Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay inaugurated the 2nd Young Tibetan Research Scholars Conference organised by the Tibet Policy Institute, a research centre under the Central Tibetan Administration, Tuesday. The three-day conference discussing the broad theme, ‘Tibet and Tibetans: Prospects and Challenges’ is being held at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah near the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala.
Over 60 participants, including scholars, researchers and doctoral students from more than six cities are participating in the second edition of the flagship event of TPI.
Special guests at the inaugural ceremony included Mr Jayadeva Ranade, former Additional Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India and the President of the Centre for China Analysis and Strategy and Mr Passang Tsering, Principal of the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah.
In his welcome address, Mr Sonam Tenzin, Deputy Director of TPI noted that Tibetan intellectuals and scholars have a major role in shaping sophisticated and strong arguments for the concerns of the Tibetan people. He explained that TPI, through this conference, has taken the responsibility of creating a permanent avenue for young research scholars to share ideas and research findings and to build network.
Mr Ranade, in his address, spoke about the hardening of the communist party’s grip in China following the emergence of Xi Jinping as the single most powerful ruler. Alluding to what China watchers call the new 30-year phase under Xi, following Mao and Deng’s three decades of helmsmanship, Mr Ranade pointed out that the systematic imposition of controls on various aspects of society in China is seeing the party’s increased control over education, military, judiciary, free speech and ideology.
With tightening security control and most of its major cities under CCTV watch, the China expert warned about a new draconian law which aims to give every individual in China a number determining his patriotic credit worthiness. He warned that by the time the social credit law is implemented in 2018, the party will have an even more intrusive control over its own people.
Sharing his views on the situation in Tibet, Mr Ranade said that the Chinese leadership is confused and annoyed as their policy of maintaining an iron grip while pumping in money has failed to yield desired results. With an eye on the post Dalai Lama scenario, he noted that the Chinese government is not only recruiting “patriotic and model” monks to quell future disturbances but also increasing its propaganda efforts, especially with Indian scholars and journalists, in order to undercut the efforts of the Dalai Lama.
“A very crucial situation is developing for you as well as for us Indians,” Mr Ranade said. “All I can say is that you are headed in for a very difficult time. The manner in which you have sustained your struggle has been outstanding, probably unprecedented, but how you are going to carry it forward will be the real test because you are going to face the might of a nation that is on the rise.”
In his inaugural address, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, provided a detailed analysis on the changing global political scenario hallmarked by the emergence of nationalism and extremism and shared his views on the future prospects of world leaders who have a strong association with the Tibetan struggle.
Sikyong spoke about the present Kashag’s five and fifty strategy to resolve the Tibet issue. “In the next immediate five years, we will make maximum efforts, both nationally and internationally, to achieve genuine autonomy based on the Middle Way Approach,” he explained. “However, in case we remain in exile and have to continue our struggle for many years, we need to strategise in order to strengthen and sustain our cause for the next 50 years.”
He promised the Kashag’s continued support and incentives for students pursuing doctoral degrees while persuading them to come with concrete ideas and solutions for the Tibetan cause.
“It is good if we can point out our problem areas but it will be better if we can also come up with solutions,” Sikyong said. “Instead of being contended with the label of being the most successful refugee community we should instead strive to engage as equal contenders with the world.”
The Tibet Policy Institute is a research centre affiliated with the Central Tibetan Administration.