Excerpts from our conversation with Shri R. K. Khrimey, National Convener of Core Group for Tibetan Cause and former Parliament member.
1. What are your thoughts on the CCP’s collection of Tibetan DNA?
The Chinese government is currently engaged in extensive repression of the Tibetan population, and they have escalated their surveillance efforts by forcibly collecting blood samples without obtaining informed, voluntary consent. This practice not only violates individuals' rights to privacy, dignity, and bodily integrity but can also amount to degrading treatment in certain cases. The compulsory DNA sampling of an entire region or population for the sake of security maintenance constitutes a severe violation of human rights and cannot be justified as necessary or proportionate.
Respecting the confidentiality of medical information is a fundamental aspect of the right to health, and the sensitive nature of DNA data makes it susceptible to various forms of abuse when collected or shared without consent. Any government-mandated collection or use of such information represents a significant intrusion into the realm of personal privacy.
These developments are clear indicators that China, bolstered by its confidence in technological surveillance capabilities, is transitioning into a new phase of its repressive and authoritarian policies, specifically focusing on biosecurity. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has established biosecurity as a means to exercise control over the population.
3. In your view, why is it important for individuals like yourself to be involved in supporting the Tibetan cause, and how can others join in these efforts?
China did not share a border with India until they unlawfully took control of Tibet. This occupation triggered conflicts between the two nations, resulting in ongoing border disputes that require substantial investments in border security measures. Additionally, this unlawful takeover prompted China to designate Arunachal Pradesh as "South Tibet" on its official maps, a recent development. Moreover, the occupation led to extensive dam construction and diversion of the Brahmaputra River (known as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet), which poses a significant security risk to regions downstream, particularly the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
It's important to highlight that Hindu pilgrims now face restrictions when traveling to Mansarovar Lake in Tibet, where they previously enjoyed unrestricted access during Tibet's independent era. The consequences of the illegal occupation of Tibet are numerous and far-reaching. Therefore, I firmly believe that the disputes between India and China cannot be fully resolved until the Tibet issue is properly addressed, with a priority on safeguarding Tibet's interests to protect India's own interests.
Furthermore, it's worth noting that India and Tibet share a rich history of borders, culture, language, and religion that spans millennia. Given this historical connection, I believe it is important for individuals like me to actively support the Tibetan cause.
You can join in these efforts through the following ways:
1. Set up/join Tibet Support Group in your place and inform the local people about Tibet and the Tibetan people
2. Express support for the Tibetan people’s right to freedom and justice by writing to newspaper and magazines
3. Write to your MP’s/MLAs about Tibet and ask them to raise the issue of Tibet in the Parliament/Assembly.
4. Ask your MP’s and Government to support the Tibetan issue.
5. Urge Government of India to facilitate a meaningful dialogue between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the representative of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
6. Organize a seminar and conference on Tibet
7. Contact India Tibet Coordination Office (ITCO) based in New Delhi for further information on how you can support Tibetan issue or join any Tibet Support Group (TSG)
4. Could you please share the core objectives and key initiatives of the Core Group for Tibetan Cause and how you envision them making a meaningful impact on the Tibetan cause?
The primary mission of the Core Group for Tibetan Cause-India (CGTC-I) is to serve as an independent think tank, a unified representative body, and the central coordinating entity for all Tibet Support Groups (TSG) in India. Our primary goal is to champion the Tibetan cause, aiding the Tibetan people in reclaiming their fundamental human freedoms, human rights, and national dignity. Additionally, the Core Group is dedicated to consistently enhancing the pro-Tibet movement throughout India.
CGTC-I organizes a bi-annual meeting to formulate strategies and follow through with the action plans established during the Tibet Support Group's (TSG) conference. As the Core Group, we initiate various efforts, such as advocating with the Government of India (GoI) and parliament to address the Tibetan issue, advocating for the conferral of the Bharat Ratna upon His Holiness the Dalai Lama, devising plans to expand grassroots support for Tibet, holding press conferences to shed light on the Tibetan issue ahead of significant national and international governmental gatherings, and more. These initiatives have proven highly effective in expanding and fortifying Tibet Support Groups across India and garnering increased support for the Tibetan cause from both governmental and non-governmental entities.
5. As the National Convener, what strategies do you believe are essential for fostering stronger international support and awareness for the Tibetan cause, especially in the face of evolving geopolitical dynamics?
I firmly believe that initiating change should commence at the local level before extending to regional, national, and international spheres. When planning activities and programs, it is crucial to ensure that there is a cohesive and purposeful alignment among these various levels. Coordinating and harmonizing the efforts, energies, and resources of diverse Tibet Support Groups (TSGs) operating at different tiers is of utmost importance. Effective communication and coordination in this regard are essential.
The primary objective here is to elevate the relevance of the Tibetan issue both domestically and on the global stage, as leaders often prioritize short-term economic and business interests, inadvertently overlooking critical matters.
Consequently, maintaining a steadfast commitment to championing the Tibetan cause and raising awareness through various channels, including social media and civil society organizations, becomes paramount. We must continue to engage in discussions about Tibet to ensure that the broader public, especially in India, comprehends the historical significance of Tibet for India, the ongoing consequences of developments in Tibet for India, and the potential future impacts of Tibet-related issues on India.
6. How important do you think is a resumption of dialogue between the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama/CTA leadership and the Government of PRC and how can CGTC facilitate this?
One of the core action plans and resolutions of the Core Group for Tibetan Cause-India (CGTC-I) has consistently been the call for the earnest initiation of dialogue between the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama/CTA leadership and the Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
As the convener of CGTC-I, I firmly believe that India's interests are intertwined with the resolution of the Tibetan issue, and it is essential to prioritize Tibet's interests to safeguard India's own concerns. The peaceful resolution of the Tibetan issue hinges primarily on dialogue and negotiations between the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama/CTA leadership and the Government of the PRC.
CGTC-I has consistently made appeals to the Government of India and various international governmental bodies, employing various methods, to lend their support to the resumption of dialogue. This includes exerting pressure on the Chinese Government and advocating for the passage of a parliamentary resolution in favor of reinitiating the dialogue process.
7. How can awareness about Tibet's cause be raised among the people of the world, particularly Indians?
A continuous and robust grassroots-level awareness and educational campaign are imperative to ensure that elected leaders prioritize the Tibetan issue as a matter of great importance. Organizing workshops, seminars, and conferences that highlight the relevance of the Tibetan issue in the 21st century serves as an effective means to enhance understanding and garner support. Additionally, lobbying and advocacy efforts provide a pathway to engage with influential individuals and leaders.
Promoting dialogue and facilitating discussions on Tibet at international and well-regarded think tanks can serve as another avenue to raise awareness about Tibet on the global stage.
Furthermore, I believe that harnessing the power of social media and technology is vital in countering the propaganda disseminated by the Chinese Government and in helping people grasp the reality and truth of the situation.
8. How had HH the 14th Dalai Lama influenced you?
The 14th Dalai Lama, His Holiness, holds an esteemed position as one of the world's most revered and respected figures. His profound message of love, compassion, warm-heartedness, and altruism has profoundly impacted millions of people worldwide, myself included. His presence has contributed significantly to making the world a better place, and as an Indian, I feel fortunate to reside in a country where His Holiness resides.
I have personally had the privilege of seeking his blessings on several occasions, and every encounter with him exudes a sense of peace in the room. His personality and mere presence have been a source of inspiration, and I continue to draw wisdom from his guidance, which has played a pivotal role in my ongoing journey towards personal growth and becoming a better individual each day.
9. What are the future plans that CGTC has to strengthen the ties between India and Tibet?
CGTC-I is committed to formulating ongoing strategies and implementing a series of programs aimed at fortifying the foundation of Tibet Support Groups (TSGs) in India. Additionally, we aim to strengthen the historical ties and connections between India and Tibet by fostering awareness of the centuries-old bond shared between the two.
Furthermore, CGTC-I will continue to nurture its close relationship with the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and Tibetan non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This collaboration allows us to explore ways in which CGTC-I can actively support the CTA's endeavors toward achieving a peaceful resolution to the Tibetan cause.