By Tsering Choephel
DHARAMSALA, 12 June: Bhuchung K. Tsering, a Tibetan writer, diplomat and activist has been formally awarded the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation last Friday in Washington.
Awarded to those who have championed freedom and democracy and opposed communism and all other forms of tyranny, the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom recipients includes the blind Chinese civil right activist Chen Guangchen, Pope John Paul II and democracy-advocacy organisation The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) among many others.
Paula Jon Dobiransky, a former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs under the George W. Bush administration, who presented the award lauded Bhuchung for “his lifelong commitment to the people of Tibet advocating for freedom, fundamental human rights, democracy in the face of the brutal occupying force of the Chinese communist party.”
She thanked him for his “indomitable courage, your visionary leadership of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and your relentless drive for the people of Tibet while China hides its subjugation of the Tibetan people and erasure of their culture, language, religion and history.”
Born in Tibet and exiled at infancy with his family in 1960 after China’s invasion of Tibet, Buchung K Tsering had worked as a journalist, served in the Tibetan government in Exile and for the Tibetan freedom struggle in various capacities.
He was a member of the Task Force established by the Tibetan leadership to work on issues regarding the dialogues with China. He was also a member of the team led by the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the discussions that they had with the Chinese leadership between 2002 and 2010. He has also testified on behalf of ICT at the US Congress.
In his note of acknowledgement, Tsering paid homage to Tibetans living under the Chinese communist regime and said, “The honour that you bestow on me today is really an acknowledgement of the strength of the Tibetan people and their struggle and I am very grateful for it.”
He added that the award to him is “putting the spotlight on 159 Tibetans who have committed self-immolations in Tibet since 2009 to highlight the plight of the Tibetan people under Chinese rule,” calling their action the highest of sacrifice without harm to others.
Buchung K. Tsering currently heads the Research and Monitoring Unit of the ICT, one of the largest non-profit advocacy groups for Tibet.