Inauguration of the Dalai Lama's political successor

Friday, 5 August 2011

The political successor of the Dalai Lama, Dr Lobsang Sangay (1), will be inaugurated as the elected Tibetan Prime Minister in exile (Kalon Tripa) on Monday 8 August 2011(2), in Dharamsala, North India, seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

Free Tibet Director Stephanie Brigden said: “The international community, including the British government, are clamouring to support the Libyan National Council. In stark contrast they have failed to support Tibetans in their non-violent movement to secure change under an authoritarian regime. Governments have long spoken about their commitment to finding a negotiated solution for Tibet, but with little action to back up their words. With the separation of the Dalai Lama’s political and religious roles, they can no longer side-step the issue by meeting with the Dalai Lama, but only in his religious capacity; they must now demonstrate their commitment to a political solution for Tibet by meeting the new Kalon Tripa and by encouraging China to agree to a next round of talks with the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.”

Until he relinquished his political leadership in March 2011, the Dalai Lama had been both a political and religious leader, creating a concentration of power that China has sought to exploit. China has for many years been introducing policies that aim to control the identification of the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation (religious successor) to control the succession of political leadership and break the influence of the Dalai Lama inside Tibet, hoping to cement its control over the hearts and minds of Tibetans (3). By relinquishing political power the Dalai Lama has taken much of the wind out of the sails of such strategies.

Inside Tibet, some Tibetans have downloaded photographs of the new Kalon Tripa onto their mobile phones and others are planning to celebrate the inauguration by setting off fireworks. Voice of America will attempt to broadcast the inauguration inside Tibet, bypassing Chinese censorship.

A Tibetan in Rebkong County (Chinese: Tongren) in Tibet said: “In the past we didn’t care much about the elections for the Kalon Tripa, but these days more Tibetans are interested - this is a special time for Tibet and there are historical changes taking place. A younger, educated generation of Tibetans is moving into government. So many Tibetans are placing their hope in Lobsang Sangay. We expect he will bring change for Tibet.”


Notes to Editor

(1) Lobsang Sangay completed a Bachelor of Law at Delhi University. He earned his Doctorate in Law from Harvard University. At the time of his election he was a visiting Research Fellow at East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School but has moved to Dharamsala in North India to take up his new position in the Tibetan government in exile. He has spent his life in exile, his father having left Tibet in 1959, the same year as the Dalai Lama.

PHOTOGRAPH OF DR. LOBSANG SANGAY: CREDIT LOBSANG WANGYAL Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay_ photo creditLobsangWangyal2(1).jpg

The elections for the Kalon Tripa took place on 20 March 2011. Tibetans in exile across the world voted in the elections for the Kalon Tripa.

(2) Programme for the inauguration of Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay

Date: 8 August 2011

Venue: Tsuglag Khang, the Main Temple, Dharamsala

08:30 Assembly of guests and general public at Tsuglag Khang courtyard.

08:45 Ceremonial arrival of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kalon Tripa
Professor Samdhong Rinpoche and the Kashag

09.09.09 Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay to take oath of office

10:10 Photo opportunity with His Holiness the Dalai Lama,

10:20 Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay will meet with the press
At the Kalachakra temple, Tsuglag Khang


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 interviews with Tibetans in Dharamsala and with Free Tibet’s Director <a href="">Stephanie Brigden</a>:

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