Dharamshala: The National Democratic Party of Tibet (NDPT) organized a public panel discussion at 5:15 pm (IST) on Thursday, August 9. The affair was held at the “Tibetan Day School” in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala, the heart of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in exile.
The NDPT said that they held the event to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Kalon Tripa (political leader) and his cabinet of ministers in office.
Former NDPT President and a member of the Tibetan Parliament, Karma Choephel was the Chief Guest for the evening. There were also other prominent personalities that attended and spoke at the occasion, including the Vice President of the Gu Chu Sum Movement of Tibet: Lukhar Sham and two former Presidents of the NDPT: Chime Yungdrung and Yangkho Gyal.
The event kicked off with all the attendees singing the Tibetan National Anthem, followed by a minute of silence for all the Tibetan heroes and heroines.
Soon after, the newly elected NDPT President, Gelek Jamyang, took to the stage.
He explained that the NDPT was responsible for publicizing the election of the Kalon Tripa and that they were proud that the candidate they endorsed, Dr Lobsang Sangay, became the political leader of Tibet.
“As many Tibetans have apprehensions about the Kalon Tripa coming from a younger generation, we found the need to have a talk that reflected and analyzed the past year's work of the Kashag.” Gelek Jamyang also added that “Another reason for this event was to show the Chinese authorities that the National Democratic Party of Tibet stands firmly behind the election winner.”
The Vice President of the Gu Chu Sum Movement of Tibet, Lukar Sham, spoke next about the times before and after Dr Sangay held complete political power.
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama handed over complete political power to the people of Tibet and it is very important that Tibetans retain this power against all odds. Understanding this, is necessary not only for the current Tibetan exile community, but also for future generations.” said Lukar Sham.
Referring to Tibetan Democracy, he emphasized that it did not exist to challenge the Chinese Government and is not a word that should be thrown about lightly in the Tibetan community. "In reality, all those that intend to take responsibility for the people should stay true to the principles of democracy. We cannot say that Tibet is a democratic nation by just using such words in the Tibetan Constitution. Its principles should actually be implemented and developed.”
Next to take the stage was former NDPT President, Chime Yungdrung, who spoke about the general people’s point of view on the Kalon Tripa’s term in office.
He also spoke about the great respect and support Tibetans in and outside Tibet have for the Kashag's work during this past year.
Finally the Chief Guest for the evening, Karma Choephel, discussed the Kalon Tripa’s term in office, his administration and foreign affair relations. He started with saying that he admired the activities of the new Kashag but then began to critique their work so far. "The Kalon Tripa has not got much administrative working time, due to visiting so many foreign countries, during his first year in office." he added.
Questioning his 'innovation' regarding "health, professional programs and Geshema degrees for Tibetan Buddhist nuns," Choephel said that he can not accept them as forms of innovation, while speaking about the Kalon Tripa's annual report on the 'Three guiding principles' to the Tibetan movement's survival and sustenance.
"The Health program was available during the previous administration, as well as, the Geshema degrees existed before," said Mr Choephel. "Those people [professionals] from western countries who are currently volunteering at the CTA, can not be recognised as professionals,' he further stated.
Mr Choephel also criticized that the dialogue between Tibet and China was at a halt and that two envoys of His Holiness have resigned recently. "Dr Sangay said that the Tibetan side was ready "anytime anywhere" to restart the dialogue with China. However, the cabinet has not yet appointed the new envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama."
The panel discussion ended with a half hour question and answer session, where the participants could ask the panelists their views on specific topics related to the Kalon tripa's annual report.