Tuesday, 4 March 2014

'UN has not done its job on Tibet'

With US President Barack Obama recently ignoring China's objections to meeting Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, the biggest organization of Tibetans living in exile wants the UN to step in and get the complex Tibet issue resolved.

Tenzing Jigme, the new president of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), which is the biggest Tibetan NGO in exile, has said that the UN needs to take a more proactive role on the Tibet issue.

"So far, the United Nations has not done its job, to be frank. While we welcome the meeting between President Obama and His Holiness, it is the United Nations that has to take a more active role in this. Because, it is their responsibility to see that the Tibetan issue is resolved in a meaningful way," Jigme, who is presently travelling with a group of 55 Tibetan marchers from Dharamsala to New Delhi to mark the 55th anniversary of the March 10 Tibetan uprising, told IANS here.

While saying that the TYC welcomed the "kind of dialogue" between President Obama and the Dalai Lama, Jigme said: Now you have to bring China into the equation. Just by saying that you support is not going to resolve the (Tibet) problem. The problem is going to solve when you are going to sit at the table and bring (Chinese president) Xi Jingping, His Holiness and President Obama and you have a really meaningful dialogue."

The TYC, whose stand is for complete independence of Tibet from China, is in variance with the Dalai Lama's middle-way approach in which he wants genuine autonomy for Tibetans while the region remains with China.

"We respect the middle-way approach of His Holiness. But our ideology is for complete independence. It is in China's interest to resolve the Tibet issue when the Dalai Lama is still there. So far, the Chinese government has not shown any genuineness. How can we trust them," Jigme asked.

Admitting that there was some frustration in the ranks of Tibetans living in exile over the Tibetan struggle getting prolonged ever since the Dalai Lama fled from Lhasa in 1959 with thousands of Tibetans as China took control, the TYC president said that Tibetans were still hopeful and would continue their struggle.

"We are hopeful because of the change coming to China itself. The main thing is that democracy coming to China. When that happens, the Tibet issue will be resolved. Till then, we cannot give up the struggle. The road to freedom is never easy and the struggle for independence should never be given up," Jigme said.

Jigme, who took over as TYC president in August 2013, admitted that the TYC was going through a rebuilding process after being bogged down by "internal and external factors" that saw the organization battling infighting.

"It is not really true that the TYC has not done enough. Since 2008, TYC has been quite in the forefront. China released a 20-page White Paper on the TYC, labelling us a terrorist organization. This is quite baseless. We have not been very successful in strategizing and not been able to do as much as we would have liked to," Jigme admitted.

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