News / Asia

Exiled Tibetans Elect Political Successor to Dalai Lama

In this March 20, 2011 file photo, newly-elected Tibetan prime minister Lobsang Sangay talks to the Associated Press with a Tibetan flag in the background in Dharmsala, India.
In this March 20, 2011 file photo, newly-elected Tibetan prime minister Lobsang Sangay talks to the Associated Press with a Tibetan flag in the background in Dharmsala, India.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to an interview about Lobsang Sangay, political successor to the Dalai Lama

Tibet is officially under Chinese control. But the region's Buddhists have long considered the Dalai Lama as their leader.

Now, the 75-year-old exiled spiritual leader is stepping down from politics.

The Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama
And Wednesday, the Tibetan government-in-exile announced who will take his place. Lobsang Sangay, a scholar at the prestigious Harvard Law School in the United States, has been elected kalon tripa, or prime minister, of the Tibetan government-in-exile. Sangay won 55 percent of all votes cast by tens of thousands of Tibetans around the world in recent elections, beating out two other candidates.

The 42-year-old Sangay has served as leader of the Tibetan Youth Congress, which demands Tibet's complete independence from Chinese rule.

Mary Beth Markey, the president of the International Campaign to Save Tibet, knows Sangay personally. She tells VOA's Sarah Williams about the exiled government's newest political leader.

Who is Lobsang Sangay?

"I'm very pleased to know Lobsang Sangay. He has testified before the United States Congress in the past on the issue of Tibet, and I principally know him from his visits to Washington as an expert on international law and how it applies to the Tibetan people. He has a doctorate of law and masters of law from Harvard University in the United States and he is an articulate representative of Tibetan issues and has been in Washington on occasion."

Has he ever lived in Tibet?

"No, he hasn't lived in Tibet. He was born in a Tibetan refugee community in Darjeeling, India, and grew up in India like many Tibetans of his generation in their 40's. I guess he's not really had much opportunity because of that to really spend time in Tibet. He has tried to visit Tibet. It's normal, unfortunately, though not appropriate, but the Chinese do withhold visas from many Tibetans who wish to return to Tibet and I believe that was the case for Lobsang."

Do you know how he will in the future deal with China on the Tibetan issue?

"No, I don't. The role of the has been predominantly an administrative role within the Tibetan exile government, or I should say at the top of the exile government, and has been more prominent in recent years on the international stage.

Listen to the entire interview on Lobsang Sangay

Certainly as the Dalai Lama had a very close relationship with the current kalon tripa, Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, and raised his visibility and ceded a great deal of authority to him. That process as we all know has been accelerated or is being accelerated, according to the Dalai Lama's desire to completely devolve his political authority in the government in exile.

I imagine Lobsang Sangay, who is somebody who is well traveled, who has lived in the West, will spend much more time as an international advocate for Tibet than previous kalon tripas have. And in that capacity, I'm sure he will articulate the policy of the Tibetan government in exile towards China. And he has been able in academia to reach out very deliberately to Chinese academics. This has been a diplomatic track that I think is important. It has been fruitful in that the exchanges have been frank and seem to be genuine, something that you don't often get at the very highest level with the Chinese."

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid