(TibetanReview.net, Aug31, 2016) – The 16th General Body Meeting (GBM) of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the largest non-governmental, grassroots Tibetan organization, began in Dharamshala, India, on Aug 28 with the likelihood of putting up for discussion the amendment of its founding objective of fighting for Tibet’s independence. This is because some of the India-based chapters of the TYC had earlier broken away to demand that the group give up the campaign for independence and conform to the exile Tibetan administration’s call for autonomy for an ethnographically unified Tibet under Chinese rule.
Two of them were reported to have recently rejoined on condition that their contentious demand will be discussed during the weeklong GBM. Related to this will be a debate to amend the objectives of the TYC, the first of the four of which enjoins its members to serve Tibet and its people “under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama”. This is seen by some as contradictory to the fourth objective which says the TYC will campaign for Tibet’s independence” since the Dalai Lama only advocates for autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule, although not opposing those demanding independence on historical ground.
Chief guest Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, was reported to have emphasized the importance of respecting opinions, whether for middle-way or independence, so long as they are all in the interest of the Tibetan people and the future of Tibet.
Also, former exile Tibetan administration minister Kirti Rinpoche was reported to have said TYC should try to represent the aspirations of all Tibetan youths in Tibet and exile and try to make its decision accordingly.
Around 200 delegates from 40 TYC regional chapters are attending the GBM. The three-yearly GBM will elect a new Central executive Committee (CENTREX).
Founded in 1970, TYC today boasts of around 30,000 members and some 87 regional chapters in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Norway, Canada, France, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, and the USA while the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (Switzerland) is affiliated to it.