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Dalai Lama Retires…

There is a lot going on in the world.  A natural disaster in Japan. Ravages of war from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestinian territories, to now Libya. The world is still in a recession. There is global warming. And population is still set to reach 9 billion by 2045.

Still I think there is still time for some comic relief. Obama made his NCAA picks last week.  And the Dalai Lama recently announced (as brought up recently in the Open Thread) that he is retiring from politics.

Dalai Lama – retiring from politics?


But as I mentioned in the comments:

1. How can the DL retire from politics when he has always been just a “religious” figure?

2. Does “retiring” mean retiring Gaddafi style – i.e. he holds no “official” title is but an “international leader” – who has gazillions stashed and can hire mercenaries to do his bidding?

3. Some have asked, why does Chinese gov’t not allow “freedom of religion” to which I have always replied because DL does not abstain from politics. If DL really wants to move toward a true separation of church and state in Tibet – which is possible, though it will be a break from tradition – then he should announce not just a temporal retirement now that he is weak and feeble, but a permanent retirement from politics in all future reincarnations. Whether he means it, and whether anyone should believe him is one thing, but since he’s already at the political circus, why not be complete – taking a stance on principle for once? No?

According to the Dalai Lama, upon his retiring, he wants to institute a democratic system that allows the exiles Tibetans to choose their leaders democratically.

But why did it have to take 60 years for the DL to reach this stage? And why democracy when the Dalai Lama represents one of the most anti-democratic and repressive institution mankind has ever seen?

It’s hard to tell from the exiles themselves since many appear blind (some still claim they have always had a democratic government all along, 2010 being the 50th anniversary!).

As raventhorn2000 has noted already in the open comments:

It’s long an open secret within the Tibetan Exile community that only the “connected” people get to leave the Religious Utopian hell hole that they call Dharamsala in India, where there are very little job opportunities, poor health care, (high infant mortality even by Indian standards).

That means, relatives of high Lamas, connection through bribery, etc., can go to Europe, US, Australia, while the others remain poor and destitute in Dharamsala.

Perhaps with DL’s death, there will finally be an end to his cult of personality.

*Seriously, I feel for the Tibetan Exiles. They thought they were brain washed by Mao, but then they turn to DL. So much misdirected religious fervor and adulation for parasitic Monks.

It’s way past praying for miracles. If DL was that magical, the New Constitution should have been a reality 20 years ago.


DL is still the head of the Yellow Hat Sect, which can elect/appoint about 1/4 of representatives in the TGIE parliament, according to the Constitution of TGIE.

The New TGIE Constitution has not be drafted yet, according to DL. So I make no opinions on that, but I doubt it will change much. Religious Sects, mostly the 4 dominant Tibetan schools of Buddhism will make up majority of the “representatives”, making TGIE still very much a “theocracy” by definition.

Indeed. A democracy is not about elections per se.  That guanrantees only rule by mob. A democracy is also not just about the Constitution … or rule of law. The U.S. had all those 200 years ago, yet, for most of its history, it reserved suffrage only for white males with property and means,  legally sanctified slavery, and outlawed Chinese emigrant laborers building this country from ever becoming U.S. citizen

I do not know what the Dalai Lama has in mind now appealing to democracy. Maybe he is trying to get more softpower-based recognition in the West. But even if the exile government were to pull off implementing the most egalitarian and fair ethnic-based democratic government this UNIVERSE has ever witnessed, what does that really prove? How can some 100,000 refuge Tibetans decide the fate of some 5-6 million?

The strength of China has always been her proud, diverse multi-cultural and multi-ethnic heritage. I’m rooting for China to reach her utmost ideals – a world in which every citizen, regardless of ethnicity, is liberated from poverty and ignorance, where all individual are empowered to lead meaningful and purposeful lives as members of a peaceful and prosperous society. I hope China stay free from the type of ethnic and religious based politics that have plunged so many parts of the world into ethnic intolerance and religious fanaticism.

A limited democracy – whether limited to a particular gender, religious group, ethnicity – is fundamentally contrarian to the spirit of openness, tolerance and harmonious prosperity that China seeks for its future.


Highlighted Comments (by Allen):

  1. March 23rd, 2011 at 00:16 | #1

    Patrick French, former Director of London based Free Tibet Campaign (a Tibet separatist organization) said this in 2008 of the Dalai Lama:

    At the end of the 1980s, he joined forces with Hollywood and generated huge popular support for the Tibetan cause in America and Western Europe. This approach made some sense at the time. The Soviet Union was falling apart, and many people thought China might do the same. In practice, however, the campaign outraged the nationalist and xenophobic Chinese leadership.

    It has been clear since the mid-1990s that the popular internationalization of the Tibet issue has had no positive effect on the Beijing government. The leadership is not amenable to “moral pressure,” over the Olympics or anything else, particularly by the nations that invaded Iraq.

    The Dalai Lama should have closed down the Hollywood strategy a decade ago and focused on back-channel diplomacy with Beijing. He should have publicly renounced the claim to a so-called Greater Tibet, which demands territory that was never under the control of the Lhasa government. Sending his envoys to talk about talks with the Chinese while simultaneously encouraging the global pro-Tibet lobby has achieved nothing.

    When Beijing attacks the “Dalai clique,” it is referring to the various groups that make Chinese leaders lose face each time they visit a Western country. The International Campaign for Tibet, based in Washington, is now a more powerful and effective force on global opinion than the Dalai Lama’s outfit in northern India. The European and American pro-Tibet organizations are the tail that wags the dog of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

    Few weeks ago, the Dalai Lama’s nephew, Jigme K. Norbu was reported in the U.S. media having been killed in a car accident while walking on a 300-mile trek to promote “Tibet’s independence.” “Independence” was the word used by The Associated Press and other media.

    On one hand, you have a monk preaching “middle way” and getting his spotlight here and there. On the other hand, you have these Western NGO’s. And then you have people like Jigme Norbu and other exiles doing their thing.

    The thing that I do agree with Patrick French is that the Dalai Lama seems to be a bad politician. Maybe Buddhism is the wrong religion to be in for a monk politician. I thought believers of Buddhism is to seek nothing and attain happiness by letting go of earthly desires. Isn’t that diabolically opposite to wanting power which are what politics about?

  2. silentvoice
    March 23rd, 2011 at 01:12 | #2

    And the Dalai Lama recently announced (as brought up recently in the Open Thread) that he is retiring from politics.

    As Nelson would say,

    “HA HA!”

  3. TonyP4
    March 23rd, 2011 at 05:50 | #3

    DL is old and he needs a replacement. He could be the best salesman on earth. He did not make too much news these days. Here is what I wrote about Tibet a long while ago.


  4. March 23rd, 2011 at 05:53 | #4

    DL is a bad student of politics, who tried to make himself into another Mao.

    It used to be that some Western Journalists characterized Mao era China as a “Utopian Theme Park”, where the people paraded around as happiest, while political purges went around.

    DL’s “Free Tibet” in Dharamsala is a Western version of that. Western journalists and celebrities tour the place, capturing images of “free Tibetans” so free that they are moved to tears.

    But ignored are the poverty, the corruption of the TGIE, the mindless obedience to the Cult of DL, the persecution of Shugden sect followers.

    Yes, “Free Tibet” is a theme Park, and an English filled Theme Park, where one can actually see giant words in English painted on walls (the few that actually exist), “Long Live the Dalai Lama!” (I testify, I have seen these words on walls).

    Not accompanied by any words in Tibetan, just in English, because it is a theme park for Western tourists.

    And when the DL dies, the theme park will lose its main attraction.

    A secular “free Tibet” government? What’s the fun in that?

    (Maybe as a setting for a new Reality TV series, “Housewives of Free Tibet”? “Weakest Link in Reincarnation”? “Who’s the Next DL”? I think even Hollywood will find these rather cheesy.)

  5. silentvoice
    March 23rd, 2011 at 06:37 | #5

    Some random thoughts:

    1. People who call for Tibet’s independence are dreaming. The province is surrounded on three sides by China, and on the fourth by the Himalayas. If Beijing does not agree to that idea; Tibet will not survive even if independent today.

    2. yinyang said “maybe Buddhism is the wrong religion for DL”. Here in Singapore and Malaysia, nobody considers DL a Buddhist. He is a fake monk, a false prophet.

    3. Two scenarios may develop after DL dies: The western-led Tibet independence movement could lose steam, or a more violent movement could emerge (think Fatah vs Hamas). But time is on China’s side. The Chinese have a way of sinicizing foreign cultures. A lot of people who call themselves Han Chinese now are formerly different peoples with their own language and customs. Given time, maybe in one or two generations, things will start to look better. At the same time, south-western USA will become more hispanicized and Washington will have a “Tibet problem” of their own.

  6. March 23rd, 2011 at 06:52 | #6

    I do not believe a more violent movement will emerge from TGIE. For the fundamental reason that Tibetans need the religious element in their lives more than they need new political identities.

    And China can take hold of the remaining Buddhist movement in Tibet, (even in Free Tibet), because there will be no more strong leader of both religious and political influence left in TGIE.

    DL’s own decision to try to split the Religious from the Secular government in TGIE is a fatal one. He has essentially destroyed any possibility that another leader like himself can take over.

    A secular leader in TGIE, even if a strong one, will not command religious loyalty, and without religious loyalty, TGIE will fragment along sectarian lines, more violently than any thing they have seen before.

    Remember, Tibetan history is filled with long chapters of sectarian violences. DL’s and Chinese military forces were the only things that kept the peace between the various sects.

    *more than any thing else, the Exiles fear an internal sectarian war after DL’s death. But it will happen, I predict it.

    It will come first as some minor religious dispute, possibly involving the Karmapa and his rival candidate, (a current dispute is ongoing regarding whether the Karmapa is a Chinese spy), to which the secular TGIE politicians will try, but fail to, settle.

    Then dispute will resolve with possibly an uneasy truce, or the assasination/mysterious death of 1 side’s leader.

    Then the other sects will unofficially declare themselves “autonomous” in deciding their own sectarian disputes without the TGIE in the future.

    Then, there will be a general chaos with the sects accusing each other of destroying the TGIE movement and/or collaborating with the Chinese government.

    (Of course, China will undoubtedly try to pull the sects back to the fold, with incentives, such as amnesty).

    Eventually, the TGIE will shallow out into a shell of an existence.

  7. March 23rd, 2011 at 07:48 | #7


    Tibetans in Exile begin election. However, I believe the article is mistaken when it wrote the election is “for a new prime minister.”

    This is a serious error in the understanding of the TGIE Constitution, which specified that the Prime Minister is nominated by the DL directly, (which is essentially appointed), from the Kashag (executive body of ministers, who are all appointed by DL directly).

    In fact, the Kashag ministers are all EXECUTIVE ministers, not members of the National Assembly of TGIE (which is the elected body).

    *However, I should clarify that the National Assembly of TGIE has very little real power, being that it claims to represent and administer “different regions” of Tibet in Exile. All “laws” passed by the National Assembly must meet 2/3 of Quorum, AND be approved by the DL. There is no overriding of DL’s “veto”.

    The real power is in DL and the Kashag.

  8. March 23rd, 2011 at 07:53 | #8

    Correction, ministers are elected by the National Assembly by secret ballot, and the Prime minister is elected by the ministers by secret ballot.

  9. xian
    March 23rd, 2011 at 10:35 | #9

    This. Once the independence movement’s “old boys” die out, the assimilation will come full circle. Time is on China’s side.

  10. March 23rd, 2011 at 16:46 | #10

    @raventhorn2000 #6,

    You wrote:

    I do not believe a more violent movement will emerge from TGIE. For the fundamental reason that Tibetans need the religious element in their lives more than they need new political identities.

    I don’t know… Religion and violence – historically speaking – have been quite compatible. Think of the crusade, or colonialism (which was defined in large part as a religious mission to save the world).

    And as you have noted in the same comment:

    Remember, Tibetan history is filled with long chapters of sectarian violences. DL’s and Chinese military forces were the only things that kept the peace between the various sects.

    Of course, you also have the Japanese Buddhist in WWII blessing Japanese military aggression and civilian rules of engagement. In fact, that is one big factor for so many Koreans turning to Christianity – not that Christianity is about peace per se – because they really lost faith in Buddhism…

  11. tc
    March 23rd, 2011 at 17:12 | #11

    No comments on this political clown.

  12. r v
    March 23rd, 2011 at 18:15 | #12


    I have no doubt of future Tibetan sectarian violence.

    But that is not the same thing as a “more violent movement”. By that I mean, the Tibetans won’t get any more violent than they already have been. The same degree of occasional religious rage they direct, at either each other, or against Chinese.

  13. March 23rd, 2011 at 22:55 | #13

    You people are extremely ignorant about this subject. It’s as if you are having a contest to see who can fit the most factual inaccuracies into a small space. I guess as long as you continue to talk only to people who don’t know any better, no one will realise that you are making fools of yourselves.

    Allen, the Dalai Lama never claimed he was going to retire from politics in the sense of being an activist who talks about political topics. What’s in the news recently is that he suggested he resign from his office as head of the Tibetan government in exile. Who ever said he was just a religious figure? He has been the head of state of the government in exile ever since it went into exile. That’s never been a secret, and yet you seem surprised.

    then he should announce not just a temporal retirement now that he is weak and feeble, but a permanent retirement from politics in all future reincarnations.

    That is precisely what he has just suggested. I suppose you will become a big fan of the Dalai Lama now?

    But why did it have to take 60 years for the DL to reach this stage?

    They have been moving gradually and deliberately in this direction during that time. They have developed a much more democratic system than the PRC has, as you must already know. The September “democracy day” anniversary that you mock marks the beginning, not the end, of a process of democratisation, starting from the elections for the Tibetan Parliament in 1960. What was the PRC’s political system like in the 1960s?

    How can some 100,000 refuge Tibetans decide the fate of some 5-6 million

    No one ever said it should. The Dalai Lama’s “Guidelines for Future Tibet’s Polity” says that when Tibet becomes free, “the present Tibetan Government-in-Exile will be considered dissolved ipso facto,” to be replaced by an interim government which will immediately begin organising elections.

    I’m not really sure what your point is. 100,000 votes isn’t a lot, but it’s a hell of a lot more votes than Zhang Qingli or Padma Choling ever got.

    raventhorn2000, how can it be that you are unaware that there is an election going for kalön tripa? Look, the copies of the Tibetan exile charter that are available on the internet are out of date (yes, even on their own website). It was amended more than 10 years ago to allow for direct election of the kalön tripa by the exile public. This is the third elections they’ve had for that office so far. The other ministers are now nominated by the kalön tripa. You should do some additional reading on this subject.

    I have no idea where you got the idea that 1/4 of the Tibetan Parliament is appointed by the Gelug (so-called “Yellow Hat”) sect. There are currently 43 members of the Parliament, of which 2 represent the Gelugs. I’m not sure how the religious representatives are selected, but I’ve never heard that they were appointed directly by the leaders of the sect. I agree that it’s dumb that they have these religious representatives, but they are less than a quarter of the total membership.

  14. March 23rd, 2011 at 23:31 | #14

    @Otto Kerner #13,

    I am glad you admit DL is a political figure. A lot of people may seem surprised to find that out though. Hopefully this post will clarify. If you were already enlightened on this topic, good. Then you shouldn’t mind me restating the obvious.

    As for DL finally separating church and state – of course I’d be a fan. It’s not necessarily the best solution though as I actually think separation of church and state may actually destroy some essence of Tibetan culture – throwing the baby out with the bath water (throwing the good out with the bad).

    As for your tongue and cheek about PRC democracy, judging by accomplishments, not ideology, PRC is truly a government of the people for the people. Should I ask what the DL has brought to the people of Tibet or the exiles … besides the poverty, corruption, drug use, incestuous politics, etc., etc…

    As for the 100,000 vote – it was dug right out of this Time article.

    As for your detailed talk about democracy, there is form, and there is reality. I find this quote pertinent:

    At first the conflict seemed to follow a democratic pattern. A public debate over the right to political representation was followed by closed negotiations and a compromise between the antagonists.

    But the way the conflict was worked out it also confirmed a recognizable and recurrent pattern where public political conflicts in exile are silenced and its instigators brought back to order. The conflicts are driven underground and the disturbing incidents are erased from public memory. Political conflicts were often dealt with in a way that publically blamed and sometimes even disgraced those who caused them and violated the norm of unity

    You can couch anything in a democracy. But a theocracy is still a theocracy. A dictatorship is still a dictatorship. So it is with the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini or Hitler. (I’m not per se against either, just against DL’s snake oil selling)

    Yes: even the Devil May Quote Scripture to His Own Ends.

  15. hehe
    March 24th, 2011 at 02:18 | #15

    @Otto Kerner

    “I am just a simple Buddhist monk – no more, nor less.” — Dalai Lama

    “Very simle indeed.” — hehe

  16. March 24th, 2011 at 05:21 | #16

    “They have been moving gradually and deliberately in this direction during that time. They have developed a much more democratic system than the PRC has, as you must already know.”

    I don’t think you can actually say that with a straight face.

    Even those in the Exile Community knows that DL’s family members are holding all the most powerful ministry positions in the Exile government, AND taking the biggest cuts of all of the bribe money.

    Fortunately for PRC, Hu’s family and Wen’s family are not so “democratic” with their people, “as you must already know”.

  17. March 24th, 2011 at 06:03 | #17

    “As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power,” the Dalai Lama said in a speech Thursday to mark the 52nd anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the Chinese government in Llasa.

    It’s pointing and self-evident that DL has NOT been able to find such a leader since the 1960’s.

    So the question is why?

    If Tibetans were ready for “democracy” all this time, No suitable leader could be found?! That’s rather strange.

    Or is that DL just can’t give up his power?

    DL apparently still hasn’t find a suitable Tibetan leader to take the political rein, so what is all this talk of a “much more democratic system” in TGIE, when DL himself has NOT given up power, and he couldn’t find a “democratic leader” in 60 years??!! (Not even with an election system, apparently).

    And Talk about a single political party system, TGIE has but 1 core political party, the Tibetan Youth Congress, the Hamas of the Tibetan Exile community, which claims to follow DL, but advocates independence. (the TYC, BTW, has just reelected pretty much the same bunch of people in charge, rubber stamp style).

    If we are for “democracy”, then TYC is the representative voice of TGIE that represents the Separatist agenda, regardless what DL says, (since obviously DL is merely a simple monk).

  18. March 24th, 2011 at 07:30 | #18


    Also – if it takes 50 years to achieve “democracy” (however defined) for 100,000 (and they are still not there yet), I wonder – just to be fair – how many years CCP should be allowed to achieve “democracy” (again however defined) for 1.4 billion…

  19. March 24th, 2011 at 10:22 | #19

    LATEST version of TGIE Constitution I can find.


    Article 36 Legislative Power
    All legislative power and authority shall rest in the Tibetan Assembly, and such legislation shall “REQUIRE” the assent of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to become law.

    Article 37 Composition of the Tibetan Assembly
    The Tibetan Assembly shall consist of:
    (1) a) 10 members elected from each of the three regions of Tibet without discrimination of sex;
    b) 2 members elected from each religious denomination: Nyingma, Kagyud, Sakya, Geluk and Yungdrung Bon;
    c) 1 to 3 members directly nominated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama;
    d) 1 member elected by Tibetans residing in Canada and the United States of America;
    e) 2 members elected by Tibetans residing in European countries.
    According to clause (a) of this Article, there shall be at least 2 elected women members from each region to represent that region’s constituency.

    I should correct myself, in view of this version of the TGIE Constitution:

    44-46 total members of National Assembly, DL’s sect have 2 seats, DL can appoint directly 1-3 seats.

    But all laws REQUIRE DL’s approval. (I guess the National Assembly has no real powers after all).

    So, what is this “democracy”?

    At least in PRC, the Parliament doesn’t REQUIRE Hu’s “assent” to pass laws.

  20. March 24th, 2011 at 11:32 | #20

    @raventhorn2000 #19,

    Thanks for going to the trouble of doing all this.

    Meaning of DL’s approval? Rubber stamp democracy. Again nothing wrong with that. Just another of the DL’s saying one thing, knowing it will be misinterpreted by his loving adorers.

  21. March 24th, 2011 at 12:56 | #21

    I should put in a disclaimer:

    TGIE’s constitution has changed so many times, I can’t even keep them straight any more.

    Nor can I say for certain that the above version is the CURRENT one.

    But the gist of it is pretty consistently that DL has the final say in every thing, the National Assembly has very little power, and also UNWRITTEN rule is TYC (Tibetan Youth Congress) is the one party in charge.

    The TYC was behind the persecution of the Shugden sect, as well as any propagandizing of DL’s messages, (especially during the banning of Shugden sect, it was the TYC that sent out all the messages, making Tibetans sign Loyalty oaths).

    There is a role reversal, I have ever seen one. A political party spreading the spiritual messages of a God-King.

    Now, you would think that DL already has enough Monks to spread the messages of Religious Freedom Ban of Shugden sect!

    Not so, the TYC was the primary organization that lead the messaging of that little Religious love festivas.

  22. March 24th, 2011 at 15:51 | #22

    Here is a real example of how the Dalai Lama practices ‘democracy’:

  23. March 25th, 2011 at 05:56 | #23

    One aspect of TGIE’s “democracy” often overlooked by the Western devotees, is the mountains of “edicts” issued by DL himself.

    Exemplary is during the Shugden controversy that, the Shugden sect followers charged that the TGIE has persecuted Shugden followers through DL’s “edicts”, which essentially outlaw the Shugden practice in the Exile Community, including banning Shugden members from participating in political offices, denying them education and health benefits (what little there is), etc.

    UK’s Charity Commission, when investigated the charges, declared that DL’s “edicts” are technically not persecutions, because they are not politically “enforceable”, as being religious in nature, and not politically required to be followed like a law, even though virtually ALL of DL’s flocks, minus the Shugden, followed ALL of DL’s “edicts”.

    However, that political doublespeak exposes the glaring problem in TGIE, that a mere “edict” from DL is considered Law for all practical purposes, enforceable (to the point of stoning deaths in the Exile Community), and carries more weight than any “democratically” deliberated laws from supposedly elected officials.

    Maybe in UK, such “edicts” don’t mean much any more. But in TGIE, DL’s “edicts” are still words of God King.

    And that’s really what TGIE has, rule by DL’s “edicts” or decrees, and sometimes approval.

    What Shugden episode showed, was the TRUE government in charge in Tibetan Exile Community. The TGIE stood by, while DL made his “edict”, and the TYC carried it out, via intimidation, beatings, stonings, and loyalty oaths.

  24. March 25th, 2011 at 06:10 | #24

    TYC as a political party, even gives out an annual award for “Geyche Pawo” (Martyr).

  25. Common Tater
    March 28th, 2011 at 12:25 | #25

    I’m sure the DL, as with any other leader who is worshiped, is less than he appears.

    But I am equally sure, even more so, that about 99% of the shit that Chinese say about him is based on brainwashing, propaganda and strategic information management.

    So..he knew a Nazi when he was 9! How terrible!

    He’s not really democratic! Is that an insult in China?

    Back in the day, his country was backwards and repressive. Unlike China under Mao, which was a beacon of utopia for the entire planet!

    The only reason most Chinese hate him is that they are told to hate him! Shame on you Gammas for thinking as you are told, like good brainwashed bitches. Most Chinese can’t even Google the DL, yet they are so sure he is a bad guy.

  26. raventhorn2000
    March 28th, 2011 at 15:02 | #26

    Tater Tot,

    Chinese know enough of the truths of DL, which you just admitted to them. So what’s “brainwashing” about these facts?

    Are these facts bad for DL? You might not think so, that’s up to you. But some Westerners worship DL, and make movies about him. So what kind of truths are you living with?

    So who’s being “brainwashed” by Hollywood?! 🙂

  27. May 20th, 2011 at 19:02 | #27

    Door Open for Retired DL to Return…

    From xinhua

    BEIJING, May 19 (Xinhua) — Tibet’s top government official on Thursday said the door is open for the 14th Dalai Lama if he wants to return to China and the central government has not changed its stance on this issue.

    “It all depends on the Dalai Lama himself whether he returns or not. The door is wide open and he knows the central government’s stance for sure,” Padma Choling, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, said at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office in Beijing.

    Choling said the Dalai Lama has not done anything good for the Tibetans since he fled the country in 1959.

    “Whether he retires or not, the Dalai Lama is not allowed to sabotage the happy life of Tibetans.” Choling said. “I am the chairman of the regional government. I am in the position to safeguard the happy life of Tibetans.”

    From AFP

    BEIJING (AFP) – China’s top Tibetan official said Thursday “the door was open” for the return of the exiled Dalai Lama, but repeated its charge that the spiritual leader was a separatist bent on Tibetan independence.

    In China’s first high-level comment since the Dalai Lama retired in March as head of Tibet’s government-in-exile, Padma Choling said the spiritual figure was welcome to return to Tibet as long as he ended his separatist activities.

    “If he wants to come back, the door to China is always open,” Choling, Tibet’s highest-ranking official, told reporters.

    “If the Dalai Lama really does retire as he says he has, if he stops his separatist activities, stops disrupting the stability of Tibet and really concentrates on Buddhism, then this will be good for Tibet,” he said.

    “The key is if he really gives up Tibetan independence.”

    China has made similar statements before but Tibet-watchers believe Beijing will not allow his return due to its potential for causing political instability in tense Tibet.

    China has for years insisted the Dalai Lama wants to establish an independent Tibet, charges the 1989 Nobel laureate has long denied, saying he only seeks “meaningful” autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.

    Following his March retirement, Tibetan exiles elected Harvard academic Lobsang Sangay, 43, as their new prime minister and handing him the daunting task of assuming the political duties of the Dalai Lama, a global icon.

    Beijing has long been seen as playing a waiting game, believing that the Tibetan exiled movement will splinter and collapse after the eventual death of the 75-year-old Buddhist monk.

    Choling, who was speaking on the 60th anniversary of China’s “peaceful liberation of Tibet,” further accused the Dalai Lama of seeking to restore the Tibetan theocracy that existed for centuries before China’s 1951 takeover.

    “Since he went into exile in 1959, he has never done anything good for Tibet, everything he has done since he left is to struggle for the restoration of feudal serfdom,” he said.

    He further reiterated Beijing’s stance that the exiled Tibetan government was “an illegal organisation,” and said any future negotiations on the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet would be with the Buddhist leader and not the exiled government.

  28. May 21st, 2011 at 07:26 | #28

    I wrote the following, but nothing has been changed much.

  29. May 23rd, 2011 at 05:43 | #29

    The new “elected” head of the TGIE, Lobsang Sangay, made his fame in Harvard, writing a paper on whether it is possible to have “democracy” with Dalai Lama’s TGIE.

    Of course, you can guess his “prediction”, of somewhat cautionary optimism that sounds like academic work.

    And of course, his essay is highly cited by many many other NED “scholars”.

    I will say this again:

    The TGIE’s pretense of a unity under DL is a farce. One that’s even destroying the Tibetan Culture.

    For centuries, Tibet was diverse, with different sects and different traditions across multiple localities.

    This current TGIE’s enforcement of loyalty to DL tolerates no diversity at all. Thus, would not make “democracy” possible at all.

  30. May 23rd, 2011 at 11:00 | #30

    It would be interesting to see what the DL’s reaction is to Padma Choling’s comments.

  31. May 24th, 2011 at 11:54 | #31

    Well, yinyang, one response is that they want to repudiate the 17 point agreement.


    Which is fine with me. That agreement is too constraining in my opinion for development of Tibet. Development of Tibet should follow from the well deliberated policies of the CCP – guided by the Constitution of PRC – and nothing else.

  32. raventhorn2000
    May 24th, 2011 at 12:26 | #32

    TGIE has been trying to repudiate the 17 point agreement for 6 decades.

    They use that as the main argument that Tibet was “independent” (because 17 point agreement, supposedly as treaty, was invalid because it was signed under “duress”).

    But, as FOARP pointed out on Libya, “duress” is not an invalidity excuse any more under international law (too ancient apparently) 🙂

    And even assuming “duress” is a invalidity excuse, who ever said the 17 point agreement was a “treaty”? NOBODY except the TGIE.

    Pretty much every nation on earth pre-1949 recognized that China had at least “de jure sovereignty” over Tibet.

    Sovereigns do not have “treaties” with their recognized legal subjects. (There is no such thing. I don’t get to have a personal “treaty” with US or China, and a province does not have “treaty” with its mother country).

    The closest that the 17 point agreement comes to is like the “Compact” between US Federal Government and US State governments, which are more like “contracts”, but relationship between Federal and State governments by definition is hierarchical and somewhat coercise in nature. The US Federal Government can always threaten to withhold funding, or even impose federal law enforcement by force when necessary.

    I also agree with Allen that the 17 point agreement is pointless, but for 1 additional reason.

    In my opinion, the 17 point agreement was already violated by the Dalai Lama government when they used violence to attempt to rebel, with the aid of foreign powers.

    As result, the Chinese government had the right to declare the agreement null and void, and take over the administration of the local government in Tibet.

    (And I had already presented plenty of proof of DL’s government’s secret cooperation with US with the plan to “uprise” using violence. He had the foreknowledge and the plan.)

    TGIE wants to repudiate now? What a joke.

    Duh! They already violated the agreement in 1950, when they contacted the CIA in secret.

  33. May 24th, 2011 at 12:45 | #33

    @raventhorn2000 #32,


    I know part of the motivation for the repudiation is recognition. But as I noted here (http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2009/03/smurf-emancipation-day-50-years-of-harmonious-oppression/#comment-27689), that’s a nonstarter.

  34. raventhorn2000
    May 24th, 2011 at 13:03 | #34

    My old debate with a US trained Tibetan lawyer, on ABA China Law Committee listserver



  35. May 24th, 2011 at 13:17 | #35

    @raventhorn2000 #34,

    This is a really, really good discussion. I need more time and look to learning a lot from it. I’m also putting it on the recommended reading list.

    Is there a date for it? A context description?

  36. raventhorn2000
    May 24th, 2011 at 13:38 | #36

    I believe it was from back in 2008, just around Olympic.

    It was a particularly heated discussion on ABA listserver, started with some US attorneys asking questions about the protest crackdowns in Tibet, and then the Tibetan lawyer came in with the usual spiel cut from the TGIE posters, and I just had to respond (although with civility).

    I try to keep this document link around with me at all times, since, it’s difficult for me to find old citations.

    ABA members of the China Law committee thought the debate (mainly between me and the Tibetan lawyer) was good enough and civil enough to turn it into an archived newsletter.

    I thought it was pretty good, I got my point across, (meaning, I got the less known Tibetan historical facts out on paper).

  37. May 24th, 2011 at 14:11 | #37

    @raventhorn2000 #36,

    Do you mind republishing it as a post, linking to the newsletter as a reference? Given DL’s retirement, I think the discussion, though 2-3 years old, is still valid.

    If you don’t have time to field questions / comments, we can disable the comments for that post. Or we may allow comments, but you reply only to the really good comments (however you define them). Alternatively, if you really don’t want to draw too much attention at this time, we can just link the newsletter to our recommended readings list.

  38. May 24th, 2011 at 14:30 | #38

    I just got through reading it, and my favorite passage is this:

    Whatever its stage of democracy, China surely is a sovereign state, comprising a territory that without a doubt includes Tibet. Just as moral arguments won’t restore parts of the US to their former owners, moral arguments are not sufficient to create an independent Tibet. Rather, autonomy for the Tibetan people must come, if at all, from within the structures of the Chinese state, as the Dalai Lama himself recognizes. As foreign observers, our role can only be to support and encourage this process, not to dictate from an imaginary position of moral superiority. And we must realize that the Chinese government needs to manage much more than Tibetan autonomy. No large country on earth has changed as quickly as China has in the last generation. The economic, cultural and political changes that have resulted present the government with numerous difficult challenges, of which the Tibetan situation is but one among many.

    What the world over don’t want happen is what we are seeing time and again, unfortunately, in places now like Libya where NATO is purposely bombing the government to weaken it so the rebel group can gain enough power to mount a full-on civil war. This is fomenting misery and extending the conflict over the entire population for generations to come; tearing apart an otherwise lesser wound.

  39. May 24th, 2011 at 18:59 | #39

    I just put the full text up.

  40. May 24th, 2011 at 19:08 | #40

    BTW, YinYang,

    That passage was from me. Looking back, I almost couldn’t believe that I wrote that, but I think I realized back then that morality based rationalization is no substitute for subjective reasoning.

  41. May 25th, 2011 at 00:42 | #41


    I figured, and I also noticed your point on moral arguments. A really good friend tells me he can tell when I am emotional – my writing goes to hell. So, bravo for having articulated so well. I know it takes effort.

  42. raventhorn2000
    July 7th, 2011 at 19:02 | #42

    DL’s birthday visit in DC brings “bipartisan” unity from both US political parties, against China.

    But it is an empty unity.

    At the same time, the 2 parties FINALLY passed the Patent Reform, the American Invent Act.

    This, after only over YEARS of political wrangling, over literally almost nothing at all.

    Almost all the US patent professionals, in corporations, in law firms, in government, ALL pretty much agreed years ago, that the Patent Reform needed to happen, to bring US in compliance to the rest of the world.

    Yet, as recent as a week ago, Conservatives lobby groups, most with almost no connection to the patent profession, conducted massive letter and email campaigns to Capital Hill, making ridiculous assertions in much heated rhetorics.

    A friend of mine worked for a Republican Congressman, and said, he tallied more than 50 lobby groups who were FOR the patent reform law, but only a handful AGAINST, but the handful of against lobby groups wrote TWICE as many emails and letter!

    *What does this have to do with DL?

    Only that DL and Patent Reform are the 2 symbolic opposite sides of the Coin that is US Democracy.

    On 1 side, Patent Reform, relatively minor issue, no big change from before, took years of endless blown out of proportion debates by a bunch of people who know almost nothing about the issue.

    On the other side, DL, a symbol of obscure ideals, like “democracy” and “freedom”, that brings empty unity.

    I supposed the ONLY real issues that Democratic process can agree to is purely symbolic.

    REAL issues, even little issues like the Patent Reform, would just take forever to get through the non-sense.

    I pity for the SERIOUS issues in Democracy, like budget and trade deficit, health care, education, jobs, etc., because if a minor issue like the Patent Reform took them that long to reach a settlement (at least 4 years), then it’s hard to imagine how long it will take for the SERIOUS issues (if ever).

    But hey, let’s hope this “unity” behind DL would be inspiring, but I doubt it. Realists would doubt it.

  43. July 7th, 2011 at 21:34 | #43

    Hey DL – Happy, happy birthday!

    After almost half a century in exile, I’m glad you have brought unity to a foreign land, the U.S. Hopefully, the unity you brought will be enough to tie the parties to work through partisan bickering to control a military aggressor’s extravagant spending – part of which no doubt found its way to your coffers.

    Once you are done here in the U.S., I hope you will go back to India, your adopted home, and bring about much “unity” there too to enable a dysfunctional gov’t too divisive to provide for its people.

    By the way, when are you going to work on bringing “unity” to something that’s really worth your effort, you know, “unity” amongst all the clans in China?

  44. August 11th, 2011 at 21:12 | #44

    So – to prove the soundness of the questions I asked in the post, here is the latest from the Dalai Lama.


    I was a hypocrite: Dalai Lama

    PTI Aug 10, 2011, 10.39pm IST

    NEW DELHI: The Dalai Lama on Wednesday said he was a “hypocrite” all these years as he held spiritual and political responsibilities together in spite of knowing that these two matters should be separate.

    The Tibetan spiritual leader, who recently gave up his the political responsibility, said “now I feel I am committed to what I have been saying all these years.”

    “Religious and political institutions should be separate but while I was saying this, I combined the two myself until now… So in a way it was being a hypocrite,” he said in a lighter vein at a function at the National Commission for Minorities.

    Thanks for raventhorn2000 for pointing it out.

  45. raventhorn2000
    August 12th, 2011 at 08:55 | #45

    I still don’t buy his new found “non-hypocrisy”.

    If he’s now ONLY the spiritual leader, then nothing stops him from returning to Tibet in China, and just keep his mouth shut on political matters.

    But no, he’s still touring the world talking politics.

    Nope, he still acts like a political leader, his monks still do what he says, and they all still have sizeable portion of votes in the TGIE.

    So, he’s still a hypocrite, pretending he’s not anymore!

  46. August 12th, 2011 at 09:34 | #46

    @raventhorn2000 #45

    I still don’t buy his new found “non-hypocrisy”.

    So, he’s still a hypocrite, pretending he’s not anymore!

    Of course.

    Repentance by a life-long hypocrite can itself just be another hypocritical act in the long series of hypocrisies conducted by the hypocrite.

  47. August 12th, 2011 at 10:02 | #47

    Like an Alcoholic in recovery, he now admits he was one.

    Let’s see how long he lasts before he falls off the wagon.

  48. raventhorn
    December 9th, 2011 at 15:56 | #48

    India files criminal charges against Karmapa. (I have no doubt that the ‘retired’ DL gave his wink to India, to get rid of his religious rival).

    Oh, Karmapa, foolish foolish boy. Don’t you know that you are just a tool to those you call your own people?!


  49. December 9th, 2011 at 22:40 | #49

    @raventhorn #48

    I hear theories that the Karmapa did take money from China – but not the gov’t, but Buddhist devout living in China. For the Indian gov’t, DL and exiles, this is too close for comfort though. I mean – many people within China – even if they have sympathies for the DL – also have loyalties to China.

    This may be how the exile movement will unravel with the passing of the DL, with different factions pointing finger at each other, accusing each other of being a “traitor” at the least connection with China. But it is those with connections with China – who seek connections back to China – that will have the most influence with the people in China – have most to say about the future of Tibet.

    So – this is all good. I see a good self correcting mechanism already in action. All we need is time…

  50. zack
    December 10th, 2011 at 02:45 | #50

    once the dalai lama buys it, the lamaist buddhism will split; Chan buddhism is wholly Chinese practically and China pretty much champions the buddhist faith.

    no, what i think will be interesting is how Washington goes about attempting to foment more unrest without the lightning rod that is the dalai lama.

  51. raventhorn
    December 10th, 2011 at 07:16 | #51

    I wonder, if there is a slight possibility that Karmapa might seek Chinese embassy assistance, since he’s technically still a Chinese citizen. (More to that, since Karmapa is an office endorsed by the Chinese government, he might even be entitled to diplomatic immunity if he’s really desperate).

    boy, that would just take the cake, if it happens.


    Below some more on propaganda machines waging media war on Karmapa to convict him in a court of public opinion:


  52. Naqshbandiyya
    December 10th, 2011 at 08:13 | #52

    The Karmapa is not an ounce more warm towards China than the Dalai Lama, and is quite in lockstep with the DL’s rhetoric. See this statement from the Karmapa on November 9.

    “Since March this year 11 brave Tibetans have set themselves on fire while calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland. These desperate acts, carried out by people with pure motivation, are a cry against the injustice and repression under which they live…. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said, the Chinese leadership should face up to the real source of these tragic incidents…. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has stressed that the use of force is counter-productive; repressive measures can never bring about unity and stability. I agree with him that the Chinese leadership needs seriously to review its policies towards Tibetans and other minorities. I appeal to right-thinking, freedom-loving people throughout the world to join us in deploring the repression unleashed in the monasteries in Tibet, particularly in the Tibetan region of Sichuan. At the same time I appeal to the Chinese leaders to heed Tibetans’ legitimate demands and to enter into meaningful dialogue with them instead of brutally trying to achieve their silence.”

  53. raventhorn
    December 10th, 2011 at 11:05 | #53


    I wonder who is really Karmapa’s speech writer.

  54. December 10th, 2011 at 12:20 | #54

    @Naqshbandiyya #52

    Well … I don’t know if Karmapa is necessarily “in lockstep” with the DL.

    Let’s assume, as a hypothetical, that Karmapa is really a Chinese spy (as some in the exiles believe, and as this case is truly about), and that he is sent by the Chinese gov’t to infiltrate the exile community, what do you think he will say?

    “Oh I love the CCP, we should all love the CCP – let’s get on with it and leave the despicable hole that is Dharamsala and go home”?

    No, I’d expect him to say things that cater to the prevailing wind – to build cache. If he becomes a true leader, then after the DL passes away, he can then have the power to lead reconciliation. So I wouldn’t judge him by what he says superficially for now.

    Of course, the above could also be wishful thinking on my part. Let’s say the Karmapa truly is as anti-China as the DL – what his demise shows is that the exile community is not monolithic and is so fragile that suspicion can wreck havoc on their unity. The DL is the glue holding those suspicions between sects in check. Once he passes, China can play those fissuresPerhaps China doesn’t have to do much, just offer some general incentives to come back. Some will inevitably take it, leading to the movement ostricizing each other and ultimately fracturing.

  55. raventhorn
    December 19th, 2011 at 05:27 | #55

    Digging through my old collection of media clips, here are some old gems of quotes from the DL:

    Dalai Lama Quotes

    1st Quote:

    “….if the situation was such that there was only one learned Lama or genuine practitioner alive, a person whose death would cause the whole of Tibet to lose all hope of keeping its Buddhist way of life, then it is conceivable that in order to protect that one person it might be justified for one or ten enemies to be eliminated
    Source: December 1997 issue of US magazine “Mother Jones”

    (Recall I wrote about DL trying to Solidate his authority).

    2nd Quote

    “….whoever fights against the Shugden spirit is defending religious freedom. I am quite prepared to compare this to the Nazis in Germany. Whoever fights against them is defending human rights because the freedom of Nazis is no freedom”
    Source: Interview with Klemens Ludwig for “Esotera” magazine pg. 82, May 1998

    3rd Quote

    “Judging from their way of thinking and way of acting, yes, you can say: fanatic.” Referring to Shugden practitioners.
    Source: BBC 2 TV “Correspondent” broadcast May 9th 1998

    4th Quote

    “There will be no change in my stand. I will never revoke the ban. You are right. It will be like the Cultural Revolution. If those who do not accept the ban do not listen to my words, the situation will grow worse for them. You sit and watch. It will grow only worse for them.”
    Source: Talk at Trijang Labrang, India, Jan 6th 1999

    (I think FOARP should complain about DL more, since DL holds no exception to his invocation of Cultural Revolution, and rather shamelessly does so).

    5th Quote
    “Therefore, unless I remind you once again, there are those who pretend they have not heard it. It will be the last resort if we have to knock on your doors. It would be good if you can heed this without us having to resort to this last step.”
    Source: Talk in Dharamsala 1996

    (Last Resort? Or was that a mistranslation from “Final Solution”?)

    6th Quote
    “What contribution did Dorje Shugden do for the Gelugpas in 60 years – nothing! Creates more misunderstanding between different sects – nothing positive. Truly not necessary – therefore better wipe out”.
    Source: UK Press Conference London 1997

  56. Antioxidants
    January 8th, 2012 at 14:16 | #56
  57. Antioxidants
    January 14th, 2012 at 23:54 | #57

    The following link show two excellent evidence showing Tibet was part of China, Robert Hart’s Tibet letters and National Geographic magazine October 1912 edition.


  58. raventhorn
    January 17th, 2012 at 07:03 | #58

    Chaos and bribes at Buddhist Event hosted by DL in India. TGIE gets freaked out by “death threat” intelligence report.


    I personally don’t know why Tourists (especially from the West) complain so much about “filth”.

    I went to New Orleans, where many Americans say smells bad. I didn’t find it any worse than any other tourist spot. (Frankly, NYC subway was much worse).

    Why do some Tourists want to travel the world, and at the same time, expect every thing to be the same as their own living room?!

  59. ersim
    October 25th, 2013 at 16:59 | #59

    This past weekend, “His Holiness”, that is how the Dalai Lama is being called by the Gere Foundation and the Tibet Center, lol, was in NYC in the Beacon Theater giving a speech about, get this, the “virtues of non-violence”. “His Holiness” is not going to “retire” any time soon.

  60. Black Pheonix
    May 5th, 2015 at 13:04 | #60

    So, we just passed the 4 year after DL announced his retirement (and the new Constitution).

    4 years already! time flies! That’s like an entire presidential term in US!

    Time to take stock.

    Where is the “new constitution” promised with much fan fare, (4 years ago)?

    NOWHERE. It doesn’t EXIST!!!

    See the CTA (exile government) website: http://tibet.net/about-cta/constitution/

    It still has the 1991 version. That right, DL and the exiles are stuck in replay 1990’s mode. (That thought alone might give cringe to some people).

    It’s the 90’s all over again, YAY!

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