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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

'Democracy with Tibetan Characteristics' - A Response!

September 19, 2010

By Tenzin Nyinjey
Phayul
September 18, 2010

Norbu Samphel's twisted democracy is indeed
'unique!' He advocates a sort of 'people's
democratic dictatorship,' wherein doubts and
criticisms have no place. His democracy with
'Tibetan characteristics' disapproves of any
Tibetan (young and old) asking questions and
disagreeing strongly with our leaders! In short,
to him democracy entails submission, conformity
and faith driven more by religion than reason!

Norbu Samphel's response to Jamyang Norbu's
article "Dangerous Liaison"
<http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?article=DANGEROUS+LIAISON+%28I%29+++by+Jamyang+Norbu&id=28107&t=1&c=4>
is but a deep-seated resentment against, and
strong rejection of, the spirit of independence
and enquiry young Tibetans display in their
lives. As can be seen from the conclusion of his
article, the main thesis is this: Tibetan Youth
Congress or for that matter any young Tibetan who
strongly feels for an independent Tibet should
renounce their aspiration and strive for a
solution within the 'framework of Chinese
constitution!' In plain words, according to him,
Rangzen seekers are the real troublemakers - the
ones who impede the blossoming of unity among
exile Tibetans. They are the ones who stand in
the way of a successful negotiation with the Chinese leadership!

I have listened to Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdhong
Rinpoche's speech that Jamyang Norbu referred to
in his article several times. There is no doubt
that Norbu Samphel failed to grasp the full import of the speech.

It appears that our respected PM is worried about
what he imagines to be the increasing
'radicalization and dogmatism' amongst some of
the young Rangzen activists. While such an
anxiety may be understandable - after all a
dogmatic pursuit of any goal is the surest means
of self-destruction - Rinpoche made a terrible
faux pas by asserting that these hardcore Rangzen
seekers are more dangerous than Chinese
communists or Shugden practitioners! Such a
comment from the holder of the highest political
office of exile government - and strongly
supported by Norbu Samphel -- has serious
implications and will further widen the already
existing gulf between Ume-lam and Rangzen protagonists.

After all, this comment is a classic case of
enemy designation! It could even potentially
threaten the lives of Rangzen seekers, for they
are more 'dangerous than the Chinese communists
and Shugden practitioners!' Who knows some of the
dogmatic and radical Middle Path activists are
already scouring the streets of Mcloed Ganj,
looking for these 'dangerous enemies!'

Indeed, one of the time tested tactics often
employed by political elites - politicians,
bureaucrats, establishment intellectuals,
journalists etc. - to control people in any given
society is to invoke the fear of the 'enemy' on
the other side of the fence! And this is exactly
what Norbu Samphel does in the beginning of his
article when he said "it is a dangerous piece of
writing for Tibetan Unity (no wonder his unity is
in upper case!) and a gift to Chinese leadership.
They could use it again against His Holiness."

By invoking the fear of the Chinese, who doesn't
need any excuses to undermine our struggle,
Samphel is thus gagging free thought and free
speech in our society. And that's what the
Chinese exactly wants - a backpedalling on Tibetan democracy!

Norbu Samphel is intrigued by what he calls as 'a
shift in the TYC's way of doing things in
relation to His Holiness', a clear demonstration
of his lack of knowledge (or perhaps amnesia)
about the history of our struggle in the last more than fifty years.

Let me set the record straight here. Mr. Norbu
Samphel, there has never been a 'shift in TYC's
way of doing things.' TYC then and still fights
for Tibetan independence, through purely
non-violent means. TYC doesn't agree with His
Holiness the Dalai Lama's Middle Way Approach of
seeking genuine autonomy. But that doesn't means
TYC or for that matter any young Tibetan who
believes in independence has lost faith in His
Holiness the Dalai Lama as our leader.

It's a simple exercise of democratic freedom, of
holding a different opinion, something that seems
to have no place in Norbu Samphel's 'democracy with Tibetan characteristics!'
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