(TibetanReview.net, Sep22’23) – While much of exile Tibetans waited, although more with pessimism than hope, to see if the 6th session of the 17th Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) will finally be able to amend the Charter of Tibetans in Exile (the Charter) to pave the way for the restoration of the full strength of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC), events took an unexpected turn with a quorum-busting section of its members refusing to take part after the session’s third day.
While an effective functioning of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) hinges on the overdue amendment of the Charter, only 25 (based on headcount of Tibetonline.tv recording seen on YouTube.com) of the 45-member TPiE turned up on the morning of the session’s fourth day. Those absent seemed to include Dotoe and religious constituency members (excluding the Speaker), along with one U-Tsang member.
Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel informed the 25 attending members that the remaining TPiE members had informed him of their inability to take part in further meetings of the session so long as the CTA’s Department of Security failed to “resolve” a controversy which suggested that their colleague, Bonpo religious TPiE member Geshe Monlam Tharchin, may have met with a Chinese embassy staff in a five-star hotel in Siliguri, West Bengal, on Jul 6 this year without any briefing from or debriefing to the CTA as required.
This was vehemently denied by Geshe Monlam Tharchin.
The allegation was first made by U-Tsang member Mr Dawa Phunkyi, who later retracted it, saying he was emotionally provoked by Geshe Monlam Tharchin to make the allegation, which he said was, nevertheless, based on existing reports.
After that, the Department of Security minister, Ms Dolma Gyari, confirmed the existence of reports from a credible source of Geshe Monlam Tharchin being present in the hotel in question on the same day as the Chinese embassy staff, saying the matter was being investigated.
However, she strongly denied that there was any suspicion or investigation as regards any question whether the TPiE member in question was a Chinese spy. The focus of the investigation, she said, was on whether Geshe Monlam Tharchin had met with the Chinese embassy staff in question.
This did not satisfy Geshe Monlam Tharchin and his supporters who wanted an immediate “resolution” of the issue by Ms Dolma Gyari, refusing to wait for the outcome of any investigation. Ms Dolma Gyari being in no position to do so, the remaining TPiE members notified Speaker Sonam Tenphel of their inability to attend the remaining days of the session.
The Charter amendment move has been thwarted so far by more or less the same boycotting members who wanted a controversial summary removal of all the justice commissioners of the TSJC by the previous TPiE to be respected. This would have meant that neither the newly elected Sikyong, the executive head of the CTA, nor the newly elected members of the TPiE could assume office due to the absence of the Chief Justice Commissioner to administer their oath as required by the Charter.
Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel informed the 25 attending members and the Kashag members that he would inform them if and when it becomes possible to resume the remaining days’ meetings of the current TPiE session.