WION – by Sidhant Sibal, 2 July 2022
Penpa Tsering, the President of the Tibetan government in exile who is based out of India’s Dharamshala city, has said that the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jai Ram Thakur, will be the chief guest at the birthday of his holiness Dalai Lama next week, which is on July 6. The development shows growing engagement by the siting functionaries of the Indian government. Notably, last time Indian PM Modi had spoken to Dalai Lama and wished on his birthday.
Speaking to WION’s Diplomatic Correspondent Sidhant Sibal, Penpa Tsering, who is the Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration, said, “Dalai Lama is well regarded by the international community. As PM Modi wished him on his birthday last year. we have the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh this year as our chief guest for his holiness’s birthday.”
China is known to get miffed over engagements with the Dalai Lama or members of the Tibetan leadership in exile. Sikyong Tsering was in Washington a few days ago where he participated in the 8th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet which was addressed by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
Interestingly, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China held a hearing on the Sino-Tibet conflict and how to deal with Beijing’s narrative on Tibetan history, particularly it being an independent state.
Asked about Dalai Lama’s reincarnation debate and China staking claim to appoint the next highest spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, Sikyong Tsering said, “A communist government that doesn’t believe in religion itself cannot be responsible for recognition of re-incarnation of his Holiness the Dalai Lama. His Holiness’ reincarnation is solely dependent on the decision of his Holiness.”
WION: Can you talk about your Washington visit to the 8th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet from 22nd to 23rd June, which saw the participation of Nancy Pelosi.
Penpa Tsering: The world Parliamentarians convention on Tibet took place first in 1994 in India, then in Lithuania, 1997 in Washington, so we came back to Washington DC after 25 years. 4th, 5th such conventions were held in Scotland, in Rome, 7th in Latvia and this is the 8th Parliamentarians convention on Tibet and 28 nations participated in this in hybrid form. At the inaugural, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was present and the President of the international campaign for Tibet, Richard Gere, was also present. Speaker Pelosi has been very kind and supportive of the Tibet issue and is committed to the cause of Tibet. She was very categorical in countering disinformation on Tibet, and historical narrative on Tibet and expressed strong support. Congressman Jim McGovern is also the co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He, along with speaker Pelosi, has decided to organise a hearing on the historical status of Tibet to counter misinformation on the narrative on the historical status of Tibet as an independent state by experts. China’s propaganda has been very strong and almost every country recognises Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China. That needs to be countered. The hearing was held in Congress for the first time, and they also plan to move a bill in the house in the coming days. Click here to read more.