HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

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HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

Postby Tara » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:48 am

The Dalai Lama has announced he is stepping down as political leader of the Tibetan government in exile.

He says the time has come for his replacement by a "freely elected" leader.

The Dalai Lama, whose more significant role is as the movement's spiritual leader, said he would seek an amendment allowing him to resign his political office when the exiled Tibetan parliament meets next week.

"My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility," he said in an address in Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile in northern India.

"It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run. It is not because I feel disheartened."

The Dalai Lama was 15 when he was appointed head of state in 1950 after Chinese troops moved into Tibet. He fled his homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

The 75-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner has long talked of stepping down from what is a largely ceremonial role, while maintaining his more important position as the spiritual figurehead of the Tibetan movement.

"As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power," he said.

"Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect."

In his address marking the anniversary of the 1959 uprising, the Dalai Lama made it clear he would not be withdrawing from the political struggle and remained "committed to playing my part in the just cause of Tibet".

Despite his advancing age and several health scares, the Dalai Lama maintains a punishing travel schedule as the global face of the Tibetan struggle.

Spiritual and secular loyalty to his leadership is steadfast and he is the adhesive that binds together the various factions within the movement, some of whom favour a more radical agenda than the Dalai Lama's non-violent campaign for autonomy within the Chinese state.

In today's speech, the Dalai Lama said he had received "repeated and earnest" appeals from inside and outside Tibet to provide continued political leadership.

The London-based International Campaign for Tibet said the Dalai Lama's announcement underlined his democratic credentials.

"In contrast to those long-serving autocrats who have been much in the news, the Dalai Lama is the rare visionary who is willingly divesting power to his people," said ICT president Mary Beth Markey.

"His decision, based on the maturation of Tibetan democracy in exile, deserves both accolades and support."

- AFP


http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011 ... 160669.htm
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42001181/ns ... tral_asia/
http://www.sify.com/news/dalai-lama-to- ... bjdhh.html
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110310/wl_ ... _dalailama

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Re: HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:00 am

At the moment, whatever he does by way of title, it is surely unthinkable that the TGIE would act against any wishes of HHDL. Would any political successor be free to act independently while HHDL is alive?

As forTibet, whatever the TIbetans living there may feel, will it make any difference to the political situation?

I'm more interested in his status as religious leader of Tibet. Is that status meaningful for the future, and is he going to make changes regarding his religious succession, I wonder.
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Re: HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

Postby mindyourmind » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:36 pm

I can see several strategical advantages in this decision by his Holiness.

And we must of course also not forget the simple and self-evident fact that he is getting on in years, and that the requirements of that office must be a drain on his energies.
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Re: HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

Postby Indrajala » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:59 pm

mindyourmind wrote:I can see several strategical advantages in this decision by his Holiness.

And we must of course also not forget the simple and self-evident fact that he is getting on in years, and that the requirements of that office must be a drain on his energies.


He is a true leader. He could easily keep power if he wanted to, but he genuinely wishes to give the power to his people. Many leaders in the world claim to represent the people, but will cling to their power even if it means a violent revolt by the people. He actually believes in democracy. That certainly sets a good example for others to follow.
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Re: HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:07 pm

Huseng wrote:
mindyourmind wrote:I can see several strategical advantages in this decision by his Holiness.

And we must of course also not forget the simple and self-evident fact that he is getting on in years, and that the requirements of that office must be a drain on his energies.


He is a true leader. He could easily keep power if he wanted to, but he genuinely wishes to give the power to his people. Many leaders in the world claim to represent the people, but will cling to their power even if it means a violent revolt by the people. He actually believes in democracy. That certainly sets a good example for others to follow.


I'm still genuinely not sure what power he has, which he can hand over. The Indian Government permits the TGIE to perform certain tasks, but all the power derives from the Indian Government, and they are already a democratic government.

I could see a purpose in a TGIE when the refugees first arrived and needed organising, but frankly think that now the whole structure should be disbanded and direct rule take over within India. Can't see how a 'Tibetan' democracy is needed within the Indian one, which exists already and rules already. What is needed for the future IMHO is simply a more proactive role by the Indian Government. If the TGIE continues, is it at all possible that their candidate will not be chosen in any election?

As for HHDL's power within Tibet, again it is through the Chinese, so I can't see really what power he has to hand over.

I don't see anything beyond a symbolic role which has been useful to plead Tibet's case, but has no national or international powers. Can anyone explain to me what powers the replacement would have which aren't delegated by another government?
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Re: HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

Postby mindyourmind » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:03 pm

Huseng wrote:
mindyourmind wrote:I can see several strategical advantages in this decision by his Holiness.

And we must of course also not forget the simple and self-evident fact that he is getting on in years, and that the requirements of that office must be a drain on his energies.


He is a true leader. He could easily keep power if he wanted to, but he genuinely wishes to give the power to his people. Many leaders in the world claim to represent the people, but will cling to their power even if it means a violent revolt by the people. He actually believes in democracy. That certainly sets a good example for others to follow.


A good, and all together far too rare example in world politics.
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Re: HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

Postby mindyourmind » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:06 pm

Yeshe wrote:
Huseng wrote:
mindyourmind wrote:I can see several strategical advantages in this decision by his Holiness.

And we must of course also not forget the simple and self-evident fact that he is getting on in years, and that the requirements of that office must be a drain on his energies.


He is a true leader. He could easily keep power if he wanted to, but he genuinely wishes to give the power to his people. Many leaders in the world claim to represent the people, but will cling to their power even if it means a violent revolt by the people. He actually believes in democracy. That certainly sets a good example for others to follow.


I'm still genuinely not sure what power he has, which he can hand over. The Indian Government permits the TGIE to perform certain tasks, but all the power derives from the Indian Government, and they are already a democratic government.

I could see a purpose in a TGIE when the refugees first arrived and needed organising, but frankly think that now the whole structure should be disbanded and direct rule take over within India. Can't see how a 'Tibetan' democracy is needed within the Indian one, which exists already and rules already. What is needed for the future IMHO is simply a more proactive role by the Indian Government. If the TGIE continues, is it at all possible that their candidate will not be chosen in any election?

As for HHDL's power within Tibet, again it is through the Chinese, so I can't see really what power he has to hand over.

I don't see anything beyond a symbolic role which has been useful to plead Tibet's case, but has no national or international powers. Can anyone explain to me what powers the replacement would have which aren't delegated by another government?


I'm speculating of course, but often in tense negotiating situations, where the involved parties have formed real or imagined opinions about each other, it helps to bring in fresh horses. An intractable situation can often be given a new lease of life simply by changing team members. I think that HHDL's very presence has caused some of the other parties to become so entrenched in their views that they find it difficult to reverse themselves out of the corners they have painted themselves into. New people may bring new possibilities.

Who knows :shrug:
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Re: HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

Postby Indrajala » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:07 pm

Yeshe wrote:I'm still genuinely not sure what power he has, which he can hand over. The Indian Government permits the TGIE to perform certain tasks, but all the power derives from the Indian Government, and they are already a democratic government.


The Tibetan exile government still operates with a budget and provides modest stipends to those citizens under it. It also provides a kind of cultural autonomy that would otherwise not exist for the Tibetans in India and elsewhere. In India there is a myriad of cultures which desire cultural autonomy, which means some kind of government to represent them, within the larger structure of the state governments. Similar parallels might be drawn elsewhere. For example, in Malaysia, where despite several cultures co-existing together, there are still certain Islamic courts for Muslims recognized as legitimate by the government. The Tibetans in India should have similar access to cultural-specific institutions sanctioned by the state. They are a minority inside India.


I could see a purpose in a TGIE when the refugees first arrived and needed organising, but frankly think that now the whole structure should be disbanded and direct rule take over within India. Can't see how a 'Tibetan' democracy is needed within the Indian one, which exists already and rules already. What is needed for the future IMHO is simply a more proactive role by the Indian Government. If the TGIE continues, is it at all possible that their candidate will not be chosen in any election?


What are the chances of a Tibetan refugee, or even Tibetan-Indian, being elected into a major position in the Indian government? He or she would have to compete with Indian candidates who do not need the Tibetan vote. Indians in general would not see the need to vote for a Tibetan-Indian looking out specifically for Tibetan, not Indian, interests.



As for HHDL's power within Tibet, again it is through the Chinese, so I can't see really what power he has to hand over.


Even it is just symbolic, that symbol is extremely powerful. One reason why many Tibetans have not taken up arms against the Chinese is because HHDL has requested that they do not. If it wasn't for him the Chinese would probably be suffering an ongoing insurgency not unlike the Maoist revolts in India and Nepal.


I don't see anything beyond a symbolic role which has been useful to plead Tibet's case, but has no national or international powers. Can anyone explain to me what powers the replacement would have which aren't delegated by another government?


Again, it is a symbolic power in many ways -- but such symbolic power still has the efficacy to command authority.
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Re: HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

Postby plwk » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:18 pm

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Re: HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

Postby kirtu » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:22 pm

rainbowtara wrote:
The Dalai Lama has announced he is stepping down as political leader of the Tibetan government in exile.

He says the time has come for his replacement by a "freely elected" leader.


He's been trying to do this for quite some time. Both the Tibetans and the Chinese basically have been keeping him from really stepping down. So we'll have to see if he is really going to be able to step down totally this time (afterall Tibet has had an elected Prime Minister who is actually supposed to be running daily governmental affairs for what - 10, 15 years now).

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Re: HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:12 pm

Huseng wrote:
What are the chances of a Tibetan refugee, or even Tibetan-Indian, being elected into a major position in the Indian government? He or she would have to compete with Indian candidates who do not need the Tibetan vote. Indians in general would not see the need to vote for a Tibetan-Indian looking out specifically for Tibetan, not Indian, interests.


Well, there is already as you stated, a huge variety of local and state government under the umbrella of the Indian national state.

The argument you use would be true for Jains, Parsees, Moslems, etc. In areas where they live, a democracy may ensure some integration and representation which they lack at the moment. Unless they are leaving India in the near future, Tibetans need to plan to become Indian Buddhists of Tibetan origin, and the Indian government needs to accord them such status as they can't stay as 'refugees' for ever when their kids are being born in India.

I don't know how Switzerland, for example, has handled the status of the refugees, or whether HHDL has any delegated powers there to hand on to a successor.
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Re: HHDL steps down as Tibetan leader

Postby Indrajala » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:15 pm

Yeshe wrote:The argument you use would be true for Jains, Parsees, Moslems, etc. In areas where they live, a democracy may ensure some integration and representation which they lack at the moment. Unless they are leaving India in the near future, Tibetans need to plan to become Indian Buddhists of Tibetan origin, and the Indian government needs to accord them such status as they can't stay as 'refugees' for ever when their kids are being born in India.

I don't know how Switzerland, for example, has handled the status of the refugees, or whether HHDL has any delegated powers there to hand on to a successor.


The assimilation process is happening slowly. In Sarnath there is a sizable Tibetan university with a sprawling campus devoted to Tibetan studies for Tibetans and by Tibetans. As time goes on Tibetans will get Indian citizenship, but perhaps the older generations will continue to hope that they can return to their homeland one day. The youth may maintain their religion, but will probably take more interest in Bollywood and Indian pop-culture.

It isn't a simple situation.

However, by having a government to call their own -- for Tibetans and by Tibetans -- under the umbrella of the state of India, they have cultural autonomy and a kind of unity they wouldn't have with just local representatives who would probably not be Tibetan, but just Indian candidates looking for their vote.
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