US, 6 August 2021
The constitutional crisis caused by the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile has dealt the CTA an unprecedented blow that has brought the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) to its proverbial knees. It’s unfortunate that after months of back and forth we are still far from a resolution.
His Holiness has worked tirelessly to build the exiled Tibetan government into this extremely unique and efficacious entity that has served the people of Tibet and its struggle very well since its inception, yet here we are today, deeply mired in a political quagmire of our own creation. Our seeming inability to move past this stalemate is confirmation of a divided community’s deeply polarized politics. While this sort of divide and bellicose rhetoric is not foreign to most political discourse, I have never witnessed or experienced this much distrust and anger directed at one another in my lifetime within the Tibetan diaspora. It’s traumatizing, emotionally.
CTA is not only the strength and security of the Tibetan people, but also the heart and soul that keeps our struggle alive. We as a people simply can not afford to amble along this path of self-destruction any more. We must come together and forge a path forward with the urgency it commands. The risks are too high and rewards (if any) too little for us to perpetuate this exercise in futility any further.
China over the years has done everything in its capacity to effect a failed and fractured CTA and sow discord and chaos within the Tibetan community, but largely to no avail. Thank goodness! However, the current crisis caused by a toxic cocktail of distrust, dithering, and dereliction of due process by the 16th TPIE has done exactly what China couldn’t do despite their repeated attempts, and this painful truth gnaws at my heart.
Sidkyong Pempa Tsering la deserves a kashag at its full functioning capacity, the Tibetan electorate deserves a parliament at its full functioning capacity, we as a people and more so as a struggle needs a functioning government, not one in crisis. Hope we have not become inured to such follies.
Faculty lounge jargon and woke culture smugness will not resolve our political difference, and neither will ideological castigation of one another. If anything, such behavior will further exacerbate the division within our society. For us to recuperate and regain our collective strength as a people, we must be willing to act with reason, rationale, and a deep sense of individual responsibility to do what is best for our cause. Nothing else will set us free of our foibles.
I am sincere in my belief, and cautiously optimistic that we will come out of this better and stronger, sooner rather than later.
Having said that, I realize that optimism alone won’t get us out of this mess, especially when the feuding factions all point to the Tibetan people’s Charter for the justification of their actions, be it for the dismissal of the STJC or for its reinstatement.
I am personally of the belief that it is highly unlikely that a document as important as the Charter of the Tibetan people could be this vague and ambiguous in its interpretation on an issue of this magnitude.
Therefore it is imperative that a non-partisan committee comprised of the best minds in this field, with the wherewithal to revisit and scrutinize the Charter, is formed for the sole purpose of determining the veracity of the two opposing views. Once their work is done, their findings must be made public without ambiguity and equivocation for obvious reasons.
Following the release of the committee’s findings, the faction whose views are found meritless must accept the result and move on for the good of our cause.
I am hopeful that everyone involved in this will do everything in their capacity to move past this stalemate. The stakes are way too high for us not to tackle this issue with utmost urgency. Anything less is a disservice to our cause and struggle that we simply can not afford.
About the author
Tsering Wangyal is a former staff at the Central Tibetan Administration, serving in various capacities from 1968 to 2000. He retired as the Secretary of the Department of Education, CTA, and is currently living in the US.