Sunday 23 January 2011

Dalai Lama says he trusted Ngabo, ‘a patriot’

(, Jan22, 2011) The Dalai Lama has described Ngabo Ngawang Jigme, seen by many as a traitor to his country, a patriot. His comment came during an online live discussion from his residence in Dharamsala with China-based human rights lawyers Teng Biao and Jiang Tianyong, which was arranged by noted Chinese writer Wang Lixong on Jan 4. He also answered questions on few other issues.

On Ngabo’s generally well known pro-China, anti-Tibetan national positions, the Dalai Lama has explained, “We all know it is a fact that people under fear are forced to speak diplomatically according to the given circumstances.”

The Dalai Lama has given three examples to explain Ngabo’s patriotism. The first was in 1951, when Ngabo signed away Tibet’s independence in a 17-Point Agreement with China as the leader of the Tibetan delegation. The exile Tibetan leader has said that even though he was carrying his official seal as the governor of Chamdo, he did not use it, claiming he did not have it. Instead he used a forged seal provided by the Chinese government.

Asked later on why he had signed the “agreement”, he had told the Dalai Lama that the only choice he had was between ‘peaceful liberation’, which he opted for, and an ‘armed liberation’ which he felt would be worse.

The second was in 1979, when he told a fact-finding delegation sent by the Dalai Lama to be aware that “whether in times of the Qing dynasty, or for that matter, the rule of Guomingtang, places within the territory of Ganden Phodrang [name of the area under the Tibetan Government headed by the Dalai Lamas] never paid taxes to them”. The Dalai Lama has cited that as a clear indication of Ngabo’s patriotism.

The third example the Dalai Lama has given was that in 1989, during a session of Tibet Autonomous Region People's Congress, Ngabo had refuted as factually incorrect an official Chinese document claiming that the Nanjing government (of Guomingtang) made all the decisions regarding the enthronement of the 14th Dalai Lama, as well as on matters relating to the identification and recognition of the Dalai Lama. Rather, Ngabo had clarified that the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama was recognized by the regent of Tibet in accordance with religious tradition and no foreigner had presided over the ceremony.

The Dalai Lama has also said that though he was a minor at the time of his enthronement, he still vividly remembered that representatives of British India, China, Nepal and Bhutan were all uniformly seated in one row. He had complimented Ngabo for having done his best to clarify the actual facts.

The Dalai Lama has further said that Ngabo was, prior to 1951, one of the main people who had his trust and confidence, that he had viewed him as progressive and that people who knew him at that time viewed him as an honest person, someone of integrity.

The Dalai Lama has said he always had complete trust in Ngabo, that despite criticisms from friends, he had organized a memorial service for him when he died on Dec 23, 2009, and that he still always prayed for him.

The Question on Ngabo was the first. Asked whether he was losing control over the behaviour of a few Tibetans in exile, the Dalai Lama has explained that “perhaps 99 percent (of the over 150,000 Tibetans in exile) share common concern and sincerity on the issue of Tibet”. He also said he was respectful of differences of opinion within the community in exile because he believed in democracy.

Asked whether his non-violent struggle was effective against China and in what ways the Tibetan people were benefited by it, he has admitted that there has been no tangible result as against China. However, he has said, “it has helped us in getting strong support from the Chinese intellectuals, students and those who are interested in and aware of the reality”. He has said he had explained his position to some Chinese friends at Harvard University and they told him the entire Chinese people would support him if they know about it.

Asked whether reforming the system of reincarnating lamas was permissible, the Dalai Lama began by saying the practice had no concrete basis in the teachings of the Buddha, that it did not exist in most of the Buddhist countries, that in Tibet the system of recognizing someone as Tulku or Lama not only developed but gradually “nearly became a (part of the) class structure in society”. He has said there were many “tulkus” who lack the qualification of a “Lama” – which is achieved by study and practice – and even bring disgrace.

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