Penpa Tsering was sworn in as Sikyong – the President of the Central Tibetan Administration (Tibetan Government in-Exile) at a ceremony in Dharmsala, the northern Indian town, at the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, Gangchen Kyishong to lead the Central Tibetan Administration on 27-May 2021.
Mr Tsering is the 5th directly elected Sikyong (earlier known as Kalon Tripa). He succeeds Dr Lobsang Sangay as the 3rd Sikyong to be elected since the complete devolution of political authority by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2011. Penpa Tsering was the former speaker of Tibet’s parliament-in-exile.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressed the event virtually and congratulated the new Sikyong (President) Penpa Tsering, while commending the outgoing Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay for his outstanding service during his two tenure over the last 10 years.
On March 31, 1959, The Dalai Lama, fleeing the Chinese suppression of a national uprising in Tibet, crossed the border into India. He was granted political asylum in India. He began a permanent exile in India, settling at Dharamsala in Punjab, where he established a democratically based shadow Tibetan government in Exhile.
Dwelling on his efforts to democratise the Tibetan polity in Tibet and later in exile, His Holiness said that the Tibetan democracy in exile is not a sham, but a genuine democracy comparable to all other world democracies.
As Tibetan Chief Justice Commissioner Sonam Norbu Dagpo administered the oath of office and secrecy to Sikyong (President) Penpa Tsering, more than 20 thousand people from across the world watched the event live online with great gusto.
In light of prevailing restrictions to curb the spread of Covid, the swearing-in ceremony was attended by only a select group of dignitaries: Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, new Sikyong Penpa Tsering, Chief Justice Commissioner Sonam Norbu Dagpo, Kashag Secretary Tsegyal Chukya Dranyi and Secretary Tashi Gyatso Shadrong of the Supreme Justice Commission.
Penpa Tsering, the new Sikyong said that reaching out to China to resolve the Sino-Tibet conflict will be his top priority. He said that his administration will reach out to the Chinese government to find a mutually beneficial, negotiated, non-violent solution to the Sino-Tibet conflict, and hoped that this in turn shall set a good example in resolving conflicts around the world. His complete inaugural address can be read here.
The ceremony completes a smooth transfer of power from the outgoing Sikyong to the new Sikyong Penpa Tsering and his administration.
Congratulations coming from Worldwide to Penpa Tsering who was Sworn in as the President of the Tibetan Government in-Exile
Leaders from across the world have congratulated the newly elected Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration, Mr Penpa Tsering.
From parliamentarians and to members of Tibet Support Group in the Swiss, Canada, UK, Baltic States, EU, Chile, Germany and Norway, and friends of Tibet around the world wrote to the newly elected leadership, expressing their warm wishes and renewed support to the CTA and the Tibetan cause.
Hon. Luciano Nobili, President of the Inter Parliamentary Group Italy-Tibet wrote, “The democratic organization that the Tibetans, under the leadership of the Dalai Lama, wanted to establish in exile is one of the main reasons for our support. A society, yours, which, despite the immense difficulty of a new life in another country, first of all wanted to think about the preservation of the most representative elements of its own culture, of its own ethical and spiritual values, of its own language, in a context of democratic management of public affairs”.
“The Italy-Tibet Inter Parliamentary Group, which now has 54 members of all the political parties represented in the parliament and which I am honored to chair, has already had the opportunity to organize various initiatives related to the Tibet issue within the Italian institutions, the last of which, on March 10th this year, had the presence by teleconference of your predecessor, Dr. Lobsang Sangay”.
MP Uldis Budriķis, Chairman of the Group for the Support of Tibet in the Parliament of Latvia Auche, MP Andrius Navickas, Chairman of the Provisional Group for Solidarity with Tibetans in the Lithuanian Parliament, MP Yoko Alender, Chairman of the Tibet Support Group in the Parliament of Estonia extended warm regards to Sikyong–Elect Penpa Tsering while expressing their solidarity to the non–violent struggle of Tibetans against Chinese occupation.
“We are sure that you will succeed to bring to your people the independence they aspire for. We, the Baltic States, will stand by you and you can always count on our support. We renew our heartily congratulations on your election and look forward to our cooperation for the well–being of the Tibetan people”, they wrote.
Members of Tibet Interest Group in the EU Parliament consisting of Mikuláš Peksa MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s Tibet Interest Group, Aušra Maldeikienė (MEP, EPP), Hannes Heide (MEP, S&D), Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó (MEP, NI), Antoni Comín i Oliveres (MEP, NI), Clara Ponsatí Obiols (MEP, NI), Ivan Štefanec (MEP, EPP), Patrick Breyer (MEP, Greens/EFA), and Michael Gahler (MEP, EPP) applauded the successful completion of the democratic election in Tibetan exile while congratulating the new Sikyong and members of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile.
“We would like to use this opportunity to invite you to Brussels – as soon as the situation allows it – in order to exchange with us about the situation in Tibet and ways in which the European Parliament could contribute to improving the human rights situation of the Tibetan people.
We look forward to working with you to support a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Tibet through a direct negotiation process between the CTA and the Chinese government in line with the Middle Way Approach”, they wrote.
Adding to the list of congratulatory letters to the new Sikyong, Mr. Ferenc Gelencsér, Deputy Mayor of Budávar (First District) of Budapest, Hungary offered its best wishes and conveyed the significance of Tibet cause to them.
“I would also like to praise the compassion and commitment of the people of Tibet who strive for a once again free and independent state for a nation to be self determined”.
“As a Hungarian national whose country has been under foreign rule for centuries, I do understand your people’s struggle. The challenges of our time reminds us all why democracy is a necessity of which we cannot give up on”, they wrote.
Similarly, on behalf of the members of All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet (APPGT) in the UK parliament, MP Tim Loughton Chairman of APPGT expressed their wishes to ‘building on the continuing friendships shared and supporting Tibet cause and meanwhile putting an end to the atrocities in Tibet. Read the congratulatory message here.
“Together with the APPGT officers and members, I look forward to working together with you and in continuing to press the UK government in its challenges to the Government of China for the freedom and rights of Tibet and its people”, writes MP Loughton and further adds that he awaits the visitation of the new Sikyong when the COVID–19 pandemic situation improves.
The APPGT members include MP Chris Law, Co–Chair, Lord Alton of Liverpool, MP Sir Peter Bottomley, MP Marion Fellows, MP Wera Hobhouse, MP Kerry McCarthy, and MP Navendu Mishra.
Member of Parliament for Arica and Parinacota, Republic of Chile, Hon. Vlado Mirosevic Vergudo, issued a congratulatory message to the Sikyong-Elect.
“Along with my very cordial greetings, I would like to send you my sincere congratulations on the electoral triumph that has made you the President of the Central Tibetan Administration and placed you at the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile.”
“You have spoken of resolving the Tibetan issue, looking after the well-being of the Tibetans in exile, and promoting all possible forms of dialogue with China, and that is why the people of Chile are united in expressing their very best wishes for your success as Sikyong, the term used by the Tibetan people,” the MP remarked.
Canadian MP Arif Virani, the chair of Parliamentary Friends of Tibet (PFT) wrote: “Tashi Delek and congratulations to Penpa Tsering la for being elected Sikyong (President) of the Central Tibetan Administration and thank you to outgoing Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay for your 10 years of service.”
“I look forward to welcoming Sikyong Penpa Tsering la to Ottawa and continue working with him and advocating for cultural, linguistic and religious freedoms for the Tibetan people.”
Vice-chair of the group, representing the Conservative Party of Canada, MP Garnett Genuis took to Twitter to congratulate both the Sikyong-Elect Tsering and outgoing Sikyong Dr Sangay, as he extolled the “commitment of the Tibetan people to democratic institution building”.
Michael Brand, Member of the German Bundestag wrote congratulating the new Sikyong that the democratic government such as the Tibetans in exile has set precedent to world governments especially the Chinese government in Beijing that rule of coercion and terror is not the right way of governance but that the rule by the people conquers.
“The friends of Tibet are all the more willing to continue to closely accompany and support the Tibetan people, their culture and their democratic leadership in the future”, he said while further noting how widely His Holiness inspired them to support the Tibetan government and strengthen their friendships.
“So I am pleased to work closely and trustingly together with the friends of Tibet in Germany and Europe as well as all over the world, also with the new Tibetan government, for the benefit of this exemplary, special people and to defend the cultural, political and humanitarian rights of the Tibetans”, he wrote.
It is with great pleasure that we extend to you, our warmest congratulations on your election as President of the Central Tibetan Administration.
We applaud and welcome the efforts undertaken by the Dalai Lama to set-up democratic institutions in exile, and command the Tibetan exile community for once again completing this democratic process.
Norwegian MPs Petter Eide (Socialist Left Party) Member of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and MP Ketil Kjenseth,(Liberal Party) Chair, Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment also issued a congratulatory message.
“It is with great pleasure that we extend to you, our warmest congratulations on your election as President of the Central Tibetan Administration. We applaud and welcome the efforts undertaken by the Dalai Lama to set-up democratic institutions in exile, and command the Tibetan exile community for once again completing this democratic process.”
Meanwhile, friends and supporters of Tibet in Latvia (Baltic States) expressed their wishes for the possible visit of the new Sikyong to their countries.
“There is a lot of work and we, friends of Tibet, brothers and sisters are and will be by your side with Tibet in thought, heart, and deeds”, they wrote while congratulating the new Sikyong Penpa Tsering.
Tibet MX, a prominent Tibet support group in Mexico in their congratulatory letter to Mr Tsering re-affirmed to commit to the cause of Tibetan people as guided by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the CTA.
“Tibet MX is and will continue to be the bridge between the legitimate Tibetan authorities and the people of Mexico. We wish you the best of luck and look forward to meeting you and your representatives as soon as situation allows.”
On 27 May, in their congratulatory message, Co-Presidents and Vice-President, the Swiss-Parliamentary Group for Tibet expressed their continued support and commitment to the Tibet issue.
“Whenever possible, we become active in parliament with initiatives on the human rights situation in Tibet, and we insist that the Swiss Government always advocates for the rights of the Tibetan people in its contacts with Chinese government representatives. In close contact with Tibetan NGOs and the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Geneva, we seek ways to bring Tibetan concerns into Swiss politics.”
To this end, they hoped to continue this “valuable cooperation” with the new CTA leadership in the future, and congratulated “newly elected parliamentary colleagues in the Tibetan Parliament in Exile a successful legislature and may history take a positive turn for Tibet.” The letters were issued by MP Nik Gugger Co-President, MP Fabian Molina, Co-President, MP Nicolas Walder Co-President and MP Maya Graf Vice-President.
Similarly, Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association extended their congratulations to the newly sworn-in Sikyong, Mr Penpa Tsering.
Thomas Büchli President of the STFA and Lhawang Ngorkhangsar Vice-President of the STFA wrote: “We wish you and the newly elected Chitues in the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile a successful legislature.”
“In various meetings with your predecessor Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, we received direct and valuable inputs from the government-in-exile in Dharamsala. We would like to continue this exchange with you. We are looking forward to your visit to Switzerland in the near future to maintain direct contact with you as Sikyong.”
Dr Martin Bursik, former Czech Deputy Prime Minister and former Environment Minister and current president of the Czechs Support Tibet wrote to congratulate the newly sworn in Sikyong of Central Tibetan Administration Mr Penpa Tsering.
“Please accept my heartfelt congratulations on your election to Sikyong, to the leadership of the Tibetan government-in-exile.” The former Deputy PM said the citizens of Czech Republic understand “the importance and significance of the democratically elected government-in-exile, which leads the country in a time of lack of freedom and prepares it for it for the transition to democracy.”
Conveying the overwhelming support of Czech friends of Tibet, Dr Bursik said he looked forward to working with the new Sikyong and his administration. “You can count on our support on your way to freedom and democracy.”
The Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet (AAPPT) on Wednesday pledged to continue supporting Tibetan Struggle during a meeting held at the parliament house with the newly arrived Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Central Tibetan Administration Mr Karma Singey.
Co-hosted by Co-chair of AAPPT Warren Entsch, MP and Susan Templeman, MP, the meeting was attended by 11 Parliament members from different political parties.
The co-chair Warren Enstch introduced Mr Karma Singey to the parliamentary group and welcomed him as the new Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and CTA to Australia.
He called for the need to strengthen support for the Tibetan people’s struggle for their freedom.
Mr Karma Singey thanked the lawmakers for their support and welcomed their strong message to the world that Australia stands with Tibetan people’s struggle for freedom and democracy.
Mr Karma also briefly explained the Tibet Support and Policy Act 2020 and Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act passed by the US government and called on the parliament members to support passing a similar bill in the near future.
Though there is all round support for Tibetan people worldwide, no country has come forward to call for and support for Independent and Free country Tibet yet.
US Support for Tibet
Washington on one hand US under Joe Biden accepts Beijing’s language about a conquered country to keep relations smoothed over while on the other hand Biden administration has firm relationships with Tibetan leaders that were strengthened by the Trump administration. Trump administration robustly confronted unfair Chinese trade machinations, espionage, and academic freedom infringement. In November 2020, as part of then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s reorientation strategy, the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff published “The Elements of the China Challenge,” an extensive brief that explicitly noted Tibet as military-occupied land.
Until 2020, Lobsang Sangay, then-president of the Central Tibetan Administration—otherwise known as the Tibetan government in exile—had informal meetings with U.S. State Department officials in restaurants, cafes, and other anonymous locations due to the contentious nature of his status. After the Trump administration’s special coordinator for Tibetan issues was appointed after a delay, Sangay was formally invited to the State Department for the first time. This milestone came at the heels of passing the overwhelmingly bipartisan Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020, which Trump signed into law this past December.
It should be noted that under President Trump administration, a Bill to recognize Tibet as a “Separate and Independent Country” was Introduced in the US Congress. US House Representative Scott Perry from Pennsylvania introduced a bill (H.R. 6948) that would “authorize the President to recognize the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China as a separate, independent country, and for other purposes”.
Rep Scott Perry was among the 32 members of Congress who signed the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission’s bipartisan letter to the US Secretary of State in May 2019 urging the Trump Administration to promptly implement key legislations—Tibet Policy Act of 2002 and the 2018 Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act—passed by Congress to guide United States policy on Tibet.
The present status was that on 06/26/2020 the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation. President Trump and his administration was ready to declare Tibet a free and Independent Country. Had Trump got a second term, the world could have seen progress in that regards.
The Current Biden Administration has given conflicting signals. Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted her congratulations to Sikyong Penpa Tsering on winning the democratic election to lead the Central Tibetan Administration and wishes for the the fight for the survival of Tibetan religion, culture and language
Another Democrat Rep. Jim McGovern Chairman of House Committee on Rules, China Commission and Co-Chair of Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission also tweeted his Congratulations to Penpa Tsering on his swearing in as Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration. The Congressional-Executive Commission on China was created to monitor human rights & rule of law in China & submit an annual report to the President and Congress. The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission defends, promotes and advocates internationally recognized human rights norms in a nonpartisan manner.
However US administration under Joe Biden is silent on the bill that was referred to Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation, whether they will take it forward and will take a landmark decision to recognize Tibet as a Free and Independent country or not.
Points to Ponder
Will the middle path as mentioned by Penpa Tsering to find a mutually beneficial, negotiated, non-violent solution to the Sino-Tibet conflict work for Tibetans? Internatinal Community has already seen Chinese Communist CCP committing Genocide of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, Curbing the democratic protests in Hong Kong, Threatening to invade free and independent nation Taiwan.
Whatever the new Sikyong – the President of the Central Tibetan Administration (Tibetan Government in-Exile) plans, he needs to think whether China can be trusted on any of its promises like the ones it made to Hong Kongers?
What is the guarantee that Tibatens will not be persecuted like Uyghur Muslims in re-education or internment camps and are not forced to teach Communist version of Buddhism the way Chinese Communist CCP has re-written religious books of other religions to suit the Communist way of life in China?
For too long, the West accepted China’s claims at face value. Now it is the time to set the record straight.
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