Parliamentarian Tenpa Yarphel Calls for Abandoning ‘Middle Way Policy’ for Tibet’s Independence

DHARAMSALA, 19th September: Parliamentarian Tenpa Yarphel emphasized during the first day of the sixth session of the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile(TPIE) that the Central Tibetan Administration(CTA) should now abandon its ineffectual ‘Middle Way Policy’ and strive for complete independence for Tibet.

The MP’s statement came after the bill on official solidarity on urgent situations inside Tibet quickly garnered a divided response within the house.

He stated, “As declared in the preface of the bill, Tibet is an independent nation with a history of even conquering China, reaching its capital, Chang’an (now Xian), and overthrowing the Chinese emperor. We have long advocated for the Middle Way Approach, seeking genuine autonomy within the framework of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. However, China has consistently misled us. Political stances must adapt to changes in global geopolitics. If we continue with the Middle Way, we risk being on the wrong side of history.”

He further added that it was now imperative for the CTA to abandon its ineffective ‘Middle Way Policy’ in favour of complete independence for Tibet. He expressed hope that the house could pass a resolution in alignment with this stance.

MP Yarphel’s response came after MP Geshe Gangri criticised the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House for sending a representative of the standing committee to the 6th International Rangzen Conference in Delhi in August. 

MP Gangri alleged that the Speaker’s invitation to attend the Center for Middle Way (Umay Lam) Initiative’s 15th Anniversary had been met with scrutiny by the committee. Gangri expressed his scepticism regarding the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker’s decision. 

He further warned that Rangzen amounts to objecting to the Dalai Lama, declaring that Umay Lam was conceived by the Dalai Lama, and asserting that the Tibetan spiritual leader still holds hope in the Middle Way, which remains the official policy of the CTA

He further stated that the Tibetan Youth Congress disapproves of the Rangzen Conference, pointing out that some individuals advocating for Rangzen and connected with that conference engage in defamatory actions against the Dalai Lama and call for the closure of the CTA.

The sixth session of the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile(TPIE) began today to discuss the work reports of the seven departments of the Central Tibetan Administration. The session commenced with Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel in the chair in the presence of the President of the Central Tibetan Administration, Penpa Tsering, and his cabinet.

In his opening remarks, Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel discussed TPIE’s work during the last six months, emphasising the need for unity amongst Tibetans and coordinated efforts from all in resolving the Sino-Tibetan conflict. He urged lawmakers to use the house floor to express and exchange ideas for the Tibetan freedom movement with dedication and enthusiasm, focusing on the cause rather than personal sentiments.

The sixth session of the 17th Tibetan Parliament will run from 19th to 28th September. In addition to reviewing work reports from various CTA departments, lawmakers will deliberate on the critical situation inside Tibet and other concerns within the Tibetan community in exile.

The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile consists of 45 members: ten members each from U-Tsang, Do-tod, and Do-med—the three traditional provinces of Tibet; two members each from the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the traditional Bon faith; two members each from Europe and North America; and a member representing Tibetans in Asia and Australasia (excluding India, Nepal, and Bhutan). The TPIE holds sessions twice a year, with a budget session in March and a general session in September.

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