In this exclusive interview feature, we have the honor of sitting down with Mr. Gonpo Dhondup, the President of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), as we observe the organization's 53rd founding anniversary on the 7th of October. As a prominent leader and advocate for Tibetan rights and freedom, Mr. Dhondup brings a wealth of experience and insight to the discussion. Throughout his tenure as President, TYC has been at the forefront of the Tibetan independence movement, and Mr. Dhondup's leadership has played a pivotal role in shaping the organization's strategies and initiatives. Join us as we delve into his perspectives, goals, and the continued dedication of TYC to the cause of a free Tibet.
1. On August 8, 2023, right before the G20 meeting held by the Government of India, the Tibetan Youth Congress arranged a protest event in New Delhi. How do you believe this protest event impacted both China and the global community?
We recently organized a protest campaign in New Delhi during India's hosting of the G20 summit. It's important to clarify that our protest was not against India hosting the G20 but rather aimed at raising concerns about China's participation in the event. Whenever there is a delegation or a visit by leaders from the Chinese Communist Party or the Chinese government in any free nation, we feel it is our responsibility to advocate for the rights and voices of the Tibetan people.
Our actions have had a significant impact, not only on China but also on the global community. China has to face the reality that Tibetans will continue to stand up for themselves. We have witnessed a notable increase in the activism and resistance movements among the Tibetan people, who are denied basic freedoms, including the right to assemble, within Tibet. Through digital media and news platforms, we have been working diligently to connect with the global community, particularly with the general public. These efforts have indeed resonated with people worldwide and have contributed to raising awareness about the plight of the Tibetan people and the need for greater freedom and human rights in Tibet.
2. Could you please highlight some significant accomplishments of the Tibetan Youth Congress since its establishment in 1970?
The very existence of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) is a remarkable achievement in itself. Despite China's repeated attempts to label TYC as a terrorist organization and their efforts to undermine and discredit the organization, TYC has remained resilient and strong. This year, as we mark and celebrate its 53rd founding anniversary, it becomes evident that the organization's endurance is a significant accomplishment.
Throughout its history, TYC has undertaken various political campaigns and provided essential social services. It has also nurtured numerous leaders and activists. Over the past five decades, TYC has achieved numerous accomplishments and milestones, contributing to the Tibetan cause and representing the aspirations of Tibetan youth.
3. Could you please highlight some significant accomplishments of the Tibetan Youth Congress since its establishment in 1970?
In the realm of politics, the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) has been proactive in advocating for Tibet's just cause. One of our strategies has been to organize hunger strikes aimed at garnering international support and attention for Tibet's plight. Additionally, we have orchestrated numerous Peace March rallies to emphasize various Tibetan issues on the international stage, and we have received substantial support from the global community.
Furthermore, TYC has played a vital role in nurturing and inspiring young individuals with a strong sense of nationalism, encouraging their participation in various campaigns and initiatives organized by the Tibetan Youth Congress. This approach has expanded our reach and invigorated the younger generation to engage in the Tibetan cause actively.
4. Could you share your emotions as we commemorate the 53rd anniversary of the Tibetan Youth Congress, and also recount your most cherished day or event within the TYC?
Over the past 53 years, there have been numerous memorable events and incidents that hold a special place in my heart and in the hearts of my fellow activists involved in the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC). Many members of the TYC Central Executive, Regional Executive, and active members have their own cherished memories and emotions connected to their active participation in various movement activities and campaigns.
One of the most recent and significant events that stands out for me is the month-long Peace March held in the Northeast. This march was organized to shed light on the dire situation in Tibet and to garner support for Tibet during the G20 meeting. It took place in various locations across northeastern India and served as a powerful platform to raise awareness and rally support for Tibet. These are the moments that resonate deeply with activists like me and reinforce our commitment to the cause.
5. In what ways does TYC engage with Tibetan youth, both within and outside of Tibet, to empower them and encourage their involvement in the cause?
Through our active engagement in political activism and various initiatives, the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) sends a powerful message to Tibetans inside Tibet, especially the younger generation. We want them to know that we have not forgotten our cause and remain steadfast in our commitment to achieving our rightful independence. Our actions serve as a reminder that the fight for Tibet's freedom continues. We strive to provide encouragement and hope to Tibetans inside Tibet, assuring them that there is an ongoing struggle for their rights and freedom. The young Tibetan activists outside Tibet, including those in TYC, are dedicated to carrying out resistance activities against the Chinese government.
Together, we are unwavering in our mission to work tirelessly for the cause of a free Tibet and to support the aspirations of Tibetan youth both inside and outside Tibet.
6. Looking ahead, what are TYC's plans and priorities for the future in terms of advancing the Tibetan cause and supporting Tibetan rights and freedom?
The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) operates as a structured organization with a clear mandate and a set of activities. We hold annual meetings every year and general body meetings every three years. These meetings result in resolutions that guide the actions of the Central Executive Committee and all regional chapters. These resolutions are binding, and it's the responsibility of TYC leadership to implement them.
In addition to the formal meetings, TYC follows a calendar of activities that include at least 14 different initiatives each year. These activities encompass political campaigns, political lobbying efforts, and various demonstrations aimed at advocating for Tibetan rights and freedom.
Beyond its political engagements, TYC is actively involved in social service campaigns. These campaigns have not only gained popularity within the Tibetan community outside Tibet but have also made an impact inside Tibet. TYC members are often recognized as "yellow warriors" because when we organize social services and political campaigns, we wear yellow jackets, symbolizing our commitment to these causes. This recognition extends to Tibetan areas where TYC is known for its dedicated efforts to serve and support the Tibetan people.
TYC has planned a series of events to commemorate this occasion, including gatherings of the Central Executive Committee and Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC) in Dharamshala, as well as functions organized by original chapters in various locations. This global celebration is a testament to TYC's commitment and its widespread presence.
7. Could you share some insights into the special events or initiatives TYC has planned to commemorate its foundation anniversary on the 7th, and how the organization aims to continue its mission in the future?
TYC will continue to follow the four major objectives that guide its mission:
Working under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama: This reflects TYC's commitment to following the spiritual and moral guidance provided by His Holiness in its pursuit of Tibetan rights and freedom.
Maintaining unity among Tibetan people: Unity is a cornerstone of TYC's efforts, emphasizing the importance of solidarity among Tibetans in the quest for their rights and independence.
Preserving and promoting Tibetan culture and identity: TYC recognizes the significance of preserving Tibetan culture, language, and heritage, ensuring that they thrive for future generations.
Working for the restoration of complete independence for Tibet: The ultimate goal of TYC is the restoration of Tibet's complete independence, and this objective remains central to its mission.
With these four objectives in mind, TYC will continue to engage in various forms of political activism, social services, and the nurturing of young Tibetan leaders and activists. Additionally, TYC will actively organize campaigns to preserve and promote the rich culture and identity of the Tibetan people, advancing its cause with determination and purpose.
8. How can individuals who are interested in supporting the Tibetan cause get involved with or contribute to the efforts of the Tibetan Youth Congress?
The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) has a significant and far-reaching call, which is the independence of Tibet from the Chinese Communist government. Achieving this goal requires a coordinated effort and support from a wide range of individuals and organizations. TYC is extending an appeal to all friends and well-wishers to join in this call for Tibetan independence. By joining hands with TYC and supporting their call for Tibetan independence, individuals from around the world can contribute to this important cause and help bring attention to the aspirations of the Tibetan people.
9. How has the Tibetan Youth Congress evolved and grown since its inception, as you approach the upcoming foundation anniversary today?
As the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) observes its 53rd founding anniversary, there is much to be proud of and grateful for. TYC has grown and evolved since its inception, and approaching this important milestone on the 8th of October, it is evident that the organization has been blessed by the guidance and vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
TYC's very foundation was laid as per the visionary ideas and guidance of His Holiness, and the organization has always operated under his blessing. Additionally, TYC has received consistent support from the Tibetan diaspora, both in terms of physical assistance during various campaigns and emotional and spiritual support from Tibetans inside Tibet.
Moreover, TYC has garnered the well-wishes and support of friends and well-wishers who are not Tibetan but align with the organization's mission. This support from both within and outside the Tibetan community has sustained TYC since its inception, enabling it to continue its vital work in advocating for the Tibetan cause and striving for a free and independent Tibet.