Reports from New Delhi on webinar “Panchen Lama’s Abduction by China and its Significance”

-Vijay Kranti

New Delhi

25 April 2021: Mr.Penpa Tsering, the ‘Sikyong’ elect of Tibetan government-in-exile, has announced that he and Tibetan people will keep working tirelessly with governments, organizations and individuals around the world for the release of the Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and all other political prisoners, held up in Tibet by China. Gedhun was arrested 26 years ago by China at the age of six in 1995 soon after the Dalai Lama had recognized him as the 11th incarnation of Panchen Lama. Since then China has refused to oblige various governments, human rights organizations and UN related bodies that have been demanding Beijing to give credible information about the where about and wellbeing of the boy. “We are not going to accept any interference of Chinese government in the religious matters of Tibetan people, especially in matters related to the reincarnation of present Dalai Lama,” he declared.

Mr. Penpa Tsering was delivering his maiden speech at a webinar on Sunday which was organized to mark the 32nd birthday of the Panchen Lama. Organizations like the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have declared Gedhun as the ‘youngest prisoner of conscience’ and have been running a frustrating international campaign for his release since 1995. Mr. Penpa, due to be formally announced as the next ‘Sikyong’, received winning votes in the just concluded elections for the executive head and members of the Parliament of the Tibetan diaspora through a secret ballot election which was held across six continents where Tibetan Diaspora lives. The post of ‘Sikyong’, Tibetan equivalent of President and Prime Minister of Central Tibet Administration has become important since 2011 when the Dalai Lama handed over his powers as the political head of Tibet to the elected representative of Tibetan people and the Parliament.

The webinar, entitled “Panchen Lama’s Abduction by China and It’s Significance” was jointly organized by Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE), Research & Development Foundation for Integral Humanism (RDFIH), Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) and India chapter of Students for a Free Tibet (SFT). Other speakers included Mr. Bhuchung Tsering, President of International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) from Washington DC; Mr. Jaydev Ranade a prominent China expert and former Additional Secretary Cabinet Secretariat; Gompo Thondup, President TYC; Ms. Rinzin Choedon, National Director of SFT India and Ms. Dukthen Kyi, Head of Human Rights –European Union & United Nations Desk of CTA. Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Chairman RDFIH presided over the event and Mr. Vijay Kranti, a senior Tibetologist and Chairman CHASE moderated the discussion.

Mr. Penpa and all Tibetan speakers remembered the 10th Panchen Lama who had died under mysterious circumstances in January 1989 of, what Chinese government branded as ‘heart attack’, following his strong and public criticism of China’s human rights record in Tibet since China occupied it in 1951.

Going to the history of relations between the Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas since over past six centuries, Mr. Penpa said that they were like ‘Spiritual Father and Son’ to each other and the Tibetan people treated both of them as the sun and the moon in the sky. As per the Tibetan tradition Dalai Lama functions as the supreme spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet while Panchen Lama occupies second place in the religious hierarchy. Both of them functioned as the Guru or teacher to each other’s incarnation following death of one of them and both played important role in identifying the next incarnation of each other. –

Mr. Penpa said that while the Dalai Lama sought refuge in India in 1959, Panchen Lama decided to stay back. Underlining the patriotic Tibetan character of Panchen Lama he pointed out that “he was forced to undergo enormous inhuman torture, incarceration and humiliation for fifteen years for expressing his frank opinion about the sufferings of Tibetan people through his 70 thousand character long petition to the Chinese leaders. And even after his rehabilitation by Deng Xiao Ping and Hu Yaobang in 1980, the Panchen Lama remained committed to restoration of Tibetan culture and identity till the last day of his life in 1989. His brave acts proved that he was the most outspoken and courageous leader inside Tibet.”

Talking about the reasons behind arrest of the boy Panchen Lama and his parents, Mr. Penpa Tsering said one reason was that the Chinese did not like the idea that the Chinese appointed search-committee of Tibetan Lamas clandestinely took the step of acquiring exiled Dalai Lama’s recognition for the boy Panchen Lama. Secondly they were afraid that the Panchen Lama of Dalai Lama’s choice might be quietly taken to India and they would lose the political opportunity of using the Panchen Lama for recognizing the Dalai Lama’s next incarnation. Moreover they needed the physical presence of the Panchen Lama to add legitimacy to their choice of next Dalai Lama.

Mr. Penpa Tsering pointed out that first the Beijing government denied the abduction of Panchen ‘Rinpoche’ (a popular honorific for incarnate Lamas), but later accepted that he was under their custody. “Till this day they have denied every single request for access to the Panchen Lama by anyone including the United Nations Human Rights Commission. They have even refused to give any solid evidence about his physical safety or to prove that he is still alive. Even if he is alive, even then it is clear that he has been denied the real Buddhist education, thereby incapacitating him from fulfilling his religious responsibilities as Panchen Lama,” he said. –

“Recognition of a reincarnate Lama is purely a religious matter which is based on the philosophy of life after death. Therefore non-believers or any non-atheist person, especially the Chinese government, have no role to play in this process. Moreover Lamas undertake reincarnation on their own will to mitigate the sufferings of sentient beings and to continue the work of their previous life. They are not reborn to fulfil the whims of some political leaders,” asserted Mr. Penpa. “It is therefore not surprising that Tibetan people living inside Tibet have refused to accept Gyaltsen Norbu as the real Panchen Lama,” he added.

Introducing the subject Mr. Vijay Kranti, a renowned Tibetologist and Chairman CHASE, said that during first 40 years after occupation of Tibet between 1951 and 1991 the communist rulers of Tibet tried to destroy the religious and cultural identity of Tibet under the assumption that a Tibetan minus his or her faith in Buddhism and Dalai Lama will make a patriotic Chinese citizens. But when they discovered that even two generations after Dalai Lama had left Tibet, the Tibetan people’s faith in him, in Buddhism and their Tibetan identity remained as strong as ever. That is why they are now trying to occupy Tibet’s religious system from within. Forcibly installing fake Panchen Lama on Tibetan people or behaving desperate to occupy the institution of Dalai Lama through monopolizing the process of reincarnation only exposes the communist colonialist masters’ failure in winning hearts of the Tibetan people, he said.

Mr. Bhuchung Tsering called Beijing government’s step of appointing a handpicked five year old boy Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama as a farce and said that despite all efforts and influence of Chinese government, the people of Tibet have refused to accept Gyaltsen as the ‘Panchen Lama’. “In the eyes of the international community the forced disappearance of the boy Panchen Lama is an illegal act by all standards of international laws,” he said.

“The actions of a true Lama automatically establish his position and legitimacy in the hearts of people. The 10th Panchen Lama established his own position through his honest and brave stands during his life time. But Tibetan people’s refusal to accept the Chinese choice of Panchen Lama clearly shows that China cannot impose the legitimacy of its puppet Panchen Lama on any part of the hearts of Tibetan masses,” said Mr. Bhuchung who has played active role in promoting the case of Tibet among American law makers over past many years.

Mr. Jaidev Ranade, President Centre for China Analysis and Strategy (CCAS), who is known for his deep understanding of the Chinese political system and is a keen watcher of China’s role inside Tibet, said that abduction of a six year old child itself shows how much faith the Chinese rulers have in the people of Tibet or even in the legitimacy of their own claims about Panchen Lama. He said that the restrictions imposed on the free movement of their own appointed ‘Panchen Lama’ clearly shows that they are not confident about their own claims. “Beijing is desperately trying to establish Gyaltsen as a world Buddhist leader by organizing Buddhist conferences under its own World Buddhist Forum. It is also trying to occupy various Tibetan Buddhist lineages by appointing various ‘Tulkus’ (incarnate lamas or what Chinese call as ‘Living Buddhas’) in order to later appoint the next Dalai Lama of its own choice. But even Beijing’s own Tibet experts have been writing that it will be difficult for Chinese government to handle the situation raised by two rival Dalai Lama’s after the demise of present Dalai Lama,” said Mr. Ranade.

Mr. Ranade pointed towards Beijing’s recent campaigns to rewrite history of Tibet from Chinese colonial perspective and drew world’s attention towards imposing Mandarin in place of Tibetan language in Tibet Autonomous Region. “Chinese rulers are taking ridiculous steps like Sinicizing Tibetan Buddhism with socialist characteristics. They are even trying to teach the Tibetans that Buddhism came to Tibet from China, which Tibetans find laughable,” he pointed out.

Mr. Gonpo Dhundup, President TYC said, “First the Chinese killed the 10th Panchen Lama by poisoning him just because he dared to openly challenge and criticize China’s role in Tibet. Now they are trying to impose a puppet Panchen Lama and his ‘reincarnation’ on the people of Tibet. That is the reason why Tibetan people inside Tibet have refused to accept him.”

Referring to the havoc and destruction caused by what he termed as the ‘Chinese virus’ across the world, Mr. Gonpo called upon the world community to make China accountable for it and demand compensation for all the loss it has caused to countries, businesses and people across the globe. He said today’s Tibetan youths draw inspiration from brave leaders like the late 10th Panchen Lama, who showed the courage to challenge the mighty government of China, and will keep working towards regaining independence of Tibet from the Chinese colonial rule.

Expressing the resolve of Tibetan Youth Congress Mr. GonSpo announced that “Our movement for the independence of Tibet will continue till our goal is reached. Our campaign for the release of Panchen Lama and all political prisoners in Tibet is going to gain momentum in near future.”

Referring to Beijing government’s claims that it is denying outsiders’ access to Gedhun Choekyi Nyima for his own protection from the ‘splittist’ forces, Ms. Richen Choedon of SFT India said that such a lame argument sounds bizarre and a challenge to the wisdom of rest of world. She said that Tibetan people strongly condemn and oppose the so called law ‘Order-5’, issued by Chinese government in 2007 which claims that the Chinese Communist Party has exclusive right on identifying incarnations of Tibetan Tulkus, especially the Dalai Lama. “More the Chinese rulers make noise and claims on right to install the next Dalai Lama, more the people of Tibet lose their faith in them,” she said.

Praising American President’s statement about sending greetings to the 11th Panchen Lama on his 32nd birthday, Ms. Rinzin called upon the government of India take a strong and clear stand on the issue of reincarnation of Dalai Lama. She urged the youths of India to take lead in supporting Tibet because free Tibet is guarantee to India’s security from China.

Ms. Dukthan Kyi, who heads the Human Rights, UN and European Union desk at CTA in Dharamshala, spoke with special focus on attempts going on in various UN forums and other international platforms for the release of Panchen Lama over past 26 years. She said many leading international human rights organizations are shocked to note that whenever the issue of Panchen Lama’s disappearance is raised on any UN forum the Chinese officials use China’s special powers and privileges to kill the initiative. “A ridiculous situation arose in 1998 when Chinese government refused to give any cooperation to the UN Human Rights Commission on its visit to Tibet. In 2002 and 2007 also they deflected the attempts of the HR Commission by claiming that Gedhun was safe and that his parents did not want any outside interference in his life”, she informed the audience.

“And the worst experience was when Tibetan and many international child rights groups sought the UN intervention in boy Panchen Lama’s case under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Ambassador of China at the UN claimed that the child was under the protection of Chinese government so no access to outsiders can be given in order to protect him from abduction,” said Ms. Dukthen.

“But today when Gedhun is no more a child and he is a grown up man then why does he need protection of the Chinese government? Why China is afraid of even releasing his photos to the world community or why the representatives of UN or human rights groups are not allowed to have access to him?” she asked.

In his Presidential address Dr. Mahesh Chandra Sharma, Chairman RDFIH and a leading scholar of Integral Humanism, said that the issue of Tibet is not merely an issue of human rights. Looking at Tibetan issue from modern day’s geo-political perspective too amounts to reducing its seriousness. The issue of Tibet is actually a case of deliberate destruction of a geo-cultural and a national identity. A free nation with millenniums old identity and rich cultural heritage has been colonized and its Buddhist identity is being blatantly destroyed by a colonial power. This must be challenged.

“It looks funny that on the one hand the colonial masters of Tibet try to arrest or kill the Panchen Lama and Dalai Lama. But the same colonial masters are today desperately wanting to own both of them to establish their own legitimacy over Tibet?” asked Dr. Sharma.



International webinar on 70 years of China’s colonial rule over Tibet

-Vijay Kranti

New Delhi

24 May 2021: There is a serious danger of the Tibetan people disappearing altogether as a distinct people because the Chinese Communist Party in Tibet is aiming at reprogramming Tibetan people’s minds and hearts through implementation of its colonial policies in Tibet. China has created a situation where there Tibet will be there, but without the Tibetan people. It is also a matter of concern for the entire civilized world that China is showing the arrogance of ‘celebrating’ 70 years of its colonialism in Tibet. China is issuing a so called ‘White Paper’ on present day Tibet which, besides being a bunch of white lies is also an attempt to white wash all its colonial crimes like genocide, cultural annihilation, loot of natural resources and blatant denial of human rights to the Tibetan people.

This was the common concern, expressed by a group of international ranking experts on China and Tibet last evening in a webinar, titled “70 Years of Chinese Colonial Rule in Tibet”. The webinar was jointly organized by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) to mark the 70th anniversary of colonial occupation of Tibet by China. The panel of experts included personalities like Mr. Kai Mueller, Chief Executive, International Campaign for Tibet, Germany; Mr Jayadeva Ranade, a well know China expert and President, Centre for China Analysis and Strategy (CCAA);  Dr Sana Hashmi, an Indian scholar on China and currently Fellow, Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation, Taiwan; Mr Tenzin Tsundue, a leading Tibetan thinker and activist; Mr Gonpo Thondup, President Tibet Youth Congress (TYC); and Mr Vijay Kranti, a senior journalist, Tibetologist and Chairman, CHASE. On 23rd May, 1951 China claims to have signed what it calls as the “17-Point Agreement” with the Tibetan government to merge Tibet into China. The panellists discussed various aspects of the history and current situation of Tibet under the China’s colonial rule.

Mr. Kai Mueller, in his keynote address, expressed concern that a serious term like ‘colonialism’ has been replaced in the international discourse by terms like authoritarianism, totalitarianism or surveillances which do not go beyond measuring or questioning state power.  “This has given China full chance to distract world’s focus from the real issues arising out of colonialism in Tibet,” he said. “China’s rule over Tibet since 1951 has all the characteristics of colonialism in the real sense of the word. This is evident not only from the manner in which the Chinese authority was established and maintained in Tibet, it is also clear from the way the Chinese authorities decide on and implement economic and other development policies and exploit natural resources. But most revealing is the attitude of Chinese authorities and of the Tibetan people whose perceptions of each other are typical of the colonial power and the colonized people” said Mueller. “The world therefore needs to understand the DNA of the Communist regime of China and wake up to the real Chinese danger before it is too late,” he warned.

Raising the issue of destroying the life and culture of nearly two million Tibetan nomads who used to form a third of original Tibet’s population, Mueller pointed out that besides systematically destroying Tibetan people’s religious and lingual identity China is forcibly changing the livelihood and social life of Tibetan nomads and herders. They are being forcibly relocated and settled since 1980s. But there is no legal remedy available to them.  “What is more striking is that while Chinese authorities do not even attempt to hide these steps, the international community has not raised voice with the required disgust or shock,” he said.

“The policies of Sinification of Tibet are aimed at reforming the thoughts and minds of Tibetans so that Tibetans no longer remain as Tibetans – not speaking their language, nor practicing their beliefs and not living their lives. World should understand that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) aims at nothing less than reprogramming Tibetan people’s minds and hearts. The world community needs to understand the DNA of CCP’s rule in Tibet and recognize this cultural genocide,” said Mueller.  He warned that there is a serious danger of the Tibetan people disappearing altogether as a distinct people. “That means a Tibet without the Tibetans”, he said.

In his presentation Mr. Jayadeva Ranade, a well know expert on China and a former Additional Secretary with the Cabinet Secretariat of Government of India, analyzed the Chinese ‘White Paper’ which was issued on the eve of the 70th anniversary of China’s occupation of Tibet. He pointed that Beijing authorities are still toying with historic facts and going to ridiculous limits of claiming sovereignty over Tibet during past centuries which never happened in the history. Referring to China’s claims about development of Tibet he said that there is no doubt that Tibet has been developed over past decades by China. “But the Chinese masters of Tibet hide this fact that all this development in Tibet is aimed at increasing China’s military control over Tibet and exploiting the mineral wealth of Tibet” he said.

Mr. Ranade said that China’s on-going attempts to control the Tibetan religious institutions, seducing the monks and nuns with money packets, offering them official positions and appointing communist cadres in the monasteries only expose the fact that there is serious resistance among the religious community against Chinese rule and Beijing has failed to win their hearts. He pointed at the danger of climate change and deprivation of Tibetan river waters to other riparian countries, including India, which are going to be the imminent result of widespread damming of Tibetan rivers and Chinese plans to divert these waters to other areas of China.

Giving example of how China’s imposed Panchen Lama has been outright rejected by Tibetan people, Mr. Ranade predicted that China’s attempts to forcibly install the next reincarnation of Dalai Lama and subsequent appearance of two Dalai Lama’s on the scene is going to fail miserably.

Dr. Ms. Sana Hasmhi, an Indian scholar on China, currently stationed in Taiwan said that Beijing’s claims about what it calls ‘democratic reforms’ look pale against the robust democratic system the Tibetan refugee community has developed over the years under the leadership of Dalai Lama. Rubbishing China’s claims about bringing development in Tibet she said that all this development is aimed at settling millions of Han Chinese in Tibet while the local Tibetans feel strong discrimination in matters of jobs and salaries. About China’s latest “White Paper” she said it is nothing but Chinese Propaganda.

She lampooned Chinese government for recently releasing manipulated films about celebration of Eid by Xinjiang Uyghur Muslims and said that the Beijing leaders don’t even demonstrate such artificial sympathy for religion in Tibet. They even go to the extent of banning celebration of Tibetan New-Year and make Tibetan people feel like prisoners in their own country. Expressing relief on the USA and European Union becoming more supportive of Tibetan people she warned the world community to realize that China’s activities in Tibet hold serious dangers for other countries too.

Referring to the dangers arising for India out of Tibet’s occupation by China Dr. Hashmi said that China’s on-going roads and other developmental project inside Tibet along Indian border are very dangerous for India’s interests. She underlined that it was high time that Government of India should make its own people aware of China’s activities inside Tibet and their implications for India.

Mr. Tenzin Tsundue, an internationally acclaimed Tibetan writer, poet and champion of complete independence of Tibet from China’s colonial rule, regretted that there has been no meaningful support for Tibetan people from the world community. “But despite this international indifference the Tibetan people have not given up and have successfully kept their spirit of freedom alive”, he said. Talking about China’s claims in the latest White-Paper on Tibet that it has been a ‘part of China’ since centuries, Tsundue said it was ridiculous for the rulers of China to make such claims which itself came into existence only in 1912 after having lived as slave to foreign rules of the Manchurians and Mongols.

He was critical of Chinese government celebrating its own colonialism in Tibet and presenting the “17-Point Agreement” as a proof of its ownership of Tibet. He reminded his audience that Tibetan government of that time had to accept the said ‘Agreement’ only because Mao had threatened Dalai Lama with blood bath of Tibetan masses at the hands of PLA. He said that after Dalai Lama having publicly repudiating the “17 Point Agreement” just before entering India in 1959, this agreement is has no meaning for the people of Tibet.

Referring to the recent US law on Tibet viz. “Tibet Policy and Support Act-2020” Tsundue said that this US support for the people of  Tibet was less due to the American government’s love for Tibet and more because now they feel threatened by the Chinese government. About the Government of India’s policy on Tibet he said that at the time of China’s attack on Tibet the Indian government leaders were hoping that China and India would jointly give leadership to the world. But China proved India wrong. “All these years Tibetans have been telling the Indian government not to believe the Chinese. But they did not even listen to their own Defence Minister Mr. George Fernandez who had said years ago that China was India’s enemy number-one. And today India is suffering due this attitude,” he said.

Mr. Tsundue said that China has reached a stage today when it is threatening every country around the world. “It is time for the world to learn from the Tibetan people who have withstood China’s bullying and oppression for seven decades and still have not given up. It is Chinese government who is feeling afraid of the Tibetan people,” he said.

Mr. Gonpo Dhundup, President of Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the largest socio-political organization of the Tibetan Diaspora and champion of total independence for whole of Tibet, advised the world governments, especially the governments of South Asian countries to join hands and fight the Chinese threat together. “By occupying Tibet and reaching borders of South Asian countries China has become a threat to the national security of these countries,” he said.

He said that there have been many mass uprisings of Tibetan people against the Chinese colonial rule and the participants of all these uprisings were those young Tibetans who are 2nd or 3rd generation after Tibet lost its freedom. Self-immolation my 157 Tibetans against China show that the resistance against China is very strong in the hearts of Tibetan people. Referring to China’s latest ‘White-Paper’ on Tibet Gonpo said that “this white paper is purely a Chinese propaganda. Chinese leaders are trying to hide their acts of wanton destruction of Tibetan culture, murders of people and denial of basic freedoms to Tibetan people through such false claims.”

Vijay Kranti, a senior journalist, Tibetologist and Chairman CHASE moderated the discussion. Commenting on the latest ‘White-Paper’ of Chinese government which boasts of ‘Peaceful Liberation of Tibet’ he said that this white-paper is full of white lies and is actually an act of white wash over the inhuman acts and excesses, committed by the communist colonial master of Tibet over their subjects. “The choice of subjects and claims made on each subject in this White-Paper only exposes the guilt conscience of China’s rulers of Tibet. This paper is Beijing’s attempt to interpret and present all its colonial sins against the people of Tibet an ‘act of favour’ to the people of Tibet over past seven decades,” he said.

Professor Aayushi Ketkar, a scholar of international relations and security matters, in her vote of thanks said that today is the most opportune moment to raise the issue of Tibet because the expansionist and colonial face of China is finally getting exposed and the world is facing a common onslaught of Covid-19 from China. “Tibet is not just an issue of a country being colonized. It is a global issue of environmental destruction, climate change, denial of human rights, human genocide, cultural genocide and threat to world peace and rule of law,” she said.



Warn Experts on World Environment Day

-Vijay Kranti and Anjali Mishra

International webinar on “Environmental Destruction in Tibet by China and Implications for Asia” on World Environment Day

New Delhi

5 June 2021: Insatiable greed of China for resources and its desperation to exploit these resources from a delicately placed Tibet to feed its mammoth industry and trade has damaged Tibet’s environment tremendously. So much so that loss of environmental equilibrium in Tibet has become a serious and potential threat to almost entire Asia and the world. China’s tinkering with Tibetan rivers by building massive dams to extract electricity and water for its deficient mainland is capable of causing earthquakes and sinking of mountains which can lead to catastrophes that no Chinese technology or political machinery would be able to handle. This is one of the common messages which emerged in an international webinar focused on “Environmental Destruction in Tibet by China and its Implications for Asia” on the World Environment Day.

Some other major common observations of the experts were that since Tibet covers as huge a region on the top of the world as all countries of Western Europe put together, the world cannot afford to ignore or keep helplessly watching how China is feverishly exploiting Tibet’s natural resources. China’s arrogant style of damming Tibetan rivers and exploiting fresh water, minerals, timber and electricity from Tibet needs to be checked before it is too late. Especially damming and diversion of Tibetan rivers which have been directly feeding more than 2 billion people in 10 other countries of Asia since centuries, is incompatible with sustaining the life and livelihood of these people and countries.

This international webinar was jointly organized by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) to draw international attention to the dangers building up in Tibet for Asian countries due to indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources in Tibet by China. The experts who discussed various aspects of the issue were Mr Gabriel Lafitte, a leading and veteran Australian environmentalist who has been studying Tibet and its environment for over 40 years; Mr Claude Arpi, a renowned Tibetologist, historian and a keen observer of China’s water plans in Tibet; Prof. Milap Chand Sharma, a glaciologist at JNU who has studied Tibet from a Glacial Geomorphologist’s angle; Mr Tempa Gyaltsen Zamlha, Head of Environment Desk at Tibet Policy Institute of Dharamshala; Mr Sonam Tsering, General Secretary of TYC and a leading activist on issues related to Tibetan environment; and Mr Vijay Kranti, a veteran Tibetologist and Chairman of CHASE who moderated the discussion.

Presenting his analysis of how China is handling Tibet’s natural resources for fulfilling its own industrial and business needs Gabriel Lafitte said that it is very difficult to reconcile with two completely incompatible approaches of China on the environment. One is the destruction of the environment which is being done by China inside occupied Tibet. The other is that Chinese leaders are taking every opportunity to portray themselves as ‘deeply committed’ not only to doing the right things for bio-diversity and climate but also being the ‘world leader’ in protecting the environment.

Lafitte said that there is a major change in China’s approach towards Tibet over the past 70 years. In the initial period after the occupation of Tibet, China has been presenting Tibet as an ‘underdeveloped’ and ‘poor’ region which was a ‘liability’ for China. In its public utterances on Tibet, it used to term Tibet as a liability, danger and threat to its safety and stability. In terms of environment and assets, they used to call Tibet a ‘wasteland’ that was ‘good for nothing’. But over the years China is treating Tibet as an asset and as a source for extraction of precious minerals, mass tourism, and exploitation of water and generation of hydro, solar and wind electricity which is being used to run industry in far distant China. This way Tibet has changed from a cost centre to a profit centre for China. At this rate, the “third pole of the world” Tibet would end up becoming a moonscape, he feared.

Claude Arpi discussed China’s policy of taming and exploiting Tibetan rivers to meet its ever expanding needs of power and water. To make his point he discussed in details the case of Tibetan river Yarlung-Tsangpo which is known as Brahmaputra after it enters India in Arunachal Pradesh. He said that China has always taken pride in what it is doing with Tibetan rivers and never intended to hide what it does in Tibet as its “own land”. After building many dams on Yarlung Tsangpo, China is now focusing on its new Giga project at the U-Band of the river over the ‘Grand Canyon’ in Medok area which is only about 30 km from Indian border. It is going to produce three times more electricity than China’s and world’s biggest “Three Gorges Dam”.

“The magnitude of the engineering work in this remotest area of Tibet is so huge that it will need China to bring in tens of thousands of JCBs and other heavy machinery along with tens of thousands of workers from China. “This is bound to change the demographic and ecological character of this area which is not only a serious threat for the local Tibetan populations but also a big security threat for India,” says Arpi. Narrating that China’s original plan was to use controlled nuclear explosions in this area to divert the flow of Tsangpo River from India towards China’s own areas. “There are chances that the current hydro-project may not prove feasible due to its huge size and geographic complications. In that case there are big chances that China can undertake the river diversion project. This will be a catastrophic act on the part of China,” he said.

Prof. Milap Sharma presented a detailed analysis of the complex tectonic nature of the Himalayas, especially in the Tibetan plateau, and also of the climatic changes which are affecting the glaciers and permafrost regions of Tibet. He said that this region, especially along the southern Himalayan ranges along India, is highly earth quake prone due to its tectonic nature. “Any tinkering with the rivers of Tibet and building of massive dams can prove catastrophic in the event of earth quake. Even building of big dams itself can lead to cave in and trigger earthquakes. It will be worse than a nuclear disaster,” he warned.

Presenting his personal experience of study travels through the permafrost regions of Tibet Prof. Sharma said that the climate of this region is changing fast and increase of carbon over the Tibetan glaciers due to Chinese industrial activity the glaciers are melting ten times faster. Hence they are receding fast. Also the construction of railway in this region has worsened the situation. China’s policy of banning grazing and permanently settling the nomads away from the grasslands is only accelerating this deterioration process. He said that the earlier theory about Himalayas working as a wall to stop monsoon clouds of India is proving only partially correct. Actually the glaciers and Snow Mountains of high Tibetan plateau contribute in a big way in creating winds and pressure zone above in the skies which affect the monsoons also.

Tempa Gyaltsen Zamlha has been working with many international environmental forums to convince UN related organizations and government to put pressure on China to stop damaging Tibetan ecology and take disaster mitigation and management seriously in Tibet. Due to worsening environment over the Tibetan plateau events of land slides, avalanches, mud slides and mountain collapse have become frequent. Prior to China occupying Tibet and undertaking big projects of mining, road construction and damming of rivers Tibetans rarely witnessed such destruction. But there have been many instances when entire Tibetan villages were buried under snow or mud.

Tempa gave example of a big land slide into the Dri-Chu (Yellow River) in Eastern Tibet when about 23 million cubic meters mass of mountain crashed and blocked the river in October 2018. It stayed for 11 days resulting into the water to accumulate up to 70 km from the site. But Chinese equipment and teams could reach there only on the 5th day. Another similar event occurred after 23 days again. It shows that China is capable of building 15 thousand dams over the Yellow River but is not capable of handling such catastrophes.

Sonam Tsering himself belonged to a Tibetan nomad family before escaping out of Tibet. He spoke about how China is forcing the nomads to live in specially designated congested and cemented housing colonies. He expressed serious concern that after removing the nomads from their grasslands China is grabbing their lands for establishing industries and making money through what it claims as ‘natural tourism’. “This forcible act of relocating the nomads and depriving them of their traditional livelihood and lifestyle is bound to destroy Tibet’s cultural and social identity forever,” he warned.

Vijay Kranti, a veteran Tibetologist said that the destruction of the environment in Tibet has become a new reason for keeping up the Tibetan freedom movement alive inside Tibet. Based on his extensive travels inside Chinese controlled Tibet he said that China’s massive security and surveillance apparatus, backed by internet and artificial intelligence has drastically reduced chances of armed resistance or organized political activity by ordinary Tibetans. “Public expression of anger against Chinese administrators on issues related to land grabbing by the government, poisoning of local water bodies and forcible eviction of nomads from their grasslands have become a common form of collective social action. This has given a new lease of life to the Tibetan freedom movement inside Tibet,” he said.

Winding up the discussion with her vote of thanks and observations Prof. Aayushi Ketkar said that the problem of ecological degradation in Tibet has ceased to a problem of Tibetan people alone. “It has acquired serious social, political and strategic dimension for entire Asia, especially for India. The world community must take note of it and join hands to meet this Chinese challenge before it is too late”, she warned.



International experts at an international webinar on future of Dalai Lama institution

-Vijay Kranti and Anjali Mishra

New Delhi- Dharamshala – Washington (DC)

6 July 2021: When President Xi Jinping talks of Tibetan Buddhism ‘with Chinese characteristics’ then he only reveals China’s intentions of destroying and subsuming Tibet’s unique cultural identity into communism. And his claims about exclusive rights of the Communist Party of China to install the next Dalai Lama of its choice by are too ridiculous to be of any consequence either to the people of Tibet or the world community. These are the two main observations which emerged in the presentations of two experts of international eminence in a webinar which was organized to commemorate the 86th birth anniversary of Nobel Peace Laureate Dalai Lama on 6th July evening.

The two experts Mr. Robert Destro, former Assistant Secretary of State and United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues and Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, former ‘Kalon Tripa’ (Prime Minister) of Tibet were speaking at an international webinar entitled “Significance of the Dalai Lama for Future of Tibet and China’s Claims over his Next Incarnation”. The webinar was organized jointly by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) at New Delhi, Dharamshala and Washington (DC) to commemorate the 86th birth anniversary of Dalai Lama.

“When Chinese President Xi Jinping insists upon Tibetan Buddhism with Chinese characteristics or when the Communist Party of China claims to control the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama by force as they did in the case of the Panchen Lama, it is in the same line as what they have done to the Catholic Church in China, to Hong Kong, to the Uighur People of Xinjiang or to the Mongolian people of South Mongolia.  Their goal is explicit — to eliminate whatever makes each of these communities unique.  Their uniqueness will be subsumed in the collective materialism and the uniformity of communism,” said Mr. Destro. It was during the tenure of Mr. Destro that the historic “Tibet Policy and Support Act-2020” of the US was passed by the US Congress and signed as a law by President Trump on the joint initiative of his Republican Party and the Democratic Party during the concluding days of his Presidency.

Mr. Destro presented his perspective on Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way Approach’ as an effort to preserve unique nature of Tibet and the freedom of the Tibetan People while recognizing that “when there is a great disparity of power – as it is today between the People’s Republic of China and the Tibetan People — peaceful alternatives must be sought without conceding an inch.”

Underlining the relevance of His Holiness Dalai Lama’s advice to cultivate human values of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline, Mr. Destro said, “were we to engage in the daily cultivation of each of these human values in our lives, the world would become a far more hospitable place in which to live and to raise our children.”

Offering a philosophical and spiritual ground to the Tibetan struggle against Chinese oppression Mr. Destro said, “Given our commitment to preserving that which makes us unique as individuals and communities, we must find not only the strength to tolerate the arrogance of those who would enslave us, but also the compassion to devise a strategy of resistance and self-preservation that acknowledges their humanity of the oppressor, as well as the human weaknesses and insecurities that come with that humanity.”


Addressing the issue of President Xi Jinping’s persistent assertion that finding and installing the next incarnation of present Dalai Lama is the exclusive prerogative of China’s Communist Party and the Central government of People’s Republic of China (PRC) Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, former Prime Minister of Tibet and an internationally acclaimed academician on Buddhist philosophy, dismissed this claim as ‘ridiculous’ and inconsequential. “Whenever Chinese leaders make such types of claims they are doing so because of their own fears and uncertainty in their mind. Such claims neither are so ridiculous that they neither deserves to be taken notice of nor qualify to be reacted upon. That is why I simply ignore what Chinese government is saying.”

Besides being the founding Director of Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies at Sarnath and the Chancellor of Sanchi University of Buddhist Indic Studies Prof. Rinpoche has also been the President of the Association of Indian Universities.

Throwing an open challenge to President Xi Jinping and his CPC colleagues on the basic concept of reincarnation, Prof Rinpoche said “Does the ‘Central government’ of China, which claims to be communist or Marxist, believe in the continuation of the consciousness or reincarnation? Do they really understand what happens after death? If they do so then they should understand that human consciousness does not come to an end at the time of death and that it will have another birth. Only then you can talk of the idea of reincarnation. If they really believe in this then they should stop talking about the Marxist dialectical materialism which is based on the principle that the mind is the quality of matter and that it also ceases with death and hence there is no continuity of consciousness after death. If they don’t change this principle then it means that they don’t believe in birth after death or continuity of consciousness. In that case their claim about recognition of next Dalia Lama is just hypocritical.”

Blasting Beijing government’s claims about identifying Dalai Lama’s based on lottery from a golden urn Prof Rinpoche said, “I am aware that during the 18th century Tibetans had good relations with the Manchu emperors in central China. They did advise us to use the method of lottery through the golden vessel for the selection of Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama. But in spite of their suggestions neither of the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 13th or 14th Dalai Lama were selected that way. It was only the 11th and the 12th Dalai Lamas who were selected through a lottery from a golden vessel. Even in these two cases too, it was not exclusively through the golden vessel but the process was only a part of an entire religious process. There is no such tradition or past heritage that the Dalai Lama must be recognized through this way.”

Professor Rinpoche reminded Chinese leaders of their frustrating experience in the case of 11th Panchen Lama who was forcibly appointed by Beijing after arresting the five year old boy Gedhun Choekyi Nyima in 1995 who was recognized by the Dalai Lama from exile as the real incarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. “Installing a boy of their own choice and the 11th Panchen Lama did not solve their purpose. Same thing is going to happen if they appoint a boy of their own choice and the next Dalai Lama. No people of Tibet, no people of the world would either recognize him or believe in him,” he said.

Talking about the qualities of the present Dalai Lama, 14th in the five centuries old tradition of Tibet, Prof. Rinpoche said, “Though His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a Tibetan leader but he never perceives future of Tibet as different from the rest of world, or even that of the people of China. In his Middle-Way approach to handle differences or confrontation, there is no concept of a winner or a loser. He believes sincerely that the present century should be the century of dialogue which is based on mutual understanding, universal responsibility, secular ethics and concern for environment.”

Mr. Vijay Kranti, Chairman CHASE and an acclaimed Tibetologist moderated the discussion. His co-organizer Mr. Gonpo Dhundup, International President of TYC presented vote of thanks and Prof. Aayushi Ketkar, a scholar of international relations at JNU, handled the question-answer session. Answering a question during that session Prof. Rinpoche said it is not necessary that the next incarnation of Dalai Lama must be a Tibetan child. He could be from any part of the world.

In response to another question Mr. Destro said that even a century is not a too long period in the history of a nation. Therefore the Tibetan people should work towards preserving their national identity and determination for a long period.



-Vijay Kranti and Anjali Mishra

New Delhi

27 November 2021: China’s desperation to dominate and exploit Tibet has gone too far as it has been carrying out multiple projects which have seriously impacted not only Tibetan plateau’s fragile ecology but has also severely exposed the whole of Asia to imminent environmental disaster. The Tibetan Plateau, living under forcible occupation of China since 1951, is world’s highest and most extensive alpine area which has come to be known as the ‘Third Pole’ for being the home to the largest bulk of fresh water snow and ice after the North and South poles. Experts, speaking at the webinar “CLIMATE CHANGES ON THE THIRD POLE – TIBET” were of the opinion that China must stop its on-going process of mindless exploitation of Tibetan rivers, minerals, jungles and other natural resources and the world must confront China to save the rest of Asia from imminent ecological collapse.

This webinar was jointly organized by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) from New Delhi in the light of the international summit on environment ‘COP-26’ which concluded recently in Glasgow. Two main experts who made their presentations were Dr. Martin Mills, the Director of the Scottish Centre for Himalayan Research at the University of Aberdeen in UK and Ms. Dechen Palmo who is an expert on Tibetan environment. Dr. Mills has been the coordinator of the three yearlong ‘Scottish Parliamentary Third Pole Climate Change Inquiry’ which concluded early this year and published its report under title “Climate Change on the Third Pole: Causes, Processes and Consequences”. Ms. Dechen is associated with the Tibet Policy Institute, a leading think tank on Tibet and China at Dharamshala in India. She was a member of the team which presented the case of Tibetan environment at COP-26. The webinar was moderated by Vijay Kranti, a senior journalist, Tibetologist and Chairman of CHASE. The webinar was an effort to understand the extent of the damage that has happened in Tibet and what more can happen in near future.

Dr. Mills pointed out that although man made situations have impacted the ecology of entire world, but China’s actions in Tibet and exploitation of its natural resources have taken very serious dimensions. Tibet has become a climate change hotspot, with a warming pace double of that of the rest of world. Tibet being the origin of Asia’s eight major rivers is responsible for feeding water to people of about a dozen countries. These waters directly impact the lives of 1.9 billion people and indirectly of nearly 4 billion which is half of world population, he said.

He said that in addition to its snow and rivers, a substantial part of Tibet is permafrost which has grasslands on the top but the lower layers of the land hold huge amounts of frozen water. With fast increase in the surface temperature in these parts of Tibet the underground ice is melting and has shown its consequences in the form of land sinking and massive landslides over past many years. This will finally result into dying of grasslands on the top and desertification of a big part of Tibet. Giving example of the Gormo-Lhasa railways, an expensive and a major show piece project of China in Tibet, Dr. Mills said that a good part of this railway line is built on the permafrost. Increasing temperatures in Tibet is soon going to result into serious damage to this railway line and this project might become infeasible in a few years,

Dr. Mills referred to already on-going damage to the environment in China, other countries of Asia and the rest of world which have impacted Tibet’s ecology. China itself is a major producer of greenhouse gases. But mindless and aggressive mining, deforestation and urbanization in Tibet are making it worse for this already fragile plateau, he added.

Ms Dechen Palmo pointed out that Tibet, with its area nearly equal to entire Western Europe, has serious consequences for entire Asia and, to a good extent to the whole world because of its fragile ecology. Hence it will be suicidal if the world governments leave China unchallenged over its reckless exploitation of Tibet.  She called upon the international community to take the fast degradation of ecology in Tibet seriously because it has already started impacting the life of billions of citizens outside Tibet and China.

Referring to Tibet as the ‘Water Tower of Asia’ she pointed out that Tibet is home to more than 46,000 glaciers which keep releasing fresh water slowly across the year to about a dozen countries of Asia. But in its mindless attempt to grab most of this water for its own use, the Chinese government has constructed thousands of small and big dams on these rivers. As a result it is impacting the natural flow of water to all riparian countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos etc. Moreover, with the help of massive hydro power plants on these dams China is attempting to pump out and steal water of these rivers which actually belongs to the downstream riparian countries, she said.

Dechen referred to massive landslides of 2017 and 2018 in the Yarlung Tangpo (known as ‘Brahmaputra’ in India) and said that by building cascades of dams over many Tibetan rivers China is increasing danger to already fragile Himalayan mountains.

Vijay Kranti, referred to China’s strategy of using Tibetan rivers as a ‘water bomb’ against India. He gave examples of three events in 2000 and 2005 when China allowed water bodies, caused by landslides in the Tsangpo River in Tibet across border in Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, to accumulate to dangerous proportions. Then it exploded the banks on the Indian side at a time of its own choosing. The floods caused massive damage to roads, power system and infrastructure deep in these two states. Despite India’s repeated requests, China refused to share information on accumulating water and its release.

In her concluding remarks Prof. Aayushi Ketkar, an expert on international and defence matters at the Special Centre for National Security Studies at JNU, pointed out at the hypocrisy of Chinese President Xi Jinping. She said that on the one hand he claims to be serious about environment in Tibet, but on the other hand he did not have the courage to face questions of the world community and hence skipped attending the world summit at COP-26.

Mr Sonam Tsering, General Secretary of TYC presented vote of thanks as co-organizer of the webinar. TYC is the largest and most influential socio-political organization among the Tibetan Diaspora. It has functioned as the nursery of Tibet’s leadership since its inception.



World celebrates the journey of Dalai Lama from a theocratic monarch to a universally adored democratic leader

-Vijay Kranti and Anjali Mishra

New Delhi

10 December 2021: In a world where most rulers and powerful people are known more for taking away the rights of their people on one or the other pretext, H.H the Dalai Lama of Tibet has emerged as a unique leader who has presented the example of how the leaders can strengthen the people and themselves by giving up and sharing their own powers with the people they lead and govern. In an international webinar on subject “A DEMOCRAT DALAI LAMA”, held to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of Nobel Peace Prize to the Dalai Lama and the International Human Rights Day, the experts traced the evolution of the Dalai Lama from the theocratic ruler of Tibet to the most popular champion of democracy in present day world. By leading the Tibetan people through a genuine democratic system and presenting his idea of universal responsibility he has presented a good example to the dictatorial leaders and regimes of the world to communicate that sharing power and authority with their subjects is a bigger guarantee to their popularity and stability.

This webinar was jointly organized by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) from New Delhi. The three main experts who made their presentations on this subject are Mr Bhuchung K. Tsering, the Interim President of International Campaign for Tibet from Washington (DC) USA; Dr Uwe Meya, Board Member of GSTE a prominent Tibet support group in Switzerland and a Tibet explorer; and Ms Thinley Chukki a leading Tibetan legal practitioner who is a Harvard Law Graduate and former Special Appointee for Human Rights of Tibet Bureau Geneva. The webinar was moderated by Vijay Kranti, a senior journalist, Tibetologist and Chairman of CHASE.

Mr Bhuchung K. Tsering pointed out that deep understanding of the Buddhist concepts and his experience in dealing with the communist regime of China during the post-1950 period has helped H.H the Dalai Lama to understand the importance of democracy. His interaction with Indian leaders after his exile to India in 1959 and subsequent wide travels across the world and meetings with world leaders has strengthened his faith in the efficacy of democracy.  “His perception of democracy has a moral dimension to it as it is centred on universal principles. In a world where politicians are not looked upon with great enthusiasm, he advocates that if governed with transparency and universal values, people will have more trust in the leaders and their administration. Only then a healthy and better form of democracy can prevail”, he said.  “Dalai Lama has also laid down a need for a positive mental attitude for leaders in democratic governance. While no system of governance is perfect, according to Dalai Lama, democratic governance is still the closest one to human nature and human liking”, he added.

Commenting on China, especially their conduct in occupied Tibet, Bhuchung said that Chinese leaders claim their communist system as a ‘democratic’ one. But in fact what we see in China and its colonized countries like Tibet is their rule through extensive monitoring, censorship and various types of controls over the public. Instead of leading the society, they seek to manage the masses, he said.

Dr Uwe Meya has travelled extensively inside Tibet and was a first-hand witnessed to the 1988 uprising in Lhasa. He is closely associated with the Tibetan communities in Germany and Switzerland. He shared his experience of how the Dalai Lama’s democratic values have percolated deep into the exile Tibetan society and have strengthened it and its freedom struggle. He gave example of how Tibetans living in Switzerland have organized themselves into a well-knit democratic society which functions through many democratically elected local types of council. He regretted that the world today knows about Tibet either through travel agencies who present today’s Tibet as a ‘spiritual’ destination which it is no more under the Chinese communist rule. Or, the world learns about Tibet through the Chinese propaganda which is trying to paint the Tibetan freedom movement as just an attempt of Dalai Lama to reestablish the old feudal system in Tibet.

He told the audience that many organizations in Switzerland and other parts of Europe are actively engaged in educating people about the real situation in Tibet and local Tibetans are playing active role in the regional and national political systems of their host countries.

Ms Thinley Chukki is a third-generation Tibetan refugee and a leading legal figure among the Tibetan Diaspora. She joined the discussion by explaining that HH Dalai Lama not only established the foundation of democracy for Tibet and its people, but has also made a great contribution towards spreading these values to the rest of world. His message of non-violence, love, compassion and universal responsibility has won world attention and support. By giving up his own political powers to the Tibetan people he has presented the example of how a leader can strengthen the society by giving up one’s own powers and privileges.

Referring the Dalai Lama as a ‘monk statesman’ Vijay Kranti said that by handing over his own political powers to the elected representatives of Tibetan people he has given an infinite life span – beyond his personal life span – to the Tibetan people’s struggle for liberation of Tibet from Chinese colonial rule. With this remarkable democratic stroke he has out maneuverer the Chinese communist leaders, especially President Xi Jinping, who were hoping to solve their ‘Tibetan problem’ by appointing a puppet Dalai Lama in Tibet after the life span of pre-set Dalai Lama ends. Through this step the Dalai Lama has ensured that the Tibetan struggle and Tibetan spirit would survive till the day when communist system of China breaks down like it did in the erstwhile USSR and Tibet will regain its independence as did the 16 countries occupied by the communist regime of USSR.

Mr Prafulla Ketkar, a well-known expert on international affairs, editor of ‘Organiser’ news weekly, and a senior Indian journalist, said in his concluding remarks that the spirit of democracy in Tibet which binds the spiritual strength, people’s power and political stability through a decentralized approach is a great example for world community to learn from. Dalai Lama’s model of gaining strength and people’s respect through giving up power to the people is more valuable and useful for the dictatorial regimes, like one in China, to learn before it is too late for them, he added.

Mr Sonam Tsering, General Secretary of TYC and co-host of the webinar, presented a vote of thanks. TYC is the largest and most influential socio-political organization among the Tibetan Diaspora. It has functioned as the nursery of Tibet’s leadership for three generations since its inception.



International webinar on “Tibet Was Never a Part of China” to mark the 109th Anniversary of ‘Proclamation of Independence of Tibet’

-Vijay Kranti

New Delhi

12 February 2022: President Xi Jinping’s over enthusiasm in insisting that “Tibet has been always a part of China” and his aggressive expectation from the world community to accept China’s similar claims over Uyghur, Southern Mongolia and other occupied countries has exposed the guilt conscience of China over its colonial rule over these countries. Unchallenged control over the vast geographic areas and huge natural resources of these colonies has only emboldened and encouraged present day China to behave like a bully with the world community. Hence, it is in the interest of the world peace and world order that the international community join hands to support these colonized nations to regain their independence from China’s illegal rule. These common points emerged from an international webinar “Tibet Was Never a Part of China”, organized to mark the 109th anniversary of ‘Proclamation of Independence of Tibet’ by the 13th Dalai Lama of Tibet on 13th Feb 1913.


The webinar was jointly organized on the eve of the anniversary by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the most prominent socio-political organization of Tibetan Diaspora.

Referring to China’s aggressive claims over Tibet, Thubten Samphel, a prominent Tibetan Scholar and founder Executive Director of Tibet Policy Institute said, “Today when President Xi Jinping’s China makes claims that Tibet has been a part of China on the basis of the Mongol and Manchu influence over Tibet then he and his Communist Party of China should not forget two basic historic facts. One is that China itself was occupied and ruled by the Mongols and the Manchus as foreign occupiers of China. Therefore, as an occupied country itself China cannot make claims on other areas of influence of its own occupiers. The other fact is that at some stages in the history Tibet too was a powerful empire who had ruled over China and had pushed out the Chinese Emperors and occupied their capital which is currently called Xian, the host of on-going Winter Olympic Games today.”

Samphel pointed out that the Communist rulers of today’s China are trying to rewrite the history in order to justify their forced and colonial occupation of Tibet, Uyghurs, Southern Mongolia and Manchuria. Talking about the Mongol-China-Tibet relations in history, Samphel said that while the Mongols conquered Tibet, China and many other countries, they acted as the occupiers and rulers of China whereas their relations with Tibet and its rulers was of priest-patron type by giving examples of Kublai Khan’s devotion towards the 3rd Dalai Lama of Tibet. Samphel said, “President Xi should not forget that during the rule of Kublai Khan over China, he ran a massive genocide of the Hans in China. Then it was the Chinese King who begged the Dalai Lama of Tibet to use his influence over his disciple Mongol Emperor to show mercy on the Hans. It was only after Dalai Lama’s intervention that Kublai Khan agreed to stop the massacre of Hans.

Commenting on the British idea of China’s ‘suzerainty’ over Tibet, Samphel referred to Lord Curzon’s own admission about this being a ‘constitutional fiction’ which was manufactured by Britain to protect its own and China’s interests in Asia by keeping the Tsarist Russia out of Tibet.

Claude Arpi, a prominent French Tibetologist who has settled in India since many decades, presented a detailed analysis of the Tibetan issue in the light of India-China relations to assert that the colonial occupation of Tibet has hurt India’s national interest more than that of Tibet. “It is therefore in the interest of India to support Tibet to regain its independence from the Chinese colonial rule,” he said.

Referring to the proclamation of independence of Tibet on 13th February in 1913 by the 13th Dalai Lama, Arpi said that Tibet possessed every element like its own flag, currency, postal system, foreign relations and international treaties with countries which included British India, Nepal and Mongolia which proves its status as an independent nation.  It maintained this independent status till the day Chinese army marched into Lhasa in 1951.  He branded the ‘Panchsheel-Agreement of 1954 between India and China as the last nail in the coffin of India’s national interests vis-à-vis China. He said that by consistently shying away from taking a morally and politically correct stand on Tibet, India has wilfully surrendered all the advantages it had inherited in Tibet from the British Raj.  “Indian government has been doing this with the hope of buying peace with China. But giving in too much in the hope of peace is a sure recipe of inviting war. And this is exactly what India has achieved by adopting this approach towards China on issues related to Tibet,” he said.

Arpi referred to the common phrase “Don’t rock the boat,” used frequently by the Indian foreign policy makers about their policy towards China on Tibet. “Now that China’s presence in Tibet has become a serious threat to India’s own sovereignty and national security, India will have to finally gather the courage to rock the boat on the issue of Tibet,” he said.

Calling the Chinese claims over Tibet as ‘part of China’ during history as a ‘laughable fiction’ of President Xi Jinping and his CCP, Vijay Kranti, a renowned Tibetologist and Chairman of CHASE, said that China should not forget that the Chinese emperors took 2300 years to build the 21,196 km long ‘Great Wall of China’ around their country to protect themselves from foreign attacks. These attackers were none other than the Mongols, Manchus, Tibetans and Uyghurs etc. whom they are today claiming as ‘inseparable parts of China’.

Presenting well established and internationally known historic facts about China, Kranti said that before the present day China asserted its personality as the ‘Republic of China’ in 1912 no independent China existed for 296  years (1616-1912). It was ruled by the Manchus during this period that came from Manchuria. The Asian history shows that the Mongols and Manchus had occupied and ruled over the Song and Ming Chinese Empires for 784 years along with many other countries. China was just one of many countries like Mongolia, Tibet, and Korea, Uyghur, Russia, Afghanistan and most of Central Asian countries which were conquered by the Mongol Dynasty.

In her remarks Prof. Aayushi Ketkar of Jawaharlal Nehru University, an expert in international strategic affairs said, “It sounds hilarious when present rulers of China claim the Mongol Emperor Ghengiz Khan as the ‘Great Son of China’ and stake claims over Tibet, Uyghur and Southern Mongolia on the ground that they were part of the Mongol Empire in history. Going by President Xi Jinping’s logic today India can also claim Australia an ‘inseparable part of India’ or New Zealand can lay its sovereignty over India on the basis that all three were occupied and ruled by Great Britain at some stages of history.”

In his vote of thanks as the co-host of the webinar, Mr Gonpo Dhundup, the President of Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) said that China is in illegal occupation of Tibet for over seven decades now. “China’s illegal presence in Tibet has not only taken away the freedoms and independence of the people of Tibet but it has also created many security problems and threat to peace for most of other countries bordering Tibet. To justify this illegal presence of China in Tibet, the Chinese government and its propaganda machinery are engaged in creating a false narrative through a deliberately manufactured history to claim that Tibet has been always a part of China,” he said.

Expressing the resolve of the Tibetan people to regain Tibet’s independence, Mr. Gonpo said that TYC will continue its non-violent struggle to achieve its goal of an independent and free Tibet. “It is in the interest of all Asian countries, especially India, to support Tibet’s independence struggle. An independent Tibet, free from the Chinese presence in this part of Asia is a sure guarantee of peace and prosperity not only for entire South Asia and Asia but also for the world community,” he added.



Exploiting Beijing Winter Olympics by China for its political propaganda and misuse of the Olympic platform by the IOC President Thomas Bach have brought shame to the Olympic movement and hence calls for rebooting the rules and regulations of the Olympics and the IOC – say international experts

-Vijay Kranti

New Delhi

20 February 2022: The leaders of the Communist Party of China (CCP) and the bosses of International Olympic Committee (IOC) might have many reasons to feel happy and relieved over ‘successful’ conclusion of the Beijing Winter Olympics-2022. But the way the Chinese regime demonstrated its dictatorial control over conducting the entire event and the way IOC leadership, especially its President Thomas Bach, kowtowed before the CCP and allowed the spirit of Olympic movement to be high jacked by President Xi Jinping, has left the credibility of both severely dented and damaged. This was the common conclusion of experts in an international webinar, held on the eve of closing of Winter Olympics.

The webinar, entitled “Genocide Olympics”, was jointly organized by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE), New Delhi and the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), Dharamshala. Experts from Germany, Britain, Switzerland and India participated.

John Jones, the campaign policy and research manager with the British non-profit organization ‘Free Tibet’, has been engaged in detailed research on human rights situation in China since many years. Expressing shock over what he termed as ‘irresponsible’ role of IOC he said, “When 2008 Olympics were assigned to China, the Chinese Olympic Committee promised to promote human rights and abide by international laws in China. But despite well-known and blatant denial of human rights to the people of Tibet, Uyghurs, Southern Mongolia and Hong Kong, IOC played ignorant at the time of assigning Winter Olympics to Beijing in 2022. Rather the IOC has used its authority and credibility to white wash all Chinese crimes in these occupied countries.”

“While over a million Uyghurs in Xinjiang were going through Chinese atrocities in hundreds of Chinese concentration camps across East Turkistan, more than 150 Tibetans were forced to take the extreme step of self-immolation since Beijing Olympics of 2008. The resources and international acknowledgement won through the 2008 Beijing Olympics also encouraged President Xi to road roll and destroy the freedom of Hong Kong people” he added.

“It is unfortunate that everything was artificial in the Beijing Winter Olympics. Right from using the pretext of Covid-19 to restrict the movement of visiting sports persons, guest officials and international media to the artificially created snow to hold events at places in China which were not suitable for organizing winter games of Olympics levels — everything was artificial,” said Jones.

Tenzyn Zoechbauer, the Executive Director of Tibet Initiative Germany (TID) in Berlin, was of the opinion that the Beijing Winter Olympics-2022 was not a sports event but purely a political event which was exploited by the communist regime of China to enhance its on-going international public relations campaign to justify its colonial rule over colonies like Tibet, Uyghurs, Southern Mongolia and Hong Kong. “It is unfortunate that the IOC offered its sacred platform of sports to President Xi for his political games,” she remarked.

Referring to the long campaign of TID and other human rights organizations across the world against awarding Olympic Games to China she said, “We tried our best to persuade the IOC and world governments to stop China from high jacking a historic and a holy sports movement. But we could not fight China’s big money power and its capacities to manipulate concerned authorities through its economic influence and deep pockets. Still, the human rights campaigners have not lost the game. Our campaign against China’s unfortunate practices of torture and suppression of its own people and its colonies will continue. End of Winter Olympics in Beijing is a new beginning for us,” she declared.

Loten Namling, a famous Tibetan musician and a Tibetan activist settled in Switzerland, said, “By misusing Tibetans, Uyghurs and even PLA soldiers as torch bearers in the opening ceremony, President Xi went against the spirit of the Olympics and misused the games as a launch pad of Chinese political propaganda. But the way the IOC, especially its President Thomas Bach went out of his way to allow the Chinese government to make political capital out of an international sports event, has brought shame to the Olympic movement and hence calls for rebooting the rules and regulations of the Olympics.” To express his protest against the personal conduct of Thomas Bach in allowing IOC to be high jacked by China, Loten had walked 110 km on snow skies from Bern to the IOC headquarters in Lausanne of Switzerland during week before the Winter Olympics started in Beijing.

“Unfortunately history has repeated itself this time too during the Winter Olympics in 2022. After Olympics were assigned to Hitler’s Germany in 1936, he used the accrued credibility and popularity to massacre over six million Jews and others whom he hated. Similarly, President Xi has used the money and credibility, generated through 2008 Beijing Olympics to crush the freedom and people of its colonies like Tibet, Uyghurs, Southern Mongolia and Hong Kong,” added Loten.

Vijay Kranti, Chairman CHASE and a keen observer of Tibet-China-India developments over past five decades, moderated the discussion. In his concluding remarks, he said that China’s dismal record of human rights and police violence since 2008 Olympics was visible to the world community. But despite full knowledge of all this, influential people in IOC decided to award the 2022 Winter Olympics to China.

He regretted that since 2008 Olympics, the resolve of China’s rulers and their capacity and effectiveness to destroy religion, language and traditional socio-cultural personality of Tibet, Uyghur and Southern Mongolia has been on increase. “Over these years China has used every available means to overwhelm these occupied countries through demographic colonialism, digital surveillance, land grabbing and exploitation of natural resources. The additional political credibility and financial resources generated by the just concluded Winter Olympics is bound to add to the arrogance and bullying tendencies of Chinese leaders, especially of President Xi”, said Kranti.

Kranti specifically underlined the conduct of IOC President Thomas Bach as ‘immoral’ and ‘illegal’ when he took over the responsibility of negating and white washing the charges of molestation from a famous Chinese woman sports star Peng Shui against a very senior leader of CCP. “The way Bach used his official IOC position and resources of IOC to issue pro-China statements on behalf of Peng Shui and even organized a video call with her to influence the world media in favour of Chinese government was far more than being shameful,” he said.

Prof. Aayushi Ketkar, an expert on international affairs and security at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, remarked that it was unfortunate that most of world governments could not muster courage to challenge China on its said record of human rights against its own people and people of its occupied countries. “This does not speak well for an assured future of democracy and human rights in the world. It is high time for the governments to muster courage to face China’s bullying,” she said.

In his vote of thanks, Mr. Sonam Tsering, General Secretary of TYC and co-host of the event referred to Tibetan People’s Uprising against Chinese colonial rule during preparation days of 2008 Beijing Olympics. “There were more than 125 public demonstrations of Tibetan people inside Tibet at over 50 places. This helped the world in understanding the anger of Tibetan people against the Chinese rule. But this time we did not hear of any uprising in Tibet, Uyghur or Southern Mongolia before the 2022 Winter Olympics. The reason was China’s previous experience and its use of enormous police power, control over news movement of people and massive digital surveillance network in these occupied countries. But that cannot take away the determination of the colonized people. They will win their freedom from China one day very soon,” said Sonam.



-Vijay Kranti

8 March 2022: A webinar, titled “71 Years of China’s Colonial Rule in Tibet” was held on 8th March, to mark the 63rd anniversary of Tibetan people’s uprising against China in 1959. The webinar was jointly organized by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC). The main panellists included two internationally acclaimed scholars on China and a prominent Tibetan member of exile Parliament. It was moderated by Vijay Kranti, a senior journalist, Tibetologist and Chairman of CHASE. The main focus of the webinar was to highlight the colonial occupation of Tibet by China and the sad status of human rights inside Tibet.

First panellist Mr. Pierre-Antoine Donnet was a veteran French journalist and expert on China who has authored two books on China and Tibet. His first book was on Tibet titled “Tibet: Dead or Alive” (1990) and the latest book is “China the Great Predator” (2021). He has been posted in Beijing from 1984 to 1989 as a correspondent in the news bureau of Agence France-Presse (AFP). He studied Chinese language in Paris, Taiwan and Hong Kong back in the 1980’s. He also served as AFP’s global chief news editor.

The main thrust of Donne was that the western countries, especially the Unites States are now becoming more aware of the dangers from China and in near future, their stand towards China is expected to be stronger. Tracing the evolution of democracy in Taiwan from the early days of dictatorial rule of Chiang Kaishek, Donnet said that it has gradually evolved to a strong democracy. “Taiwan’s present President Ms. Tsi Ingwen has won international appreciation and support due to her strong faith in democracy and resolute stand against China,” he said. “In current international situation I believe that if China’s PLA ever decides to invade Taiwan then many countries including America, Japan, Australia and India are going to join hands in support of Taiwan,” he added.

Sharing his experience of his first visit to Tibet as an AFP correspondent in Beijing in 1985 he said that the Chinese authorities had warned him in advance that he was being taken to Tibet only on the condition that he would not write about what he sees inside Tibet. “But I was so moved by the stories of suffering by those Tibetan monks who had served in Chinese prison that I wrote all in my news report on my return to Beijing. Following this, the Chinese government banned my future visits to Tibet,” said Donnet.

Dr Chin Jin is a well-known personality among the democracy supporting community of Chinese Diaspora. Currently he lives in Sydney in Australia and is the Chairman of the “Federation of a Democratic China” which is a joint platform of some Chinese groups striving for democracy in China. Earlier he was the Secretary General of The Joint Working Committee for the Chinese Democratic Movement, which includes three traditional democratic organizations: the Chinese Alliance for Democracy (founded in 1983), the Federation for a Democratic China (founded in 1989) and the Alliance for a Democratic China (founded in 1993). He has written widely on Human Rights inside China and the political structure of China. His book ‘MY QUEST FOR DEMOCRACY IN CHINA’ was published in Taiwan in late 2012.

In his presentation Dr. Chin Jin said that he was shocked to see the indifference of western media about its reporting on China and Tibet. He pointed out that the recent self-immolation by a Tibetan musician was the 158 known cases in recent years but the western media and governments have adopted an indifferent attitude towards China’s acts in Tibet. Claiming that the desire for democracy inside China today is quite strong but the Chinese democratic movement inside and outside China lacks a charismatic leader like Dalai Lama. He regretted that western leaders’ attitude like the US President Joe Biden’s indifference towards Ukraine is going to make China more adamant and powerful. During the question-answer session, he asserted that “Now the only chance for the Chinese people to be relieved of the Chinese Communist Party is that this Party meets its end. It is only when CCP is demolished and loses power in China that countries like Tibet and Xinjiang etc. can hope of freedom and independence,” he said.

The Tibetan side was represented by Mrs. Youdon Aukatsang who is an elected 4th term Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile. Over more than 15 years, she has been associated with ‘Empowering the Vision Project’ as its Director and also the Secretary of the Trust. Her earlier associations included the Tibetan Women’s Association, Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy and Kredha.

Speaking about conditions inside Tibet she said that in seven decades of Chinese rule over Tibet no Tibetan was ever appointed as the Party Secretary of CCP in Tibet. “Absence of Tibetans in the decision making system of today’s Tibet only proves that Tibet is treated as a colony by the Chinese masters of Tibet,” she said. “Indiscriminate exploitation of Tibet’s mineral resources and water resources by China is not only hurting the ecology of Tibet but also of countries around Tibet,” she added.

Speaking about the Chinese government’s policy about reincarnations tradition of Tibet she said, “No one in the world, especially the Tibetan people, are going to accept China’s imposition of the next Dalai Lama. Even if they decide to appoint one, their candidate will face the same fate as met by their Panchen Lama whom Tibetan people have refused to accept despite all efforts of Chinese government.”

Vijay Kranti, Chairman of CHASE and moderator of the webinar pointed out to Beijing government’s assertion and bullying of the world to accept that Tibet has been always a part of China in history and that any comment on Tibet would be treated as interference in China’s internal affairs. Referring to historic facts he said, “Before the establishment of China as the ‘Republic of China’ in 1912, China remained a vassal of foreign Mongol and Manchu rulers for 784 years and the last time when it existed as a country was 268 years ago in 1644. China today claims that Tibet as a part of China because the Mongols had ruled over Tibet and China. This claim is as absurd as India today claiming that Australia is a part of India or New Zealand claiming that India is its parts simply because all there countries were colonies of the British.”

Commenting on world government’s tendency to accept Chinese claims over Tibet and Xinjiang, Kranti said that, “No international law permits any country to certify the occupation by any other country over a third country. So, if any government tends to accept Tibet as a ‘part of China’ or as an ‘internal’ matter of China then that government is behaving like an accomplice in China’s crime of colonialism.”




“We should hope the world will soon stand firmly against other aggressions and behind occupied countries like Tibet, which—like East Turkestan and Southern Mongolia—have been under Chinese colonial rule over the past many decades.” says Prof. Michael Van Walt

-Vijay Kranti

New Delhi

31 March 2022: “An interesting outcome of the events in Ukraine today is that it has produced an almost unanimous condemnation of aggression by a big country against its smaller neighbour. I hope it will help the world community to revive its memory about how a big nation like China used force to occupy the weaker neighbouring nations Tibet and imposed its own interpretation of history and law. The arguments being forwarded by President Putin of Russia and the manner in which Russian Army has invaded Ukraine have too many similarities to ignore how China occupied Tibet in 1950-1951”, says Prof. Michael Van Walt Van Praag, a renowned international law jurist who specializes in international conflict resolution.


Michael is currently a Senior Fellow at the Sompong Sucharitkul Center for Advanced International Legal Studies in San Francisco, has played important role in quite a few conflict situations like Chechnya and Abkhazia-Georgia dispute and has been a legal adviser to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and the Dalai Lama. He was joined the session from California at an international live webinar, based on his discussion with Vijay Kranti, a renowned Indian Tibetologist. The webinar organized jointly by the Centre for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) was focused on famous book “Tibet Brief 20/20”, jointly authored by Prof. Michael and Dr. Miek Botjes.

Answering to a question from Vijay Kranti, the host of the show and Chairman of CHASE, Michael said, “The aggressive conduct of China in many areas including the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, Indian Himalayas and the Central Asia has shaken the world community, especially the Western countries, out of their slumber. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has now made the world sit up and realize that it has been appeasing China and accepting, at least implicitly, false claims and narratives of present day People’s Republic of China (PRC) about the Asian history, including Tibet, East Turkestan and Southern Mongolia” he said. “We should hope that the world will soon stand firmly against other aggressions and behind occupied countries like Tibet, which—like East Turkestan and Southern Mongolia—have been under Chinese colonial rule over the past many decades. Crushing of human rights in these regions by the Chinese communist regime and exploitation of their natural resources violates international law and triggers obligations for the international community,” he added.

Pointing out a major mistake of the international community, Michael said that the diplomats, historians, academicians and the media have largely relied on the Chinese sources on the Asian history to make their opinions and decisions about many Asian countries. The worst example is buying the Chinese idea of ‘seamless inheritance’ of Tibet and Mongolia first by the ‘Republic of China’ in 1912 and then by the PRC in 1949. “The reality is that the real China was the Chinese provinces and some contiguous areas which were ruled by the Chinese ‘Song’ and ‘Ming’ dynasties. Not the empires of the Mongols and the Manchus that conquered them.”  It is absurd that today the Chinese communist rulers want the world to accept their narrative of ‘seamless inheritance’ to claim that since the Mongols occupied China and subjugated Tibet therefore Tibet is a part of China,” he said. “But it is heartening to see now that the world has started looking at Asia also from non-Chinese perspectives like that of Russian, Mongolian, Manchu and Tibetan historians to understand the real history of Asia,” he added.

Michael cautioned the world governments, diplomats, the academics and especially the international media to stop using certain terminology which the Chinese rulers have been trying to spread through a very systematic and refined propaganda. Giving examples he said that referring to the Tibetans, the Uyghur’s and the Mongols as ‘ethnic minorities’ of China is an acceptance of Chinese claims that they are an integral part of a wider Chinese population. But the reality is that all of them are distinct ‘peoples’ and belong to three different nations, namely Tibet, East Turkistan and Mongolia which were ‘occupied’ in recent history. In international law, an ‘ethnic minority’ in a country may have some rights but they cannot claim full self-determination rights.

Similarly, another great blunder being committed by the world governments and diplomatic community is referring to the Sino-Tibetan conflict as an ‘internal matter’ of China.  By doing so the world community is failing not only in its legally bound duty of opposing the illegal occupation by China but it is rather providing a semblance of legitimacy and acceptance of China’s forcible colonization of Tibet and other regions by China. “This is nothing short of playing as an accomplice of China in its act of aggression, invasion and occupation,” he added.

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