The first winning essay in this year’s Light of Truth Essay Contest organized by the International Campaign for Tibet highlights systemic problems in the present administrative structure put in place for Tibetans in Tibet by China. Chokey Dolma, the author, who is a teacher at the Dolma Ling Institute near Dharamsala, suggests that the present system of administration of the Tibetans by China is against the spirit of the Chinese Constitution.
The essay says the present division mandates that the policy formulations for Tibetan areas in provinces other than the Tibet Autonomous Region are subservient to other policy considerations in these non-Tibetan provinces (which include Yunnan, Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai). Therefore, there is no uniformity of policy in the TAR, the autonomous prefectures, counties on issues like cultivation of scholarship, financial assistance, education, health, taxes, etc.
The essay says although some decisions were taken (like the one in 1979) to empower minority peoples to take decisions about their lives, there has hardly been any steps in the Tibetan areas to publicize this and to actively encourage the Tibetan people to assert their rights. The system is such that people are encouraged to merely follow the whims of the authorities in Beijing.
Chokey Dolma was born in 1971 in Lhasa, capital of Tibet. At the age of seven, she began her schooling. From 1982-1984 she attended middle school in Lhasa. After escaping to India in 1990, she studied Tibetan and English at the Tibetan children’s village school at Bir for four years. Between July 1995 and 1997 she studied Tibetan literature at Institute of Buddhist Dialectics and teacher’s training at Sarah near Dharamsala.
Between 2002 and 2005 she completed the first correspondence course for BA at Institute of Buddhist Dialectics. Today, she is a Tibetan language instructor at the Dolma Ling Institute near Dharamsala.
Dolma has written articles, poems and essays on different aspect of Tibetan life. Her works include,
- “The pure moon light’s rays”, Collected 17 traditional poems and 16 prose, 10 free verses. 180 pages and published by Department of Education, CTA, Dharamsala, 2002.
- “About Tibetan women” (a research paper published by Tibet House in New Delhi) on issues like the meaning of different terms likes “Bud-Med”, “sKyes dMan” Drag Srinmo (the mythical rock female demon), the first Tibetan woman, famous women in Tibetan history, general state of Tibetan women: discussion about fully ordained nuns, Tibetan reincarnated female lamas, brief introduction on female oracles, Introduction on modern Tibetan female writers and artists, introduction of female ministers in Tibetan history, introduction on Tibetan female doctors and astrologers, ideas on the future of Tibetan women based on their past and present situation, and brief history of some Tibetan nunneries.
This year essays were invited on the following topic: The counties, prefectures and the autonomous region in which Tibetans reside in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have adopted a variety of laws, regulations and policies relating to religion, language, education, culture, economy, etc. In addition, there are national laws governing these areas. This system, governed by the Communist Party’s policies on minorities and autonomy, has created a patchwork of regulations and policies.
- How have the Tibetans been impacted by being administratively divided? How a particular area has been affected by a certain local regulations and policies? Why regulations and policies are different in different areas?
- What steps could be taken to make regulations and policies more uniform?
- How local areas have achieved some autonomy or had their autonomy undermined by local regulations and policies?
Ka-nyag Tsering from Kirti Jepa Monastery in Dharamsala won the second position and Dorjee Wangchuk from Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala in the third position in this year’s contest. This is the fourth such contest since 2002. The First prize winner gets US $1,000, the second prize winner gets $500 and the third prize winner gets $250.
The judges for this year’s contest were Dagyab Rinpoche, eminent lama and scholar residing in Germany; Dr. Yeshi Choedon, Associate Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India; Mr. Thubten Samphel, Secretary, Department of Information and International Relations, Dharamsala, India; and Prof. Jampa Samten, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, India.