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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Statement of the outgoing Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche on the oath-taking ceremony of the new Kalon Tripa

August 10, 2011

With profound respect to Your Holiness, the democratic leadership
of the Tibetan people, your excellencies, the honorable guests and
the Tibetans in and outside Tibet. On the auspicious occasion of
oath-taking ceremony of the third Kalon Tripa democratically
elected by the Tibetan people, I happily and proudly offer my
heartfelt greetings and congratulate to you all.

Today is a very special day on which this special ceremony takes
place. This is a new chapter in Tibetan history in which a giant
step is taken towards a genuine democracy. Today is also a
beginning of a future where the Tibetan people will show courage
and put great efforts for their common goal. The democratic system
we practice here in exile is an example not only to people under
occupation but also to others around the world. This will also be a
valuable gift to the Tibetans inside Tibet when the time comes for
all of us to be reunited in Tibet.

From the second century BC to the middle of the twentieth century
for most of the time Tibet has been a sovereign independent
country. Despite its small population, Tibet has a long and rich
civilization with deep spiritual tradition and cultural heritage.
Tibet also became a recognizably powerful country in Asia.
Especially since the Great Fifth Dalai Lama established the Gaden
Phodrang Government in 1642, which has been the legitimate
government that ruled the whole of Tibet, the successive Dalai
Lamas became the temporal and spiritual head of the Tibetan people
to this day.

At a tender age of sixteen, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
took the political leadership of Tibet from regent Tagdrag
Rinpoche. It has been now sixty years since and this has become the
longest duration that a Dalai Lama has provided able leadership to
the Tibetan people. Despite the fact that this has been the hardest
and the most testing period in Tibetan history, His Holiness the
Dalai Lama’s charisma and the leadership has brought the Tibetan
issue to the forefront of the international stage.

Though His Holiness the Dalai Lama, since the very young age, had
the strong desire to introduce democratic system, the external
circumstances did not allow him to do so when he was in Tibet.
Immediately upon his arrival in exile, His Holiness the Dalai Lama
set up the democratic institutions and continued to educate the
Tibetan people about democracy and its culture. Irrespective of the
general public’s political maturity, His Holiness the Dalai Lama
initiated the adoption of Charter for the Tibetans-in-Exile and
introduced the processes to elect Sikyong or political leadership
directly by the people, which ultimately brought to a complete
democratic system for the exile Tibetan community. His Holiness the
Dalai Lama’s vision and unceasing guidance for the last thirty
years to build a democratic Tibetan polity, that is not dependent
on him, has finally achieved. This is a great moment for all of us.

Your Holiness, the Kashag would like to offer our gratitude from
the deepest bottoms of our hearts for your incomparable leadership
during the hardest time in our history. Your Holiness has provided
us the longest leadership and that your temporal and spiritual
achievements far exceed the combined deeds of all the thirteen
previous Dalai Lamas. Particularly, we will never be able to repay
your kindness for introducing the democratic system, devolving your
power to the elected Tibetan leadership and handing over the
legitimate Tibetan government founded 369 years ago by the Great
Fifth Dalai Lama to the democratically elected leaders.

We are deeply indebted to Your Holiness for your consistent and
immensely compassionate guidance during the tenure of the 12th and
13th Kashag. We would like to pay our sincerest gratitude and at
the same time ask your forgiveness for our inability to fulfill all
your wishes.

Your Holiness, you are the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and the undisputed
leader of the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet, and as a result
Your Holiness has the full moral, political and legitimate
authority to devolve all your powers and responsibilities. The
devolution of your power and the transfer of your responsibilities
were carried out according to appropriate legislative procedures,
and there is no space for doubts and questions about the timeliness
of the transition and the legitimacy or legality of the Central
Tibetan Administration. The Kashag would like to emphasize here
that a few people who raise doubts and scorn at Your Holiness’
visionary democratic steps to benefit the Tibetans should not be
taken seriously by anyone.

Today’s transition is from an older generation who lack modern
education to a new generation having excellent modern education.
This is not only a special occasion that the Tibetans should record
in its annals in golden letters but also a beginning of making a
new history for our common future. Therefore, my colleagues and I
would heartily like to congratulate Dr. Lobsang Sangay and offer
our prayers that under your able leadership the situation of the
Tibetan politics, administration and the community will move
forward to attain great progress.

There is no doubt that the issue of Tibet will be resolved sooner
or later if the policies and plans in tune with His Holiness the
Dalai Lama’s vision are followed. On the contrary, if other paths
are followed, then it is difficult to predict the future destiny of
Tibetan people.

Taking this opportunity, my colleagues and I would like to express
our heartfelt gratitude to all Tibetans in and outside Tibet for
their continued support during the tenure of the twelfth and
thirteenth Kashag. We would like to urge you to provide the same
support to the fourteenth Kashag as well. We regret for our
inability to fulfill all the aspirations of the general public.

Finally, I pray for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
and the spontaneous fulfillment of all his wishes. May the issue of
Tibet be resolved and the day of reunification of Tibetans in Tibet
and diaspora may come at the soonest. I now handover this 260-years-
old seal, which signifies the legitimacy of the Kashag. The Seventh
Dalai Lama bestowed this seal to the Kashag, when he re-established
Kashag in 1751.

Samdhong Rinpoche
Outgoing Kalon Tripa

8 August 2011, Dharamsala

Note: This is the English translation. Please consider the Tibetan version final and authoritative.

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