Dharamshala, India — A conversation with Tenzing Jigme, the president of Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) has brought closer to the readers an unshakable resistance put up by the members of TYC so far for a free Tibet one day from the shackles of the communist-totalitarian regime in China.
As one of the largest NGOs in exile, its aims and tireless efforts put forward to achieve the freedom of Tibet to date and hope for the long future. An organization greatly feared by the Chinese government and TYC’s high leveled successful, peaceful protests against the communist government of China time and again.
TPI: Could you please introduce yourself and what you do and the purpose of TYC’s establishment?
Interviewer: My name is Tenzing Jigme. I am the president of the Tibetan Youth Congress. TYC is one of the oldest and largest Tibetan NGOs in exile. It was formed on 7th October 1970. That time a lot of young Tibetans living in Dharamshala came together over a couple of meetings and decided to form an organization so that youths and all other Tibetans living in India could have a platform to serve the cause of the nation.
TPI: Why doesn’t TYC associate themselves with any religion or political ideology?
Tenzing Jigme (TJ): When the organization was formed, one of our main goals/principal aims was to be fair and balanced. We will not discriminate on the basis of sex, religion, and regional background. It is very important as once you have an organization that is open to all and inclusive of all then we will be more productive in our work. If it associates with any religion, sect, and regional background then there is a danger of forming factions within our organization. Therefore, it is an organization that is formed for, by, and run solely by Tibetans.
TPI: How big do you think the Tibetan Youth Congress is today?
TJ: Presently, we have 88 chapters all across the world. Our chapters are mainly based in India, Nepal, and Bhutan then we also have chapters in North America, Canada, Taiwan, Australia, Japan, and Europe. Including all these chapters, it should be over 80 chapters. We have around thirty-eight thousand members around the world.
TPI: Can you briefly explain the objectives of your various campaigns?
TJ: The works we do are kind of divided into three different categories, social work, the preservation of our language, culture, and religion, and finally the political campaigns. Social work includes working in the community at the grass-root level, from helping the old and sick to the needy ones as well as providing assistance during teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. With the gathering of huge numbers of people during the teachings, we do social works.
Then the preservation of our language is one of the most important things to do, in order to do that we have various campaigns, and organize workshops and training. As for political campaigns that are based on non-violence principles and direct action campaigns we have which include indefinite hunger strikes, peaceful marches, protests, and bike rallies also advocacy works for Tibet.
TPI: What has TYC done for the Tibetan cause and any message you would like to share with the public?
TJ: Tibetan Youth Congress is considered one of the most important or precious organizations in exile by Tibetans living inside Tibet as well as Tibetans in exile. The reason is that over 50 years this organization is able to continuously sustain the resistance movements for Tibet at a very high level even the Chinese government has bluntly and forcefully actually has mislabeled us a terrorist organization!
The work that we do is definitely very effective that is why this organization is considered very important and precious. Till now this organization has done various campaigns and until the issue of Tibet is solved, this organization must exist and must continue the movement for a free Tibet.