Dharamshala: Sikyong Penpa Tsering of the Central Tibetan Administration addressed the Tibetan community in and around DC on 18 October 2023 as part of his ongoing official engagements in the United States to appraise the gathering about Kashag’s political and administrative undertakings thus far.
Sikyong highlighted the Finance Department’s ongoing green book issuance drive that aimed to facilitate Tibetans abroad to carry out their duty as Tibetans. He explained that the outreach program was planned to ease the process of issuing Green Book for the general populace while, at the same time, he mentioned the recent exemption on Chatrel payment that was offered under the unanimous resolution adopted during the 5th session of the 17th Tibetan Parliament in Exile. Furthermore, he pointed out that the correction of errors in the document is also simplified for convenience.
Likewise, Sikyong appraised the gathering about 16th Kashag’s vision paper- a guideline for key responsibilities of the Central Tibetan Administration viz resolution of Tibet-China conflict, looking after the welfare of diaspora Tibetan community and enhancing the productivity of the exile administration.
Speaking about the kashag’s political activities, the elected head of the exile Tibetan underscored its firm stand on achieving a resolution of the long-standing Tibet-China conflict through a policy of the Middle Way Approach, an official political stand, he said, not even the Sikyong can forfeit considering it was conceived by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and unanimously adopted in the Tibetan charter.
Sikyong further emphasised that the current Kashag relies on the facts about Tibet in the books of Professors Michael van Walt van Praag and Lau Han Shiang to seek international approval and support on Tibet’s past status and current struggle. Breaking down the strategy, he said the aim is to tell the People’s Republic of China that the truth about Tibet cannot be completely erased despite their recurring distortion of the facts. Secondly, with respect to the status quo of Tibet, Sikyong stressed the consistent efforts of the Kashag to have the international community and governments on board to accept the truth. Moreover, Sikyong criticised the hypocrisy of the international community and governments who parrot “Tibet is part of China” while supporting the need for Sino-Tibet dialogue as he contends it devalues the issue and loses the reason for the Chinese side to negotiate.
To the Tibetans in gathering, he urged them to study the evolution of the Tibetan freedom struggle to understand why the Middle Way Approach is opted as a suitable solution to debunk China’s narrative and prove Tibet’s independent status in the past, instead of dissenting and disputing amongst Tibetans over the policy. He implored the Tibetan youth to read more about Tibet’s political and historical facts for a deeper affinity with the Tibetan freedom struggle in the long run.
Given Xi Jinping’s current hardline policies in Tibet, Sikyong said he sees “no immediate prospects” in the resumption of Sino-Tibet dialogue. however, he mentioned there are back channels of communication between the two sides and stressed that only contacting Beijing is the path to resolution. The head of the Central Tibetan Administration meanwhile urged Tibetans to continue Tibet advocacy campaigns.