Lobsang Sangay announced as newly elected Kalon Tripa
Lobsang Sangay (1), a 43-year-old legal expert and Harvard University academic, was today announced as the new democratically elected Tibetan Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa) (2).
It is expected that the Kalon Tripa will take over the Dalai Lama’s political responsibilities in the near future, following the Dalai Lama’s announcement last month of his intention to hand over his political responsibilities (3). The Dalai Lama has made it clear that he will continue in his spiritual role and that he continues to be “committed to playing [my] part in the just cause of Tibet”.
Today, Dr Sangay said that he views his victory as “a mandate to shoulder the aspirations of six million Tibetans” and urged “every Tibetan and friends of Tibet to join me in our common cause to alleviate the suffering of Tibetans in occupied Tibet”.
Lobsang Sangay supports the Dalai Lama's policies on ties with China – the so-called 'Middle Way' which calls for genuine autonomy within China or within the framework of the Chinese constitution.
Dr Sangay also said today: “Tibetans inside Tibet followed the elections closely and I heard accounts of Tibetans lighting butter lamps, praying, and celebrating by bursting firecrackers. My heart was lifted when I even received messages of support and Khatas [ceremonial scarves] from Tibetans in Tibet.”
Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said:
“Lobsang Sangay’s election is particularly significant given that the Dalai Lama will soon divorce his political and religious responsibilities, devolving the political to the Kalon Tripa. The new Kalon Tripa has many challenges ahead of him – not least securing representation with world leaders. Until now, many political leaders have been able to side-step the politics of Tibet by agreeing to meet the Dalai Lama in his religious capacity only. World leaders will now have the chance to demonstrate their public commitment to finding a negotiated solution for Tibet by meeting with the newly elected Kalon Tripa and encouraging their Chinese counterparts to agree a next round of the Sino-Tibetan Dialogue.”
This could not be a more critical time for Tibet. The recent events in Ngaba – including the brutal force used by Chinese government forces against unarmed protesters which led to the death of two elderly Tibetans, the arbitrary detentions, curfews, house searches, restrictions on movement and forcible removable of more than 300 monks – expose the need for a political solution.”
Notes to Editor
(1) Lobsang Sangay completed Bachelor of Law at Delhi University. He earned his Doctorate in law from Harvard University. He is currently a visiting Research Fellow at East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School but will move to Dharamsala in North India to take up his new position in the government in exile. He has spent his life in exile, his father having left Tibet in 1959, the same year as the Dalai Lama did so.
(2) The elections for the Kalon Tripa took place on 20 March 2011. All Tibetans in exile across the world aged 18 and over and who hold green cards are eligible to vote in the elections for the Kalon Tripa. Green cards are available for a nominal annual tax payable to the Tibetan government-in-exile; in the UK this amount is £50.
(4) For further information on recent events in Ngaba see Free Tibet press release, 23 April 2011, http://freetibet.org/node/2283
(5) Free Tibet and Tibet supporters called on the British Foreign Secretary to publicly welcome the new Kalon Tripa, to invite the Kalon Tripa to the UK and to encourage the Chinese President to engage with the Kalon Tripa at a mass lobby of Parliament on 10 March 2011, the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. For the mass lobby Free Tibet and supporters attended Parliament to meet their elected representatives to discuss their concerns about Tibet and to press for a strengthening of UK policy regarding Tibet.
Free Tibet is an international campaigning organisation that stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected.
For further interviews and further information please contact Free Tibet’s Director <a href="http://www.freetibet.org/contact-us">Stephanie Brigden</a>
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