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

A tale of two Kelsang Gyaltsens source of confusion for China's reporters

March 30, 2010

By Dhundup Gyalpo
March 29, 2010 TibetNet

Errors of epic proportions, monumental botch ups, criminally
outrageous...one is simply at a loss for words when it comes to conveying in
adequate terms the shoddy research that has been part and parcel of China's
recent diatribe against His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It goes without saying
that the world is already quite immune to the lack of accuracy or fairness
in China's media reports. However, some spectacular inaccuracies in their
recent reports, even in such elementary facts as to the who's who in the
exile Tibetan administration, has forced me to write this piece, just for
the purpose of placing it on record.

Kalsang Gyaltsen, Member of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile

Take for instance, the article titled "Misjudgments by the wise Dalai Lama"
published earlier this month by the People's Daily. The article claimed that
out of over 800 articles that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said to have
been written by Chinese writers in support of Tibet, none were published
within China. It also disputed the idea that an increasing number of Chinese
scholars and intellectuals are supporting the Tibetan case for greater
freedom.

The article then made a dramatic claim of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's
statement that "300 [of 800] articles were published in China itself" being
contradicted by "his private representative Kelsang Gyaltsen" or Envoy
Kelsang Gyaltsen. The article claimed that in an interview to the VOA on 21
February, Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen has said that none of the aforesaid 800
articles were published within China.

Now, here's the catch. Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen had not given any interview to
the VOA. Then, who's this Kelsang Gyaltsen that was quoted by the People's
Daily as His Holiness's "private representative". After making few
inquiries, it became apparent that the Kelsang Gyaltsen who gave interview
to the VOA was not the envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It was in fact
the "chithue" [En: MP] Kelsang Gyaltsen, a member of the Tibetan
Parliament-in-Exile, who is well-versed in Chinese and also known as an
analyst/commentator on Tibet and China affairs.

So much for accusing His Holiness the Dalai Lama of misjudgments!

But that's not the end of it. This is not the only time the Chinese media
had botched up the two Kelsang Gyaltsens in such a disastrous manner. It
began from as early as in May 2008, when the two envoys visited China for
informal talks as the entire Tibetan plateau was being jolted by a historic
wave of unprecedented mass uprising.

Kelsang Gyaltsen, Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Some Chinese media at that time had mistakenly published the photo of MP
Kelsang Gyaltsen in place of Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen, reported the
Beijing-based famous Tibetan writer/blogger Woeser and various others.

When asked about this case of mistaken identity, MP Kelsang Gyaltsen laughs
it off, saying some of China's reporters are fond of mixing them up. He said
that they have at times gone even further by identifying him as "a member of
Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, who was earlier the envoy of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama."

"This might at times appear as a deliberate ruse, but the reality is quite
simple. These official media simply don't care a fig about getting their
facts straight. With them credibility has never been an issue."

Thus, to round this whole messy mixed up in a colloquial Indian expression:
it seems almost like commenting about Ramayana, without knowing who the Rama
was. But then, when it comes to China, it almost always does make mistakes;
it just never made the mistake of claiming that it had made one. But then,
who's listening?

PS According to official figures, there are at least 67 Kelsang Gyaltsens
currently living in exile.
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