Some Thoughts in Response to the Remarks Made by Chithue Tsewang Rigzin in Parliament

The Tibetans of Mixed Heritage organising team are shocked and disappointed by the remarks made by Chithue Tsewang Rigzin in the fourth session of the 16th Parliament-in-Exile on 27 September 2017.

The Charter of the Tibetans in Exile clearly states in Article 81)“All Tibetans born within the territory of Tibet and those born in other countries shall be eligible to be citizens of Tibet. Any person whose biological mother or biological father is of Tibetan descent has the right to become a citizen of Tibet”, Charter of the Tibetans-in-Exile that we are citizens of Tibet and our organisation is founded on the belief that Tibetans of mixed heritage – Tibetan and non-Tibetan heritage – are vital and equal members of the Tibetan community. By supporting Tibetans of mixed parentage, the future of our society is strengthened. In this increasingly fraught global climate, it is important that we as a community ensure that our bonds are not weakened by unnecessary divisions and that we focus on what unites us.

Since our inception, we have considered it important to hold a gathering of this group in Dharamsala, so that we could bring our members who might not have previously had the opportunity together in the heart of the Tibetan community in exile, to support their engagement in Tibetan programmes and discussions. We are proud to have had a close association with the Central Tibetan Administration from the beginning. Our inaugural gathering in London in 2014 would not have been possible with the support of the Tibet House Trust. We were fortunate to receive wonderful messages of support both from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay. At our subsequent gatherings, in Zurich and New York, not only did we have a CTA representative to address participants, we gladly accepted the invitation from the Office of Tibet, DC, to participate at the Young Tibetan Leaders Summit in 2016 and worked well together to contribute to that important gathering.

Our upcoming gathering in Dharamsala is therefore a natural progression and one that we very much look forward to. By showing willingness to help aid this endeavour, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay and the Central Tibetan Administration have helped bolster confidence, and ensure that Tibetans of mixed heritage can trust that they are valued and their voices have merit in shaping of the future of Tibet.

Tibetans of mixed heritage have long been part of Tibetan society, and our contributions are numerous. In our network alone, there are those who have become part of Tibet Corps, the Tibetan Sports Association, Students for a Free Tibet, and many other programmes, both political and non-political. We promote Tibetan businesses and Tibetan art; we carry Green Books, and look for ways in which we can use our diverse experiences and skill sets to give back to our families and communities and further the goals of the Tibetan movement.

We appreciate there is strong concern over the preservation of Tibetan culture going forwards; we believe that by embracing Tibetans of mixed heritage as part of the Tibetan community, we can form deep bonds of resilience. In this, we are in accordance with the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who said the following in a letter to the first conference of Tibetans of Mixed Heritage:

“At the present time one of our principal concerns is the preservation of the Tibetan language and culture, a culture focused on peace and non-violence, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage those of you who have a Tibetan father or mother, and an affinity for your Tibetan heritage, to strive for a deeper understanding of our Tibetan Buddhist culture so that not only you will benefit from it but also explore how you can help your Tibetan brothers and sisters to meet this challenge.”

We’d like to thank every single person who has taken the time to voice their support for Tibetans of mixed parentage and also contribute to our crowdfunding campaign. We will not be disheartened by the comments made by Chithue Tsewang Rigzin, we invite him to meet us and to discuss his views with us. Focusing on what unites us is of paramount importance for the Tibetan cause and it is this spirit of positivity and unity that we carry with us to Dharamsala for our gathering and for the future.

 

The Tibetans of Mixed Heritage Organising Team

Dechen Kelden

Dominik Knoepfel

Georgina Doji

Kunsang Kelden

Tashi Dondup

 

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References   [ + ]

1. “All Tibetans born within the territory of Tibet and those born in other countries shall be eligible to be citizens of Tibet. Any person whose biological mother or biological father is of Tibetan descent has the right to become a citizen of Tibet”, Charter of the Tibetans-in-Exile

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