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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid