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Musings after the Tibetan Elections of October 3, 2010

October 5, 2010

Bhuchung Tsering
Tibetreport's Blog
October 4, 2010

On October 3, 2010 the Tibetans in Diaspora took
another step in the direction of determining
their own political destiny through a worldwide
(outside of Tibet and China, of course) election
to select who should act on their behalf in this effort.

These elections will continue to become important
until there is a political solution as they touch
the very core of the issue, namely the legitimacy
of the rule. Unlike other movements, the Tibetan
movement enjoys that rare privilege of having a
unified leadership institution in the form of an
administrative structure formally known as the
Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). Tibetans
may have issues against some of its policies,
people may not like some of the personalities who
serve this administration but there is no one
Tibetan that denies its legitimacy. That has been
the Tibetan movement’s strength, something very
much perceived by those in the Chinese leadership
who are against any reconciliation on the issue of Tibet.

Over the years efforts have been made by the
Chinese authorities to undermine the CTA, create
discord between the Tibetan people and the CTA,
and make it irrelevant. In the process they have
attempted to pitch Tibetans against Tibetans,
whether it is favoring a select few disgruntled
“overseas Tibetans” with various incentives or
using writings of individuals like Jamyang Norbu
(excerpting those sections that help their case)
to present a very dismal and disunited picture of Tibetans in exile.

Similarly, the instability that has been the
highlight of the Nepalese Government has provided
the Chinese Government with willing officials
there who play into their hands to deny basic and
fundamental rights to Tibetan refugees in Nepal.
On October 3 we witnessed on such attempts when
local officials seized ballot boxes from the
Tibetan community in Nepal’s capital, who were
participating in this worldwide elections.

The above highlights the very unique environment
under which Tibetans in exile are experimenting
with democracy. The upcoming Tibetan leadership
will have to think of ways to overcome these challenges.

But there is a message for all Tibetans, too. We
must all do whatever possible to strengthen
Tibetan democracy by being active participants in
this process. Using our freedom of speech is very
much a part of this process as also is being
responsible for what we say and do. Similarly, we
should be able to walk the talk. In the next
several days we will get to know the voter
turnout for the primary elections held on October
3. I hope this will be one of the highest turnouts that we have had.
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