For 4 whole days, the capital city of New Delhi and in particular the India International Centre hosted a very special conference that centered around the core irrevocable humane sentiments of freedom.
The 6th International Rangzen Conference is a gathering of more than 4 scores of Tibetans, Uyghurs, Southern Mongolians and Indians who support an Independent (Rangzen) Tibet. The participants came from different nook and corner of the world and for Tibetans it highlighted the vast spread and reach of its diasporic community since being forced to exile after illegal Chinese occupation. “The voice of freedom is one that echoes strongly and based on the current predicament I find it very hard to place hope towards the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Communist party of China led by president Xi Jinping” said Lhagyari Namgyal Dolkar who is an organizing committee member of this conference.
This Rangzen conference had a unique stature and bite to it compared to previous such conferences and that being the composition of speakers and guests especially for the 1st day of the conference. There was, General Manoj Mukund Naravane – the 28th Chief of Army Staff of India, GesheGowoLobsangPhende – Standing Committee member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Ümit Hamid – former Vice-president of World Uyghur Congress, RebiyaKadeer – renowned Uyghur activist and former president of World Uyghur Congress, TemtsiltuShobtsood – president of Inner Mongolian People’s Party and Tenzin Tsundue – Tibetan writer and activist. This diverse range of prominent leaders from different communities came together for this conference and echoed the united message of the atrocities and complete disregard to International Laws that the PRC adheres to and how it is high time to call them out. Many of them even went to the extent of saying that trusting the leadership at Beijing would do more harm than good especially based on the current predicament.
General Naravanestarted the conference and shared his deep connection with the Tibetans, right from his time at the Special Frontier Force and made it very clear to all that “Tibet has been and is the rightful neighbour of India”. He furthermore stated a 2-pronged approach of vertical integration and horizontal stretch to counter Beijing’s narrative and called forth the 1965 division of Tibet into several new provinces that saw many Tibetan territories being integrated with mainland China now.
GesheGowoLobsangPhende, being the official representative from the Tibetan Parliament in Exile stated that having a representative from the Exile Tibetan Democratic polity for this conference is a clear indication of how they support the differing opinions among the Tibetans and illustrates the vibrant democracy practiced here. He further posited that even though the official stand of the Tibetans is the Middle Way Approach the voices of the people and the Tibetans must be catered towards and having such conferences and gathering is one way to achieve it.
RebiyaKadeer and Ümit Hamid shared their own plight of being Uyghurs and how their sisters and brothers in occupied East Turkestan or Uyghuriye (the land of Uyghurs) are being persecuted much like the Tibetans, Southern Mongolians and other occupied nations by Beijing. RebiyaKadeeralso mentionedthe harrowing Halal Organ Transplantation project which China has initiated with Arab countries and they both narrated how all of us under Chinese oppression must continue working together.Ümit Hamid further went on to state that dialogue and negotiations are not the way forward but it is rather instability and violence which would really bring the attention of the PRC.
TemtsiltuShobtsood mentioned very clearly that the Tibetan Independent movement is based for fact and is one that the Tibetans should and always pursue. He also advocated that only separation from the entire PRC framework would bring real independence as his own past experiences of working with Chinese, even the pro-democratic Chinese for that matter has not yielded much but rather in fact has back fired in his opinion. “Most of them adheres towards the ideals of a united and One China firmly whereby Tibet, East Turkestan, Southern Mongolia and Manchuria remain parts of China and under their governance” says Temtsiltu and likewise requested Tibetans to be resilient and strong as their activities and initiatives encourage and inspire other occupied people and nations under Beijing’s thumb.
Tenzin Tsundue being the final speaker laid it clear to all of how the younger generation of Tibetans have more anguish which leads them to desperation, eventually driving them to seek independence. He stressed on the need of a Political Necessity and how it is through this that one gets the needed push to kickstart movements and start their own initiatives. “Tibetans when gunning for Independence can rely on India and foster a governmental relationship much like what India and Bhutan shares now” claimed Tenzin Tsundue when looking for possible alternatives that would support Tibetan Independence.
Following this there were a series of sessions all of which had the participants engaging and sharing their thoughts on a plethora of themes all of which centered around the Rangzen – Independence and countering Beijing’s narratives, which eventually led to the two major declarations brought that were brought from this conference:
The first being the joint declaration of Tibetan, Uyghur and Southern Mongolian Rangzenpa (meaning those individuals who adhere and believe Rangzen), this was called the Delhi Declaration and the major message it had was of the formation of a Common Alliance between these three Chinese occupied nations with the common goal for Independence. Besides this, the declaration called forth in a new wave of advocacy that would be prioritizing sovereigntyabove all else and was proclaimed and jointly signed on 17th August, 2023.
The second was the official declaration of the 6th International Rangzen Conference which called out the harsh atrocities and mass genocide occurring in occupied Tibet since 1949, when the PRC started to illegally annex and invade Tibet. It also gave a brief genesis of the International Rangzen Conference itself and came out with a resolution. With the most significant being the dire need to review the Middle Way Approach, which is the official policy of the Tibetan Government in Exile and inclusion of factual history of Tibet’s Independence and having biographies of Tibetan Martyrs in Tibetan school textbooks.
The conference then concluded with the official announcement of the 7th International Rangzen Conference to be held at Toronto, Canada with the Rangzen member from Canada Tsangdhe Thar confirming this and the Rangzen members from the USA committing their full support towards its organization. Likewise, it saw the selection of new regional heads from different nations and a Research Committee was also formed – they will provide a report on the 7th International Rangzen Conference on the question of “Should a Rangzen based Political party-based organization be formed?”
“Rangzen is a legacy that has been passed on to us by countless generations of Tibetans. But even more significant is that Rangzen is the birthright of generations of Tibetans yet to come. No one now has the right to make a decision that will compromise or deny this heritage of life and freedom to them in the future.” – Jamyang Norbu and this message along with vibrant participation of even Tibetan youths for this conference showcases that even in the darkest light, the cry and yearn for Rangzen and Freedom from Beijing’s rule and governance remains every vigilant.