Unsilenced: Voices of Young Tibetans – podcast series by FNVA


In the latest podcast series by Foundation for Non-Violent Alternatives (FNVA), Tenzin Thinley, a Tibetan refugee in US and a student of Political Science from Methodist University, North Carolina, USA, delved upon his life experiences. He also shed some light on the governmental structure of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and deliberated upon the 20th National People’s Congress (NPC) of China.

He mentioned about getting Identity Certificate (IC), a travel document provided by the Indian government to Tibetans who wanted to travel abroad. He shared an anecdote of how he was stalled for several minutes just because he possessed an Identity Certificate and felt embarrassed. This is something which every Tibetans more or less faces when he/she possesses the Identity Certificate as the travel document.

Moving on Tenzin Thinley explained and elaborated upon the governmental structure of PRC. Their structure is completely different from the democratic system. In a democratic setup, people have say in the government formation and there are checks and balances between different pillars of democracy such as Government, Judiciary and Congress. This was something amiss in the PRC’s structure. He adds that the structure of the Chinese government is arcane and synonymous with the Chinese Communist Party because the party wants to preserve its monopoly over the nation itself. He also stressed about how regardless of the generational shift in leadership occurring in China, the policy making of the PRC will continue to remain more or less the same with an overt shift in such policy very less likely.

This was followed by an in-depth discussion on the 20th National People’s Congress (NPC). He was of the opinion that Xi Jinping is going to secure the unprecedented 3rd term as president of the PRC in the NPC. And when talking about the Chinese leadership, he emphasized the measures of vetting and scrutiny one goes through before they are promoted. Hence, he concluded how a leader within the party would hardly break lines and keep their toes in check especially when it comes to party directives.

Tenzin Thinley was vocal in criticizing Beijing for its oppressive policies in Tibet highlighting the recent, mass DNA collection and Zero-Covid policy. He also mentioned the assimilation drive by China in Tiber to bring demographic change. In big Tibetan cities, the Chinese population is now more or less equal to Tibetans. And for him instead of China who has recently spurred the narrative of ushering a new world order with it being the dominant power in Asia, it should be India with the mantle of leadership in Asia and is a better alternative and constitutes a more representative government that China.

Moving on he shared his own experience in the United Kingdom and the USA. Here Tenzin explained his internship at the Office of Tibet, Washington DC and he brought forth several anecdotes, one which stuck out was during the visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to his university in US. The Chinese students in the university protested against the visit of  His Holiness. He was personally taken aback by the pressure put forth against this visit but stated “I have never been put under that much pressure before but I believe when you are put in an uncomfortable position, you learn the most”. This was followed by the deliberations on the recent bill passed in US Congress titled as “Promoting a Resolution to the Tibet-China Conflict Act”. And Tenzin Thinley being someone who has not only studied in the USA for more than 4 years but has worked at various institutions highlights clearly that the USA’s support to Tibet is not based entirely upon humanity but more aligned towards their national interest.

Finally, he feels a strong sense of gratitude towards those working in bringing a resolution in the Tibet-China conflict especially to those non-Tibetans as their actions and initiatives really inspires him. He emphasized how in the lead up to the recent Beijing Winter Olympics, non-Tibetans really pushed for its boycott along with the Tibetans. These initiatives really inspire him to work for the resolution in the Tibet-China conflict. One can note how India also switched their Olympic kit supplier from Li-Ning – a Chinese sports company to an Indian company ShivNaresh in the lead up to the 2020 (delayed to 2021) Tokyo Summer Olympics.

The official video podcast can be viewed in entirety at the official FNVA YouTube Channel. The link for it is as follows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pmm8WLG08Sg

To summarize, what one gets to know and understand is how the CCP under the direction of Xi Jinping will be a call back to the era of Mao Zedong. President Xi has already pushed for his own ideology of Xi Jinping thought whereby he calls upon Socialism with Chinese characteristics. With him securing an unprecedented 3rd term which Tenzin Thinley along with many Chinese expert’s echo. President Xi would not be placed on the same pedestal of Chairman Mao but would now be seen to overthrowing him in prestige and setting his own legacy.

What does this legacy mean and what potential impact would it have on the global order? especially with China planning to create its own niche and supplant US and become the leader of a new world order. His legacy till now has been chequered to say the least with a recent data by PEW research centre indicating very clearly how the global world barring a few countries like Singapore and Malaysia do not see China and Xi Jinping as favorable. Illustrating how the people of the world are understanding the wrongs committed by China with Xi Jinping at Helm.

Xi’s activities in Tibet and Xinjiang ventures beyond colonialism, taking it to its very extreme, whereby even those in the mainland are not left untouched. The inhumane policies including the zero-Covid policy has pushed and forced may Tibetans to forfeit their life. With the persons responsible for these repressive measures being rewarded by senior party positions, Xi has further cemented his “yes men” approach and killed all remaining dissident voices in the party. It is time, all countries realize the threat the world faces from Xi Jingping and his authoritarian thoughts. Unless it is countered, the illogical and repressive measures initiated by Xi Jingping and his ‘yes men’ would reflect in China’s dealing with outside world.

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