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Lobsang Sangay La's Response by Jamyang Norbu

October 20, 2010

Jamyang Norbu
Shadow Tibet
October 18, 2010

A week ago Lobsang Sangay la called me on the
telephone and expressed his objection to my piece
which in large part dealt with his candidacy.
Lobsang la told me that he did not remember
making any statement (at the Woodrow Wilson
conference) about wanting to be the Obama of
China. He told me that he had even called his
friend Dr. S.T, who had attended the conference
and asked him if he remembered, which he didn’t.
Lobsang la said the the proceeding of the
conference had been taped and that he would try
and obtain a copy, which I agreed would be great
and would settle the argument one way or the
other. Lobsang la and I had a long discussion and
I told him that I would immediately post any
rebuttal he had on my blog. I am grateful for his
quick response. We did not reach any agreement at
the end of our telephone discussion but I did
apologize to him, which I want to do again here
publicly, for not giving him advance notice of my
article. Lobsang la, I am sorry I should have
called you first and let you know about my piece.

I have published Lobsang la’s response exactly as
he sent it to me, title and all. I will post in a
couple of weeks an analysis of the rebuttals and
statements he made in his response.

RESPONSE BY DR. LOBSANG SANGAY TO JAMYANG NORBUS PIECE

It was good to read Jamyang Norbu las article on
the Upcoming Kalon Tripa Election and I look
forward to reading his commentary on the other
candidates. I appreciate his defense of Kalon
Tripa candidates honesty and experience against
criticism made by a panelist on VOA Kunleng TV. I
am also of the view that all the candidates are
dedicated and patriotic Tibetans who want to
serve the cause. Now let me address some of the issues raised by him about me.

I found Jamyang las analysis to be way off mark.
The statement I want to be Obama of China, was a
JOKE and not meant to be taken seriously. In
October 2008, at the time of the conference,
there was an excitement about the real
possibility that Obama from a marginalized group
might be elected as the President of America. In
contrast, it was impossible to imagine a Tibetan
becoming the President of PRC. Four other
attendees (Dr. Warren Smith, Dr. Sonam Topgyal,
Tashi Rabgey, and another American) recalled this
joking remark and said they had a good laugh. As
Jamyang la was not at the conference, I dont
blame him for the out-of-context interpretation.
However he should have fact-checked with other
attendees instead of relying on a panelist without sense of humor. (1)

Jamyang las interpretation of my views on the
Chinese constitution is alarmist to say the least
because it makes me sound as though I am a
believer in the Chinese constitution. On the
contrary, I have strongly criticized the Chinese
constitution and particularly the Regional
National Autonomy Law. (Please see article
published by Harvard South Asian journal
http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=14112&t=1
The criticism of the Chinese constitution was
acknowledged and quoted by Human Rights Watch
report on China and Tibet (2005) and also in an
article by Tenzing Sonam (Producer and director
of Sun Behind the Clouds).
http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=15119&t=1
Jamyang la bases his comments on his recollection
of our conversation during his time in Boston,
perhaps my paper, published in the Harvard Asia
Quarterly in the Summer of 1999, could refresh
his memory. http://www.asiaquarterly.com/content/view/34/40/

He also claims that I dismiss the debate about
Umey Lam and Rangzen which is untrue. My
objection is against extreme rhetoric on both
sides by Rangzen and Umey Lam supporters, which I
find unhealthy and divisive. I do believe that
any action has to be based on unity, planning and
discipline, three cardinal principles of
non-violent movement. For detail on this issue,
please go to: http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=23208

1. The panel consisted of Elliot Sperling from
Indiana University, Allen Carlson from Cornell
University and myself, and the moderator was Mark
Mohr, Director of the Asia Program of the Woodrow
Wilson International Center for Scholars.
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