Tenzin Zompais a Tibetan Journalist in India who worked for ThePrint and has done several reports
on Tibetans and Tibet. Akin to several reporters she has been prevented to report on Tibet because
of systematic intimidation and fear tactic implemented by China over the Tibetans in Tibet under
their governance. This system and structure not only prevent Tibetans inside and outside Tibet to
connect with each other but also gradually leads to a creation of two different Tibet with varying
mindset one under severe oppression and the other enjoying relative freedom. Tibetans who were
brave enough to share the happenings in Tibet to the media have been either silenced, abducted and
even disappeared once known by the Chinese authorities. This practice now not only affects the
people under their direct jurisdiction but have been further magnified by the Overseas Police
stations in sovereign territories as reported by Safeguard Defenders. The session not only engages
upon this very dynamic and evolving tactic by Beijingwith Tenzin Zompa sharing anecdotes of
how she came across this very barrier (inaccessibility of information) when trying to do reports on
Tibet.It also describes her journey to Journalism and how the Tibetan schools in India played a
pivotal in shaping her to opt this profession.
The podcast session with Tenzin Zompasaw her revealing the varying difficulties in procuring news
and reporting from China occupied Tibet, her journey as a journalist and what it means being a
She explained how her schooling in Tibetan Children’s Village has shaped her character and
individual persona. The teachers and staff not only made her and the Tibetans students remember
how they were forced to become refugees but made sure in imparting them how it was India who
heeded our call for asylum hood and continues to help Tibetan. It was in this very school during
her 6th grade that she realized Journalism was her true calling. She wanted to share the truth of
Tibet to the world and that was what prompted here to enter this field.
This gives us a clear indication as to why such Tibetan medium schools are relevant, significant
and needed in India. Because it becomes the agency from where young Tibetans, understand and
grasp the role that India played in looking out for them then and continues to do so even now.
Moving on Tenzin Zompa explained how her time in Lady Shri Ram College (LSR), Delhi
University influenced her greatly. She mentioned “It was difficult at first having to understand and
communicate in English, it was hard to articulate my thoughts in English but gradually things
started to fall in place and the time in LSR was truly magical”. The magical experience that she
emphasizes here, is the plethora of opportunities presented to her that went beyond the class room
lectures and helped in her development.
Showcases how the higher education system has greatly helped shape the minds of Tibetans in
exile and further cementing the notion that university and colleges here are not that far behind those
in western nations, with some even being better in India.
Touching on her journey in the media world, she asserted how it was tough but being a Tibetan
refugee, her resilience helped her out.
However, one thing that really struck her was the inaccessibility of coverage on Tibet. She tried
her best and was able to bring out some reports on Tibet on ThePrint from Tibetan sources in India
who had links in China occupied Tibet. This scenario where Tibetans are barred to connect with
their brothers and sisters in Tibet highlights the high level of censorship applied in Tibet from
Finally, she stresses on how we Tibetans must not rest on our laurels but continue to overcome
obstacles at an accelerated pace and pursue our goals and dreams. On Tibetan women she is of the
opinion that though they have made their mark, more needs to be done in this space. And her
message to Tibetans was “Tibetans need to more consistent in their efforts to work towards their
dream and this is the factor that is most lacking in my Tibetan brother and sisters”.
Conclusion and concise para:
Through the session with Tenzin Zompa, a Tibetan journalist who worked at both Indian and
Tibetan news outlet one can understand many things.
- She narrates how the brutality, oppression and out right discrimination towards the Tibetan
by the Chinese authorities in Tibet prompted and inspired her to take up Journalism because
from this profession she could be their voice and tell the world the truth of what is happening
in China occupied Tibet.
- Even though being a Tibetan in exile who is able to access rights, China’s stronghold over
Tibet prevents these very Tibetans from connecting with their land of origin which has been
occupied by China since 1949. Tenzin Zompa shares how she was stated by her friend in
Tibet to not use her as a source for a report on Tibet.
- This inaccessibility to Tibet for Tibetans in exile ensures China’s narrative, propaganda and
dissemination of false facts continues unchecked. Both to those Tibetans inside Tibet and
Tibetans outside Tibet, which eventually creates a scenario where one cannot know, hear,
see, listen and understand what is really happening in China occupied Tibet.
- It is not that Tibetans in Tibet do not want to report and share the cruel polices implemented
upon them from Beijing. But these very authorities utilize fear, intimidation, arbitrary arrests
and other tactics to prevent Tibetans from reaching out to media, their fellow kin and thereby
keeping them silenced. Those brave enough to speak out has been met with the harsh might
of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that governs China through a stick.
- Getting Tibetans in exile who have family and kin in Tibet to share information on Tibet
has also been becoming more difficult with each passing day. Tenzin Zompa here shares
how when doing a report for ThePrint on Chinese brutality towards Tibetans she had to
literally beg not once but several times before an individual agreed to be the source. This
level of hesitancy from a Tibetan in speaking out the truth is not a one case incident but
rather a phenomenon that has taken already taken roots not because Tibetans do not want to
speak the truth but because the threat from China even engulfs those in exile and free nations.
This is done very meticulously by the Chinese authorities in the sense that they threaten and
even sentence the family in Tibet who has spoken the truth. Such transnational aggression
by China has seen Tibetans even in the western nation of Netherlands being threatened and
intimidated by the illegal overseas Chinese police stations present there.
- Going beyond the inaccessibility to Tibet, Tenzin Zompa here brings to light the importance,
relevance and significance of Tibetan medium schools in India and how they are the
shepherds in letting the coming generation of Tibetan understand the vital role that India
played for Tibet.
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=ryo7ms1cQ40