Home Nepal government Himachal CM will be the main guest of the Dalai Lama’s birthday celebrations: Prez of the Tibetan government in exile

Himachal CM will be the main guest of the Dalai Lama’s birthday celebrations: Prez of the Tibetan government in exile


Penpa Tsering, the chairman of the Tibetan government-in-exile based in the Indian city of Dharamshala, has said Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will be the chief guest at the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama next week, which is July 6th. The development shows a growing commitment from Indian government settler officials. Notably, the last time Indian Prime Minister Modi spoke to the Dalai Lama and wished his birthday.

Speaking to WION’s diplomatic correspondent, Sidhant Sibal, Penpa Tsering, who is the Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration, said, “The Dalai Lama is well regarded by the international community. As Prime Minister Modi wished him on his birthday last year. of Himachal Pradesh this year as the chief guest for the anniversary of his saintliness.

China is known to be vexed by engagements with the Dalai Lama or members of Tibetan leaders in exile. Sikyong Tsering was in Washington a few days ago where he participated in the 8th World Convention of Parliamentarians on Tibet addressed by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

Interestingly, the US Congressional Executive Commission on China held a hearing on the Sino-Tibetan conflict and how to deal with Beijing’s narrative of Tibet’s history, particularly if it is a independent state.

Asked about the debate over the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and China’s demand to name the next highest spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, Sikyong Tsering said: “A communist government that does not believe in religion itself cannot be responsible for recognizing the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The reincarnation of His Holiness depends solely on the decision of His Holiness.”


WION: Can you tell us about your visit to Washington at the 8th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet from June 22-23, which saw the participation of Nancy Pelosi.

Penpa Tsering: The World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet took place first in 1994 in India, then in Lithuania, in 1997 in Washington, so we came back to Washington DC after 25 years. The 4th, 5th of these conventions took place in Scotland, in Rome, the 7th in Latvia and this is the 8th convention of parliamentarians on Tibet and 28 nations participated in a hybrid form. At the inauguration, President Nancy Pelosi was present and the President of the International Tibet Campaign, Richard Gere, was also present. President Pelosi has been very kind and supportive of the Tibet issue and is committed to the cause of Tibet. She has been very adamant in her fight against disinformation about Tibet and historical narrative about Tibet and expressed her support. Congressman Jim McGovern is also co-chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China. He, along with lecturer Pelosi, decided to hold a hearing on the historical status of Tibet to counter misinformation about the narrative about Tibet’s historical status as an independent state by experts. Chinese propaganda has been very strong and almost all countries recognize Tibet as part of the People’s Republic of China. This must be countered. The hearing took place in Congress for the first time, and they also plan to bring a bill to the House in the coming days.

WION: How important is this hearing on Tibet in the US Congress to you? It appears that the administration and Congress have been actively engaged on Tibetan issues.

Penpa Tsering: I would like to thank President Biden for appointing Uzra Zeya to the position of United States Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues just one year after taking office at the Under Secretary level. When I was in the United States in April-May, we met her, and then she also came to India and Nepal the following month. So the progress and interest of the United States government has been very strong and very consistent. Then the hearing on the hill, on historical accounts, described as obstacles to the resolution of the Sino-Tibetan conflict. Sadly, not many people read Tibetan history, and China said Tibet was part of China since the 7th century, and they couldn’t stand it, then they said Tibet was part of China since the 13th century, that couldn’t hold either, so in the 18th century, that also couldn’t hold. At one time they were saying that Tibet was part of China since ancient times, and now they are talking about Tibet being part of China from time immemorial. So if we don’t counter China’s narratives, you won’t get the middle approach. People do not realize that Tibet was an independent country and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, considering the reality in Tibet, decided to withdraw from independence to take a middle-of-the-road approach, seeking a negotiated and mutually beneficial lasting solution. for the Sino-Tibetan conflict. In this respect, the hearing is significant and it is recorded in the American Congress that Tibet was not part of China.

WION: How do you view the G7 statement mentioning Tibet and Xinjiang, calling on China to respect universal human rights and fundamental freedoms?

Penpa Tsering: Right now, because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, everyone’s focus is on Russia, but the United States, NATO and the G7 recognize the fact that China is competition long term and a challenge to the global democratic world order. In this sense, the G7 mentioning Tibet on basic human rights is significant and shows a shift in policies, focusing on the Sino-Tibetan conflict. I really thank the G7 for making a statement, not only on Tibet but also on the Uyghurs. I prefer to call it Uyghurs instead of Xinjiang because that is the name given by China, which engages in sinicization, including names. Now, if you go to the Tibetan map, it will be very difficult to read the Tibetan names, because everything is Sinicization. They call Tibet Xizang, which is not acceptable.

WION: The Chinese president went to Hong Kong. How do you see the visit?

Penpa Tsering: China has already gone against international law so what was agreed between the British and the Chinese after the takeover in 1997 China flouted all those agreements and then there have been developments in recent years. And now the guys from Hong Kong are scattered all over the world as refugees. President Xi hasn’t traveled outside of China for over 2 years, and people think he won’t travel overseas. So Hong Kong, now more or less under China, the visit can somehow be President Xi’s message to the world that Hong Kong is an integral part of China and they are trying to improve economic conditions but without freedom , it is very difficult to engage with China.

WION: The Dalai Lama’s birthday is approaching. Many festivities are planned. What are the Tibetan leaders and parliament planning, and do you see world leaders congratulating the Dalai Lama?

Penpa Tsering: It has always been there, his holiness, the Dalai Lama is well regarded by the international community and you remember PM Modi wishing him on his birthday last year. So, this year we have the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh as the main guest for his sainthood birthday. But we won’t be partying on a large scale because of the Covid. Of course, now his holiness is aging and now it is a concern since he is going to be 87 years old. We are happy that his holiness remains in very good health.

WION: Are you expecting congratulations from the Prime Minister of India and are you also expecting a meeting, His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting the Prime Minister?

Penpa Tsering: The meeting, I assume, will not take place until His Holiness descends on Delhi. Not on His Holiness’ birthday, because the PM doesn’t travel there, and His Holiness doesn’t come here. Following the trend of last year, I’m sure there will be many wishes from the international community, including India.

WION: There are concerns about who will be the next Dalai Lama, his reincarnation. China has its own point of view and it names the next Dalai Lama. What is the view of the Tibetan leaders on what China is saying?

Penpa Tsering: The reincarnation of His Holiness depends solely on the decision of His Holiness because he will be reincarnated. A communist government that does not believe in religion itself cannot be responsible for recognizing the reincarnation of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Even if they come up with another candidate, as a reincarnated Dalai Lama, it will not be accepted, not only by Tibetans but by the whole world community. The US government has already taken a stance on this in the form of an amendment to the Tibet Policy Act of 2002, now called the Tibet Policy and Support Act 2020, which I believe many countries will replicate. Regarding His Holiness, according to some predictions, His Holiness should live to be 113 years old, so it is too early to talk about his reincarnation. He will live long.