Statement of Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, Kalon Tripa of the 13th Kashag, on the Day of His Taking the Oath of Office, 15 August 2006
To my beloved fellow Tibetans in and outside Tibet and Tibet Supporters, recently, after I was elected by the Tibetans in exile, His Holiness the Dalai Lama formally appointed me the Kalon Tripa of the 13th Kashag. As such, on 15 August 2006 (twenty-second day of the sixth month of the Tibetan Fire-Dog Year), I assumed my responsibilities after having taken the oath of office and secrecy before His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank many of those knowledgeable Tibetan exiles who did not vote for me and those Tibetans who made their best efforts to persuade people not to cast their votes for me.
The main purpose of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s guidance that the political leadership of the Tibetan people should come about through a process of elections is to provide an opportunity for the young and progressive Tibetans to take up leadership roles in our community. Moreover, He feels that at this critical moment, it is very important and necessary for the young and effective Tibetans to come to the fore of leading the Tibetan people. This trend, once firmly established, will also send a clear message to the other side that the Tibetan political leadership does not depend upon a few individuals and that there exists a huge potential and choices for leaders among the broad masses of the Tibetan people. Unfortunately, I was elected again recently. This is not something that we should feel happy about and take pride in. However, I have accepted this because in a democracy, one should respect the peoples mandate.
During my first term as Kalon Tripa, long term interest of the Tibetan people were always kept in view and never cared for the immediate people’s reaction. Thereby, we took a number of unpopular decisions and implemented them. Thus, I didn’t have much fear to be re-elected. Even if I were re-elected, it would be with a very thin majority. However in the recent election, I happened to get a thumping majority, which is indeed surprising. This makes me feel that an extremely heavy responsibility has been placed on my shoulders and I am not sure as to whether I will be able to perform my duties in accordance with the aspirations of the general Tibetan populace. Due to these reasons, although I do not find it appropriate to thank all those who have voted for me, I am clearly aware of your love and confidence shown to me. Therefore, I pray to the Triple Gem that I may be able to discharge my responsibilities in accordance with your expectations and I will certainly make my best efforts to do this.
It is clear to me that the recent electoral mandate is not for an individual but is a show of support for me and my administrations steadfast commitment to the mutually beneficial Middle-Way policy and the programmes initiated by us during the past five years. Consequently, I am more determined and will courageously pursue these policies and programmes.
Whatever work my administration has been able to do during the past five years is visible to the general Tibetan populace. Guided by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, this work was undertaken with the approval of the Assembly of Tibetan Peoples Deputies and in keeping with the basic principles of truth, non-violence and genuine democracy. The administration work was also transparent. Therefore, I do not find it necessary, today, to make clarifications on many of the issues. The policies and programmes, which are being implemented thus far, will be continued. Moreover, we have no hesitation to amend the earlier policies or formulate new ones, if the situation arises, in tune with the advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and according to the guidance of the general Tibetan populace and the Assembly of Tibetan Peoples Deputies.
In order to resolve the issue of Tibet, which is the main objective of the Tibetan community in exile, we intend to make more efforts towards continuing the current Sino-Tibetan dialogue process, based on the mutually beneficial Middle-Way Approach. However, the leaders of the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region and some leaders of the United Front Work Department of the Peoples Republic of China have recently launched campaigns to unabashedly discredit His Holiness the Dalai Lama and have increased restrictions in Tibet. Due to these many disappointing developments, there is bound to be quite a number of Tibetans who are sceptical about the success of the current Sino-Tibetan dialogue process. But as far as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration are concerned, there is no change whatsoever in our determination to continue and improve the Sino-Tibetan contacts. We are also making necessary preparations to dispatch, at an appropriate time, the two Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for their sixth round of talks. For these reasons, the 13th Kashag will continue its efforts to create a conducive atmosphere, like before, for the realisation of Sino-Tibetan negotiations.
In addition to following up vigorously on our earlier initiatives to implement the Basic Education Policy and the welfare programmes of the Tibetan community in exile, we intend to conduct prayer ceremonies during the obstacle years of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and in particular, for the enhancement of the Tibetan peoples collective merits. I have firm faith that the Tibetans in and outside Tibet will continue to lend us full co-operation and support towards these efforts.
With unwavering faith and devotion to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetans in Tibet have been upholding the major and minor causes of the Tibetan nationality despite imminent threats to their lives, which is indeed the main source of inner strength and encouragement for the Tibetans in exile. I, therefore, take this opportunity to express my affectionate greetings and Tashi Deleg to all of you.
Many Tibetans in Tibet have demonstrated their solidarity and oneness with the Tibetan community in exile in several ways. Among other things, they have taken the initiative to send their Chatrel (voluntary tax) to us, which is indeed laudable and praiseworthy. However, I would like to strongly urge all of you to refrain, for the time being, from doing any such things, which will endanger your personal safety. To make offerings to the religious and political cause of the Tibetan people is no different from sending us Chatrel (voluntary tax).
As everyone knows, since May this year, the Chinese government has been carrying out various campaigns in many areas of Tibet, including the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region, causing further harassment of and restrictions upon the Tibetan people. These include campaigns to discredit His Holiness the Dalai Lama, anti-splittist campaigns, and patriotic re-education campaigns. Under the circumstances, it is very important for the Tibetans in Tibet to adopt a wise approach to avoid getting into problems that will invite unnecessary imprisonment and torture. I do not see that for the time being, personal sacrifices, although born out of a pure heart, will be of huge benefit to our cause.
Since the struggle of the Tibetan people is based on truth and non-violence, there is no need for us to lose heart as all Tibetans believe that the truth will prevail some day.
It is very important for the Tibetan youths in Tibet to concentrate on their studies and take advantage of the every opportunity to broaden their educational horizon by not being selective in their subject. I would like to strongly urge all of them that every individual Tibetan should not lose their sense of Tibetanness; they should maintain their Tibetan spirit as strongly as before.
In October 2006, when the rest of my colleagues in the Kashag will have been administered their oath of office, we will once again make public our future political and administrative programmes.
I would also like to convey our warm greetings to Tibet supporters the world over and to those who cherish and respect the spiritual and cultural heritage of Tibet. I hope that, like before, you will continue to extend us your co-operation. As you all are aware, the issue of Tibet has reached a critical stage. I would like to request all of you to be very skilful and wise in your approach by giving particular importance to the long-term consequences.
Finally, I pray for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the spontaneous fulfilment of all his wishes for the benefit of sentient beings.
15 August 2006