Violence not an option: Tibetan Youth Congress chief (Interview)

November 22nd, 2008 - 11:40 am ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, Nov 22 (IANS) As the top leadership of Tibetan exiles is deliberating the future course of their struggle for identity, the head of the biggest Tibetan non-government organization (NGO) in exile, the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), has said that the body is neither a “terrorist organisation” nor does it have “violence as an option”.TYC president Tsewang Rigzin, who is attending the special meeting on Tibet’s future and who has said complete independence of Tibet is the only solution, told IANS in an interview: “It is hard to predict the future, but violence is not an option for us. All our campaigns so far have been peaceful.”

The TYC, which has over 30,000 members in India and several other countries, was recently labelled a terrorist organisation by China, which had claimed that the TYC had links to Al Qaeda and other terrorist outfits.

“The terrorism charge against the TYC is completely baseless,” Rigzin said. “Before saying all this about the TYC, China should prove it. By saying all this, China can fool a few people inside its country but not the international community.”

Rigzin, who lived in the US before moving to India last year to lead the TYC, said that complete independence was the only solution to the Tibet issue. He said that at the ongoing conference here, there had been no hostile reaction to his views on independence of Tibet.

“Tibetans have been living under occupation for nearly 60 years. Tibetans can now only survive with China as neighbours. If Tibetans would have been happy under the Chinese, there would not have been an uprising against their rule in March this year. My views on Tibet’s independence have not been imposed on me. These have always been with me,” Rigzin said.

The TYC president said that the Tibetan cause had international support. “We will not be demoralised. Our further struggle will have a set of goals - the ultimate one is to attain complete independence.”

A known critic of the Dalai Lama’s middle-path approach which seeks autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule, Rigzin said: “The middle-path approach is a laid-back one. That’s pretty much what it is. There is nothing much we can achieve with it.”

But the TYC president agreed that the Dalai Lama had done everything to get the Tibet issue resolved. “He has done everything on his part. He called the (ongoing) meeting because he realised that all this was not going anywhere. I don’t think he should step down.”

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