5th International Rangzen Conference begins in Dharamsala

DHARAMSALA, May 23: The fifth edition of the International Rangzen Conference began today at the Municipal Cooperation’s Community Hall here in Dharamsala on a day with historical significance as China forced the Tibetan delegation led by Ngabo Ngawang Jigme to sign the ‘Seventeen-Point Agreement’ on May 23, 1951, in Beijing.

“China, even today uses this narrative to legitimize their control over Tibet, calls it the ‘Peaceful Liberation’ and uses this document to push their claim that Tibet is a part of the People’s Republic of China to the world. Hence May 23 has been earmarked to kick off the Rangzen conference to condemn and repudiate the infamous agreement signed under duress and to renew our resolve to further enhance and strengthen Tibet’s independence movement,” Tenzin Tsundue from the organizing committee said in his opening remarks.

Tenzin Deckyi, widow of Tibetan MP Karma Choephel with the ‘Freedom Fighters Award’ for her husband

The Tibetan writer and activist further clarified that unlike the claims and rumours being spread by rumour-mongers, although Rangzen advocates and Middle Way Policy supporters political stand differs, there is no contradiction between the two as they share a common goal that ultimately benefits the Tibetan people and Tibet at large.

The opening ceremony of the 5th International Rangzen Conference to be held over May 23-25 was attended by Ajay Singh Mankotia, President of Dharamsala Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association as the Chief Guest along with guest of honours, Tibetan writer-activists Lhasang Tsering and Jamyang Norbu, Veteran Indian Journalist and long-time Tibet supporter Vijay Kranti and Tibetan Parliamentarians Lhagyari Namgyal Dolkar, Geshe Monlam Tharchin, Tenpa Yarphel, Serta Tsultrim and Juchen Konchok.

“Your movement is a very long movement but it is a strong movement. You will succeed and you have to succeed. Please strategize your policies and plans of action and don’t let your emotions overtake you and ego spoil anything,” Ajay Singh Mankotia said and concluded by reaffirming India’s support for the Tibetan issue.

“The struggle for Freedom is about right and wrong, and not about who is winning and who is loosing and it shouldn’t be mistaken for a business deal,” Tibetan writer-activist Lhasang Tsering said in his address as he outlined why Tibetan issue should be an international issue.

“Unless we have a meaningful struggle for freedom, there can be no support. Support can not precede action; support can only follow the action. To that extent then for the sake of Tibet and for the sake of world peace, I call upon all the freedom loving people in the world especially people in India to stand up for Tibet for freedom for Tibet,” Lhasang Tsering concluded.

Late Tibetan MP Karma Choephel who was a prominent Rangzen advocate was awarded the ‘Freedom Fighters Award’ for his inimitable contribution to Rangzen movement.

Tibetan writer-activist Jamyang Norbu in his address said that he is at the conference to represent the Tibetan National Congress, an organisation that openly does its best in every field of activity to fight Chinese domination of Tibet.

Jamyang Norbu further highlighted that as China’s stature as a global power is on the rise, it is possible to manage and stand up against China’s economic, industrial, military might and diplomatic and soft power. He cited an example wherein Tibetan National Congress was able to make China completely back down from one of its diplomatic offences against the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan writer-activist was referring to the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace laureates which was scheduled to be held in South Africa but had to be suspended and later moved to Rome in Italy after the Nobel Peace laureates decided not to attend the summit after the rainbow nation denied visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama after giving in to Chinese pressure.

Jamyang Norbu concluded by urging to form a permanent committee to sustain the movement at the conference.

The Fifth International Rangzen conference is being organised by a loose network of volunteers who believe in and work for the Independent of Tibet. It’s not an organisation nor any office and the main objective of organising this meeting is to keep the dream of Rangzen alive.

The conference is being attended by around 160 Tibetan Rangzen advocates across the world. Rangzen advocates will discuss and deliberate on various issues with the goal of seeking independence of Tibet at the conference, strengthen and enhance the Tibetan independence movement.

Initiated by few Rangzen advocates, the first Rangzen conference was held in Dharamsala on June 27, 2012, while the second, third and the fourth edition of the conference was held in New Delhi,(2015) New York(2016) and Paris(2017)respectively.

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