permission, in order not to offend China.
Add to all that, Trump is anti-immigrant, and there are still many Tibetans who need to become legal residents. Most of them haven’t felt the American experience yet, and are naïve in thinking that all white Americans are supporters of Tibet and the Tibetan cause. They have only met or seen some liberal American travellers in McLeod Ganj, India, and they think all white Americans are Tibet supporters. Do they really think that the big white men in the US clasping huge machine guns would support Tibet and the Tibetan cause? These racist white supremacists would thrash even these Tibetan Trumpers if they went to one of their neighbourhoods. Trump’s speeches and actions amplify and stoke racial discord, clearly marking him as a racist and a white supremacist.
The Dalai Lama has accused Trump of having a “lack of moral principle.” Trump’s “America First” policy, the withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, and the migrant crisis, particularly at the US-Mexico border, are some of the major concerns that earned that scathing remark from the Dalai Lama, who has also mocked Trump’s weird hair and his “small” mouth.
Biden, as a veteran politician, has an in-depth understanding of the Tibetan issue. He has met with the Dalai Lama and supported the Tibetan cause in the past. During his campaign trail, he promised to meet the Dalai Lama and continue to support the Tibetan cause, if he was elected President. As a liberal, and a believer in democracy, freedom, and equality, Biden will not be a person who will get stuck with the temperature of the elections, looking at who voted for him or not, but will move forward to lead. He will understand the equally big and loud and clear support for him from the liberal left Tibetans. When he becomes President, come January, irrespective of those Tibetan Trumpers, he will do all that needs to be done, to uplift the lives of people, heal the divide, bring back the lost glory of America, and keep the promises.
The Tibetan Trumpers wouldn’t make much difference with their voting for Trump, if they ever voted, or if they could vote at the first place, as they are mostly in the blue states — New York, California and Minnesota. There are about 30,000 Tibetans in the US today. New York has the maximum concentration with about 15,000, and California has about 5,000. Minnesota, has the third largest with about 4,000.
Now what Biden could do for Tibet, and he probably would do, is to help these Tibetans without papers. To process a few thousand Tibetans wouldn’t be difficult. In any case, he has promised to legalise some 11 million immigrants. If he move fast with this, Tibetans would qualify and would become legal residents. Two, there’s no reason to think that Biden will not continue to provide funds to the Tibetans as the previous US governments have done, to help in preserving and promoting their culture, language, art, traditions, education, and health.
Post pandemic, it could be expected that he will make space and time to meet with the Dalai Lama, as he promised. But more than these, what is urgently needed for him to do is address the human rights situation, and the environmental degradation in Tibet.
It is widely expected that Biden will have a strong China policy. He will hit China at the right spots by speaking about human rights abuses, Tibet, East Turkistan and Inner Mongolia included, the rights restrictions in Hong Kong, the constant threat to Taiwan, undue territorial claims, and for more freedom and rule of law in China.
At the global level, Biden has promised to rejoin the Paris climate accord to tackle global warming; he will consider science over dogma, and join hands with international institutions in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic; promote democratic values by forging alliances with the free world to combat authoritarianism. He plans to invest in clean energy over fossil fuels in rebooting the US economy. And his choice of a woman running mate — Kamala Harris — also the first Black woman and the first of Indian descent to hold the post of Vice President, is already a milestone that the world appreciated. In all, this duo — Biden and Harris — will reposition the US to lead the free world in the best way that everyone will cherish.
About the author
Lobsang Wangyal lives in McLeod Ganj, India, and edits the Tibet Sun website.
More articles by Lobsang Wangyal on Tibet Sun.
First word you are going to hear from Biden is “Tibet is always been part of China”. Stop using the terms and language and logic used by political oppositions to justify your narrative. “Evidence”, when crime is committed by professionals with millions of dollars in hand they don’t leave any evidence behind. You sound like you don’t know much about what happened during the election. Such a conclusion is dangerous. Such a notion that China favoured Trump to win is absurd. Biden have been friend with China for few decades. Biden wont even dare to say a negative word against China let alone standing against China. Study more and deeper before you make such conclusion.
Watch youtube “The lawsuit to Define this. Decade” by youtube channel Zooming in with Simone Gao.
People should be shocked by this but if you are blue pilled and brainwashed beyond repair then you stay asleep. It will fall on our collective conscience to stand up or see the downfall of America and repercussions throughout the world.
But the thing is we can’t gloss over the fact that Donald Trump is the only American president in its history who openly and vigorously challenged CCP and its vicious mercantilist policies. Even before he became president of the United States he vehemently admonished China for stealing American jobs and intellectual properties, practicing unfair trading, artificially keeping its currency value low and various other predatory practices. Once he took power he unleashed unprecedented export tariffs to Chinese goods valuing over billions and billions of dollars. His administration sent numerous warships to South China Sea to challenge China’s bogus claims over its sovereignty. And also sent warships to Taiwan Strait to prevent China violently taking over the island nation. Donald Trump’s administration imposed sanctions on China’s handling of Hong Kong and Uyghur matters. He also signed Tibet related laws too. His administration’s sanction towards China’s Huawei Telecommunication giant and its subsidiaries crippled its functioning around the world. He is the only leader in the world to call the virus which originated from China the China virus. His administration rightly said the greatest threat to the US national security is from China. Besides there are many other policies which he implemented to hurt China at its core and brought the CCP commies almost to its knees. Donald Trump and his administration had already promised to impose more sanctions in the remaining weeks.
Although the above actions of Trump administration is not meant for Tibet’s interest but all these actions had hurt the CCP the most and had indirectly assuaged the feelings of wrong done to the Tibetans by CCP for all these years. I can safe bet the coming administration of Biden would not be…
About 130,000 ballots, all for Biden came in at 4am at a centre in a mysterious jeep. Ted cruz and others are livid that such corruption is happening in USA! Staff are forced to count it. There’s something there. Must look.
Joe Biden may not be an exciting character but he is a seasoned politician and a man who has principles. No one should expect him to do great things for Tibet or the world but he will not allow the values of America to be frittered and undermined. We can be confident of this.
For Tibet he will live up to his pledge to meet the Dalai Lama which is a win for Tibet since it’s been a tradition of all US Presidents since the time of Bush (sn) to meet the Tibetan leader. It’s sets the template for future US leaders.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the golden girl for Tibet in the US senate. She has been one of the most ardent supporter of Tibet for all these years. She has used her position to speak up for Tibet when ever the opportunity arose.
We have many others like Jim McGovern who have devoted much effort in highlighting the Tibet issue. We are also lucky that there is bipartisan support for Tibet in the US Congress.
In such a climate of big power rivalry, Tibetans must not sleep at the wheel. Our effort should be to push for international space for ourselves to highlight Tibet’s plight. We should aggressively seek to join international organisations in the field of human rights, environment, religious freedom, racism and decolonisation.
It’s time to work towards gaining recognition of the Dharamshala Tibetan Government as the legitimate Government that represents the interests of the six million Tibetans.
We have to lobby hard to get the support of the US Government, the Government of India, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Austria and gradually the more prominent countries.
When it comes to morality, the smaller countries are much more ethical and they are much more sympathetic when they see how Tibet is being colonised.
Are you looking for a leader with vision, courage, skill, patriotic and straightforward, rough on your enemy or you are looking for a leader with coward, gentle, sensitive, fashionable, smooth talk, humble and soft on your enemy?
I wait for a US embassy branch to be opened in Lhasa by Joe Biden. They have closed the one in Chengdu, but when disagreements end, one in Lhasa will be great.
Biden can also threaten to declare Tibet independent unless China negotiates.