On the occasion of 46th anniversary of the birth of the Tibetan democratic system, founded on the harmonious blend of spiritual and political values, the Kashag of the Central Tibetan Administration extends its warm greetings and Tashi Deleg to the Tibetans in Tibet and in exile. The Kashag also extends its greetings to the governments and parliaments of the world, the governmental and non-governmental organisations, the Tibet Support Groups and the international community who have been consistently showing solidarity and support to us Tibetans.
Human beings are social animals; they depend on society and institutions. As such, political systems and government institutions are the principal means through which the aspirations and welfare of the general populace are fulfilled. As the system of assembly or primary gathering, which flourished in India many thousand years ago, has become one of the best form of political systems in this post-modern period, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has accordingly nursed this great desire to transform the Tibetan polity into a democratic one from the very early age in his life. This noble thought could not be translated into reality then, due to the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
Soon after his coming into exile however, His Holiness the Dalai Lama embarked on a major administrative reforms by introducing a democratic system of governance, thereby leading to the establishment of a popularly-elected Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies on 2 September 1960. This became possible due to the singular efforts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Therefore, today is also an occasion for all the Tibetans to express our deep sense of gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
During the past forty-six years, the Tibetan exile community has been able to overcome numerous internal and external obstacles and take to greater heights the process of democratisation. As a result, even while we are in exile, we have had the opportunity to practise a complete system of democratic governance based on the Charter for the Tibetans-in-exile.
In 1991, the 11th Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies acquired the role of the Constituent Assembly to lay down the Charter for the Tibetans-in-exile, which was promulgated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama after giving his assent to it. Since then, the fundamental laws and institutions of our democracy came to full flowering and became more stabilised. The three organs of administration — legislature, executive and judiciary — were instituted based on a fully-entrenched system of checks and balances and the separation of powers amongst them. Apart from this, there are three autonomous or constitutional bodies existing separately. Moreover, there are quite a number of Tibetan media in existence to promote the right to conscience and freedom of speech of the Tibetan populace. In short, we have already put in place a legal framework and the institutions required for a democracy. If the Tibetan populace in general, and in particular, the popularly-elected Tibetan deputies are now able to make a legitimate and proper use of this framework, there is not an iota of doubt that we will be able to create a peerless democratic society.
However, indispensable qualities of a democracy such as quality education, independent thinking, understanding and tolerance amongst different viewpoints and ideologies, acting rationally without giving in to ignorance, considering the “institution” more important than “individuals”, and accept the decision of the majority by the minority, are still lacking amongst the general Tibetan populace. Therefore, I would like to urge the Tibetans in general, and in particular, the younger generation who are equipped with both the traditional and modern education to heed this and work towards developing such a culture in our community.
I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to the Tibetan populace at the grass root level for having been able to uphold the political cause of Tibet despite their inaccessibility to the regular media and political forums. This is indeed a matter for all of us to take pride in. Moreover, I would like to urge all those who opine that the Tibetan exiles are not politically matured enough to practise a democratic system of governance not to underestimate the intelligence and political strength of the Tibetan people.
Finally, I pray for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the flourishing of his great service towards the humanity as a whole. May the truth of the issue of Tibet prevail soon! Jai Jagata!
2 September 2006
Note: This is an unofficial translation. If there are any differences, please consider the Tibetan version as authoritative, official and final.