Tibetan Exiles Swear In New Leader

The Wall Street Journal reports the inauguration of the new Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile, Lobsang Sangay, who was elected in April.

A 43-year-old Harvard law scholar and son of a guerrilla fighter was sworn in as head of Tibet’s government-in-exile, taking charge of the Tibetan freedom movement from the Dalai Lama, who announced his retirement from his political role in March ….

Mr. Sangay’s appointment is troubling for China because he once belonged to a radical Tibetan youth organization that has advocated violence and still seeks full independence, rather than the autonomy that the Dalai Lama has pursued through nonviolence ….

Mr. Sangay said he personally did not espouse violence, because he thought it was “futile,” but added that he had advocated independence and joined “confrontational” protests during his involvement with the Tibetan Youth Congress.

It is not only the Chinese who are troubled by the transition, however. The Financial Times quoted an unidentified member of the Central Tibetan Administration as saying that “Mr Sangay had attracted resentment by running a cash-fuelled, ‘all-American-style election campaign’ to win office“, reflecting wider anxieties about cultural changes in the diasporic community.

China Real Time posted a set of photos of the ceremony, while a report from Al Jazeera English is available on YouTube:

Read more about Lobsang Sangay, and a recent interview with the Dalai Lama in which he discusses his retirement from politics, via CDT.

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