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7october20093Today was the 40th anniversary of the Tibetan Youth Congress and, to mark the event, a ceremony was held at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, Dharamsala. The Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Mrs Dolma Gyari, the Director of the Tibetan Welfare Office, Mr Tsering Phuntsok, and representatives from Tibetan NGOs attended the ceremony, together with around 400 local Tibetan people.

During the ceremony, Mrs Gyari presented katas (white scarves given as a mark of esteem) to the outgoing and newly elected executive members of Dharamsala regional TYC. She then made a speech praising TYC’s achievements and requested that it intensifies its efforts around the Tibetan issue.

“It is a fact that Tibet is oppressed by communist China,” she said, “Because of this, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, other great lamas and their fellow Tibetans have remained in exile for the past 50 years. This is a critical moment in Tibet’s plight. It is of utmost importance that NGOs like TYC focus more effort on the Tibetan issue.”

In her parliamentary role, Mrs Gyari has always avoided direct criticism of TYC’s pro-Tibetan independence stance, but she hinted today that the YTC should be less critical of the Tibetan Government-in-exile for its pursuit of regional autonomy. “Whether we are working for complete independence or regional autonomy,” she said, “we must identify our enemy and oppose it.”

7october20094Reading from the organisation’s anniversary statement, TYC President Mr.Tsewang Rigzin said that, at TYC’s 40th General Body Meeting, many new activities were planned. These include a Tibetan essay competition, Tibetan language classes for Tibetan communities in India, scholarships for Tibetan people with knowledge in specialist fields and a Dharamsala basketball tournament.

Mr Rigzin also said TYC will aim to strengthen the hearts of Tibetan people in their quest to restore independence, to disseminate information highlighting Tibet’s right to independence internationally, and to develop Tibetan social service projects.

Further, Mr Rigzin said TYC will continue to stage protests against the Chinese colonisation of Tibet, and stand against propaganda issued by followers of Dorje Shugden, a controversial 17th Century Buddhist figure, whom His Holiness the Dalai Lama censured in 1996.

He also announced TYC’s plans to promote awareness amongst the Tibetan community of the candidates for the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, including the next prime minister.

The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) was founded in 1970 and has more than 30,000 members worldwide, making it the largest non-government organisation of Tibetans in exile. Its members are united in the struggle to restore complete independence to Tibet. The organisation does not subscribe to any particular political or religious ideology and is sustained by membership fees, public donations and fund-raising events.

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