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Lobsang Sangay Re-elected as Prime Minister by Tibetans in Exile

The Dalai Lama and his followers have been living in exile in Dharmsala since they fled Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule

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Lobsang Sangay, the incumbent prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, speaks to media after being re-elected for second term in office in Dharmsala, India, Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

Lobsang Sangay has been re-elected prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile in voting held last month, officials announced Wednesday, with Sangay saying the election shows that Tibetans in exile “are practicing democracy, whereas China is not.”

Tibetan election officials announced the result in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, the headquarters of the government-in-exile. Sangay, 47, defeated his only rival, Penpa Tsering, receiving about 58 percent of the 58,740 votes cast.

It was the second election since the Dalai Lama stepped down as head of the government-in-exile in 2011 to focus on his role as the Tibetans’ spiritual leader. Tibetans living in exile cast their votes in 40 countries.

China says Tibet has historically been part of its territory since the mid-13th century, and the Communist Party has governed the Himalayan region since 1951. But many Tibetans say that they were effectively independent for most of their history, and that the Chinese government wants to exploit their resource-rich region while crushing their cultural identity.

China doesn’t recognize the Tibetan government-in-exile, and hasn’t held any dialogue with the representatives of the Dalai Lama since 2010.

“This election sends a very clear and powerful message to the Chinese government and the country, China,” Sangay told reporters after the result was announced. “It is a clear statement that even exile Tibetans are practicing democracy, whereas China is not.”

Sangay said his government would continue to fight for basic freedoms and genuine autonomy for Tibetans living under Chinese rule in Tibet.

Last month, Sangay called for China to engage in dialogue on autonomy for his people’s homeland. Stressing that a dialogue with China would be his main initiative, he said he hoped that Chinese President Xi Jinping would look at the Tibetan issue and take the initiative to hold talks with Tibetan exiles.

On Wednesday, Sangay called the results of the election “the consolidation of democracy” and said an increased participation of Tibetans in the voting process reflected their maturity.

“By democratic standards, the exile Tibetan democracy is now a full-fledged, consolidated democracy,” he said.

The international community, he said, should look at his administration as a legitimate democratic identity. He said the exiled government “in many ways” reflected the aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet.

The Dalai Lama and his followers have been living in exile in Dharmsala since they fled Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.

Exiled Tibetan officials say at least 114 monks and laypeople have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule over their homeland in the past five years, with most of them dying. U.S. government-backed Radio Free Asia puts the number of self-immolations at 144 since 2009.

Beijing blames the Dalai Lama and others for inciting the immolations and says it has made vast investments to develop Tibet’s economy and improve quality of life. (VOA)

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Tibetan Communities, Like All Faith Communities, Should Be Able to Select, Educate and Venerate Their Religious Leaders Without Government Interference

Earlier this month at the 3rd Special General meeting in Dharamshala, Tibetans from far and wide underscored the right of the Dalai Lama

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Tibetan Communities
Tibetan Communities, Buddhists and all other faith communities should be able to select, educate and venerate their religious leader without government interference. Pixabay

By Vijyender Sharma

Dharamshala—- Hitting back at China for its “meritless” claim that the Dalai Lama’s succession must comply with Chinese laws and regulations, the United States  reiterated that Tibetan communities, like all faith communities, should be able to select, educate, & venerate their religious leaders without government interference.

Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of South and Central Asia, said in a tweeted “The Chinese Communist Party claim that Dalai Lama’s succession “must comply with Chinese laws and regulations” is meritless. Tibetan communities, like all faith communities, should be able to select, educate, & venerate their religious leaders without government interference. AGW”.

She also said Ambassador Sam Brownbacks’ meeting with  Dalai Lama in Dharamsala emphasised the enduring US support for the Tibetan people, and also appr

Tibetan
Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of South and Central Asia, said in a tweeted “The Chinese Communist Party claim that Dalai Lama’s succession “must comply with Chinese laws and regulations” is meritless. Tibetan communities, like all faith communities, should be able to select, educate, & venerate their religious leaders without government interference. AGW”.

Ambassador’s meeting with Dalai Lama in Dharamsala emphasizes enduring U.S. support for the Tibetan people. India has greatly supported Tibetan religious freedom, and the U.S. stands in deep admiration of India’s extraordinary generosity,” she tweeted.

The US Ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom, His Excellency Samuel D. Brownback was in Dharamshala last week at the special invitation of Central Tibetan Administration  President Dr Lobsang Sangay. The Ambassador’s presence here at the seat of Central Tibetan Administration gestured the strongest political support for the Tibetan people, particularly for Tibetan religious freedom. 

After more than hour-long meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay, he said the US stance on the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is in accord with the resolutions passed at the third Special General meeting of Tibetan people.

Tibetan
Ambassador Sam Brownbacks’ meeting with  Dalai Lama in Dharamsala emphasised the enduring US support for the Tibetan Communities.

“Earlier this month at the 3rd Special General meeting in Dharamshala, Tibetans from far and wide underscored the right of the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan leaders to identify and recognise a successor to His Holiness and rejected Chinese authorities to interfere in this process. Let me be clear! The United States shares that view,” said Ambassador Brownback while officiating the inauguration of the First International Conference on Tibetan Performing Arts at Dharamshala.

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“Tibetan Buddhists and all other faith communities should be able to select, educate and venerate their religious leader without government interference. the selection effects not just Tibetans but for the global Buddhist community. Decision regarding the selection of Tibetan Buddhist leaders rests with the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leaders and people of Tibet. Period!”