Tibet's parliament in exile has scheduled an emergency meeting in
mid-November. Spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, requested the legislators adopt
a resolution on the future of the Tibetan movement following the political
unrest in their homeland this year. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman traveled to
Dharamsala in northern India, the home of the Dalai Lama and Tibet's government
in exile. He reports on what Tibetans leaders there are contemplating about the
upcoming extraordinary legislative conference.
Nestled below a clouded Himalayan range in
northern India, Tibetan monks in exile recite sacred Buddhist
These days the monks here in the Dalai Lama's personal
monastery, the Namgyal, are also contemplating the fate of Tibet.
country's parliament in exile has approved the Dalai Lama's request for an
emergency session in November to debate the future direction.
follows the Tibetan protests and Chinese crackdown in March. For the 130,000
Tibetan exiles, the question is whether to continue with their spiritual
leader's "middle way" approach towards China - neither accepting Tibet's present
status under Beijing nor seeking independence from Chinese rule. Some now
question the middle path after the exile government counted 200 dead from the
crackdown and an undetermined number of monks and lay people missing.
Fifth Samdhong Rinpoche is the Kalon Tripa or prime minister of Tibet's
government in exile. The incarnate lama tells VOA News this year's events have
created a seismic shift.
"Since March 2008, there have been a lot of
protests and, then, international sympathy," the Kalon Tripa said. "A great
change has been taking place during these days. And we shall have to review the
situation and how we shall have to channelize our future course of
Input will come not only from Tibet's parliament-in-exile, but
also from intellectuals and non-governmental organizations in the exile
community - mostly living in India.
The Kalon Tripa has long advocated
the kind of nonviolent resistance popularized by the Indian nationalist leader,
Mahatma Gandhi, believing those in Tibet should assert their rights under
Chinese law to stymie Beijing.
Younger Tibetans have also expressed
frustration with the status quo.
The stated goal
of the Tibetan Youth Congress is complete independence for Tibet. The
organization's president, Tsewang Ringzin, tells VOA News the November special
meeting will give Tibetan youth an opportunity to make their voices heard by
their elders. "And as long as people do that and as long as whoever attends the
meeting, if they come to represent the true aspirations of the Tibetan people, I
think we will have results," Ringzin said.
One alternative that gets no
public support among the monks and lay people in Dharamsala is violent struggle
against China. The head of the Tibetan Youth Congress, which China classifies as
a terrorist organization, agrees armed resistance is unacceptable.
is no question about it. The little support that we have internationally is due
to the fact that our struggle is a non-violent struggle," Ringzin said.
"Regardless of how you look at it, violence is not an option at all for our
Meanwhile, Tibet's government-in-exile wants China to account
for the Tibetans missing following the March uprising. The prime minister of the
Central Tibetan Administration says the number of Tibetans casualties this year
"A large number of Tibetans are still missing. A large
number of monks and nuns who were taken away from Lhasa are still imprisoned in
various untold places," the Kalon Tripa said. "We are hearing the unconfirmed
news now they are beginning to release [them] but not allowing [them] to go back
to the Lhasa monasteries."
China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of
fomenting violence to disrupt this year's Beijing Olympic Games.
eighth round of dialog between his exile government and the Chinese government
had been scheduled for October, but the Kalon Tripa says it is questionable
whether the talks will be held. "After July contact, there has not been any
interaction with them, directly or indirectly," he said.
say the Chinese made unacceptable demands on the Dalai Lama at the last round of
talks. If the planned talks this month yields no progress, they say, the
discussions, which began six years ago, likely will not continue.
now, all the monks of the Namgyal Monastery can do is pray for better times in
their homeland hoping in the meantime it will not all go up in smoke.