50 years of Tibetan democracy in exile.
[2 September 2010] Tibet Society joined with Tibetans around the world to commemorate the 50th Tibetan Democracy Day on 2 September, which marks the anniversary of the first session of the Tibetan Government in Exile. In a letter sent to Tibetan Prime Minister, Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, Tibet Society expressed, "its respect and high regard for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in his commitment in founding and progressing democracy for the Tibetan people in exile". A letter of congratulation was also sent by Fabian Hamilton MP on behalf of The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet.

The Dalai Lama receives Gold MedalTo celebrate this historic milestone, the Tibetan Parliament in Exile organised a very special ceremony in Lunsum Samdupling Tibetan settlement, Bylakuppe, south India. Here over 30 Tibetan MPs, local dignatories and others were joined by around 17 parliamentarians from some 13 countries to see the Tibetan Parliament in Exile honour the Dalai Lama with a Gold Medal as an expression of the Tibetan people's deep gratitude for bestowing upon them the gift of democracy. (pictured left, The Dalai Lama receiving the Gold Medal from Penpa Tsering (left), Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, and Dolma Gyari (right), Deputy Speaker)

ImageAfter thanking the Parliament in Exile and Tibetan people for honouring him out of genuine happiness and devotion, the Dalai lama went on to express his gratitude to the foreign dignitaries present, speaking of how support from the international community has greatly encouraged the Tibetan people in their struggle for truth and justice, he said, "Your support has immensely helped the people of the international community to get a better understanding and knowledge about the issue of Tibet. It has also contributed for raising the awareness of the Chinese people living inside China about the reality of the Tibetan issue, despite the strict restriction imposed by the government on the flow of information. I hope the wholehearted efforts of the international community to support the issue of Tibet will definitely bear fruit."

In its statement, the Kashag (the equivilent of the Cabinet of the Tibetan Government in Exile) said a meaningful and genuine Tibetan democratic polity in exile has been established under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and that, "whatever accomplishments we have been able to achieve in attaining greater freedom in terms of rule of law and democracy is all due to the efforts made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama."

Image Commenting on the successful development of democracy in exile, Tibetan Government in exile spokesperson, Thubten Samphel, said, "It is an institution, which is transparent, which is accountable and abides by the rule of law."

Photo: The Dalai Lama with the ballot box presented to him by Tibet Society at Westminster in 2004. The ballot box, made of British oak, is now used by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile when votes are cast.

The Central Tibetan Administration also chose today to launch a new version of its Chinese language website, which features the Dalai Lama's biography, his efforts on promoting human values, religious harmony as well as explaining Tibet's history, culture, language and religion.

Full text of Tibet Society's letter | tibet.net article


Full text of Tibet Society's letter

50 years of Tibetan democracy in exile.
On this important day, 2 September 2010, the 50th anniversary of the first session of the Tibetan Government in Exile that took place on 2 September 1960, Tibet Society would like to express its respect and high regard for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in his commitment in founding and progressing democracy for the Tibetan people in exile.
 
The establishment of the Tibetan Government in Exile 50 years ago and its subsequent growth and development is a clear, living example of how the political system would have evolved in Tibet; had it not been for China’s occupation of Tibet the Tibetan people would now be living in a free and democratically run country that would have positive and proactive relations with its neighbours.

It also clearly demonstrates the modernising principles of the His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Indeed, prior to China’s occupation of Tibet in 1950, the Dalai Lama had already begun the reformation of the political system in Tibet. However, the reforms which would have seen the implementation of democratic institutions based on social and economic justice were obstructed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Today, the Tibetan Government in Exile exemplifies the principles of peace and harmony which all governments and parliamentarians across the world could learn from.

It is Tibet Society’s sincere hope that one day soon the Tibetan Government in Exile will be able to instigate these principles and practices in Tibet itself.
   
Fredrick Hyde-Chambers, Chair, Tibet Society
Philippa Carrick, Chief Executive Officer, Tibet Society


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