The Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA) mask is falling apart after 50 years of play acting. More and more, news is emerging of the CTA’s shadowy activities, not only in the exile community but also abroad.

For the longest time, the CTA has hidden behind the cloak of the Dalai Lama who portrays himself as the embodiment of spirituality and ethics; as well as operated leveraging on its image of a victim – a refugee government that has come to symbolize the virtuous Tibetan ‘David’ in his fight against China’s Goliath. Having successfully convinced the world to take pity on it, the CTA has enjoyed decades of uninterrupted and unchecked opportunities to do whatever it wants to, under cover.

Apart from dictatorial and communist regimes, the CTA is the only democratic ‘government’ that has not had to publish any financial statements whatsoever. What it has successfully done however, is to plant deep into the minds of the people of the world, that the Tibetans are afflicted, aggrieved and poor, and therefore need a lot of financial support from the world public. That has kept donations flowing in for decades via the many representative organizations of the CTA, spread around the world.

However, news has recently surfaced which should give cause to doubt this portrayal of the CTA. Take for instance the Tibetan Speaker of Parliament, Penpa Tsering, who was recently questioned in the Tibetan parliament about rumors alleging his involvement in criminal activities. Instead of an investigation, Penpa Tsering is now touted to possibly be the next Prime Minister of the Tibetan government in exile. This alone says a lot about the integrity of the CTA whom the Tibetan people are told to trust.

Other members of the CTA have also been accused of corruption and various crimes and yet nothing has come out of these allegations. Instead, those who have made claims against members of the CTA have been gagged, and then no more is ever heard of again.

Unaccountable and unhindered, the CTA has made a very successful and lucrative business out of being in exile. It has to be asked if the CTA has any genuine intentions of taking real steps to regain Tibetan independence if such an event would mean an end to the free flow of unaudited money into the pockets of the Tibetan leadership.

Over the years, tens and perhaps hundreds of millions have been raised supposedly to preserve Tibetan culture, Tibetan religion, and the welfare of the Tibetan people and yet it is difficult to see the millions raised reflected in the state of the Tibetan people in exile. So where did all the money go?

Rinchen Darlo who heads the Tibet Fund. Who is he protecting by his refusal to speak?

Rinchen Darlo who heads the Tibet Fund. Who is he protecting by his refusal to speak?

Take the ‘Tibet Fund’ for example that comes under the direct control of the CTA. The Tibet Fund was established in 1981 as the main organization to raise funds for the exiled Tibetan community’s welfare. And yet in its last audit, the examiners of the organization’s accounts were not prepared to vouch for the proper financial management of the organization. Tibet Fund Director, Rinchen Darlo, who was appointed by the CTA in 1981 has refused to answer questions pertaining to money matters. What is Rinchen Darlo hiding and who is he protecting – himself or his masters in Dharamsala? [Source: ]

Another organization established by the CTA to collect aid and sponsorship for the Tibetan people in exile is the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) who came into question recently after Maura Moynihan (daughter of United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan) who was an ardent supporter of the Tibetan cause wrote:

…ICT is hardly a cost-effective model of a non-profit organization representing a small, penniless refugee community. Indian government surveys report that 150,000 Tibetan refugees are trapped in disintegrating settlements, with poor, often broken families living on less than $1,500 a year. ICT’s annual operating budget is $3.6 million. ICT’s annual report and Charity Navigator reveal that it spends most of each dollar on overhead, including 44 percent for fundraising… [Source:]

Matteo Mecacci, who runs the ICT, collects millions annually that are unaccounted for. He finds support in Penpa Tsering who has been questioned about his role in certain criminal activities.

Matteo Mecacci, who runs the ICT, collects millions annually that are unaccounted for. He finds support in Penpa Tsering who has been questioned about his role in certain criminal activities.

In short, most if any of the money collected by the ICT does not reach the Tibetan people in whose name the ICT asks for money. Compared to other similar fund raising organizations, the ICT ranks very lowly in terms of transparency and financial accountability. Much of the money it raises go towards vague items such as ‘Program’ and ‘Fundraising’ at 47.1% and 44.5% respectively, and no details are available. Again, it is a mystery where these millions of dollars actually end up. For certain they are not spent on improving the standard of living of the exiled Tibetan people who continue to be neglected. [Source:]

The corruption doesn’t end there. The more one investigates, the more one can observe a consistent pattern of financial irregularities in CTA-related organizations in the West that are set up supposedly to advance the Tibetan cause. And in fact, they are no more than excuses to collect millions of dollars that simply disappear. It is clear that monies collected over the decades did not reach the Tibetan people nor were they utilized to advance the Tibetan Cause. What is unclear is how much has been collected over the years and who ultimately benefitted from so much foreign aid and unaccounted charitable donations.

Recently, it was revealed that the CTA via the Sikyong Lobsang Sangay had hired a US-based lobbyist (amongst the thousands they could have selected) with connections to one Benjamin Wey, a Chinese national whom the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regards as “a master of manipulation” who was recently charged, amongst other things, for fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. [Source:]

Benjamin Wey, bottom left was called a “master of manipulation” by Federal Prosecutors. Wey was also accused of money laundering. Is Wey linked to Lobsang Sangay and the the millions in donations that has been siphoned off? Benjamin Wey, bottom left, the chief of the New York Global Group, was called a “master of manipulation” by federal prosecutors.

Benjamin Wey, bottom left was called a “master of manipulation” by Federal Prosecutors. Wey was also accused of money laundering. Is Wey linked to Lobsang Sangay and the the millions in donations that has been siphoned off? Benjamin Wey, bottom left, the chief of the New York Global Group, was called a “master of manipulation” by federal prosecutors.

The fact that the CTA would engage a lobbyist who has a conflict of interest in serving the Tibetan Cause is itself mind boggling. Some people have raised the question of whether this reflects the CTA’s ineptitude in managing important affairs or if it is a sign of something much more suspicious and grave.

It is difficult to imagine that a Harvard graduate like Lobsang Sangay would miss the fact that the lobbyist he has engaged also serves an agent of the ‘enemy’, as the CTA regards China. In the lobbyist’s website, Benjamin Wey’s New York Global Group’s logo appears alongside the logo of the Office of Tibet. And next to them is the logo of a company called Aristeia Capital who is ‘coincidentally’ linked to one of Lobsang Sangay’s strongest supporters.

An incestuous relationship? All the components required to defraud the Tibetan people and their foreign aid givers are in one place.

An incestuous relationship? All the components required to defraud the Tibetan people and their foreign aid givers are in one place.

And so we have on the one singular platform chosen by the Tibetan leadership, an incestuous relationship – the CTA’s Office of Tibet, a Chinese national known for money laundering, an investment firm owned by the Sikyong’s supporter and millions of financial aid unaccounted for. All the components required to defraud the Tibetan people and their foreign aid givers are in one place. Hiring a small unknown lobbyist was not an accident or a bad choice after all. It was a purposeful connection made by a very corrupt government.

But this is not the only case. In fact, the trail of unaccounted-for monies eventually lands in the vicinity of a few key members of the CTA. What is unfortunate is how desperately the Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala need this aid. But instead of developing better infrastructure that allows them to establish a life with a promising future, we hear instead that their Prime Minister’s significant mortgage was miraculously paid off before his appointment. Instead of having better schools, we see millions being spent on vague ‘administrative’ fees for Tibetan fund-raising organizations around the world. Instead of preserving the Tibetan Buddhist culture, considerable expense is incurred to fly the Tibetan people’s spiritual leader around the world First Class and accommodate him in five-star hotels, and regularly using these overseas trips to spread disharmony amongst the Tibetan Buddhist adherents.

There are simply too many coincidences of impropriety, too many scandals and uninvestigated allegations, and too many ‘accidental’ concurrences between the disappearance of millions of dollars in foreign aid and a CTA known to be brazenly corrupt, to simply say that the CTA makes bad choices as they are an inexperienced government. Perhaps the fact is simply that the CTA is a corrupt business that has made a fortune out of the business of being refugees, and of opposing a China that the imperialistic West would like to curb. Perhaps that explains why, after half a century, the ‘Tibetan Cause’ is still a murky concept and the Tibetan people remain hapless refugees as the world passes them by.

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  1. Eli Buchen

    September 19, 2015 at 8:55 am

    50 years is a long time to continuously receive aid from the Western Countries and Tibetan symphatizers. To me it is reminiscent of PLO again, the organisation headed by Yasser Arafat, billions of donations later the people who are supposed to be helped and benefitted little evidence of that is evident.

    Why no one investigates CTA is anyone’s guess. I do hope more governments would start asking the right questions about the accountability of CTA to the donors.

  2. Jules

    September 19, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    The CTA certainly need to be accountable for what they have done. Various valid information have been published on how their members embezzel the people’s money, and questions on how the current Sikyong have paid off his depts is still unanswered. On top of that, the cta created a ‘religious department’ that instead of looking after the welfare of ALL tibetans, have instead enforced the Shugden ban, depriving a sizable amount of Tibetans in exile from what that was rightfully theirs. Is this what donors and supporters want? That their money is used to discriminate the Tibetans that they so call try to help.

    This is no longer just a matter of how the Shugden practitioners are being marginalized. It is how the current corrupted group of CTA members, not doing their job that was entrusted to them, not only by their own people, but by international groups that have supported them for the last 50 years.

  3. Joo Won

    September 21, 2015 at 10:16 am

    One either totally ignorance or choose to ignore the fact how corrupted and ridiculous a government is and let the corrupted government to continue to eat the money and integrity of a country or community; just because one think “their own race/blood” is more important and with this bondage it will not harm their own people; therefore your own same race brothers and sisters even how bad/corrupted you are going to tolerate until they ruins the whole nation/race.


    Whoever is not their same race is the ENEMY, even though these people are with moral and do no harm to them. Thus, there’s no logic and reasons for people with this kind of thinking.

    And, the ruling elites know the psychology of the people very well, they will continue to “strengthen” or “deepen” the fear of “outside enemy”, and portray themselves as the only savior/hero of the nation or ethnic groups…”minor” mistakes like corruption should be tolerated by their people in order to fight the bigger enemy out there…

    These kinds of political game or psychological game played by many ruling elites in the world not limited to Tibetan world. Thus, Dorje Shugden, DS lamas and practitioners are being blamed as the enemy who “work together” with Chinese Communist government, therefore anyone who did not stand together with Tibetans are their enemy – just because it was said the practice can harmed HH Dalai Lama’s (who is in fact an emanation of Chenrezig) life..No logic and reasoning could ever come in or needed, when propaganda was made to demonized Dorje Shugden and everything about DS as the whole Tibetan world’s enemy.

    Please see the examples of other nations and ethnic groups in the world and how the people lost in the end when political game or psychological games were being played by ruling elites/politicians for their personal agendas … time to wake up.

  4. Olivia

    May 11, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    It’s really sad to know that these poor Tibetans are cheated and exploited by their very own leaders, such a shame on the leadership. They can’t even be fair and transparent about their administration, I have no idea how they are going to make it as leaders to lead the country. This is definitely their biggest downfall, if they do not buck up now, very soon they will lose support from their people as well as support from other countries.

  5. Dharmacrazy

    May 12, 2016 at 2:56 am

    By action, there is no more doubt that the CTA has no intention of freeing Tibet because a Free Tibet will not serve them. As highlighted in the article, the refugee and impoverished status of its people is the selling point of the CTA. This story pulls are the heartstrings of the global society. Adding this selling point to the perfect mascot of peace, the Dalai Lama, the CTA has it all going for them.

    The world wanted to be connected to the icon of peace, tolerance and holiness. Hence, many keep one eye closed and accepted the excuses presented for failures to make any progress towards the Free Tibet cause.

    However, time always reveal the truth and with a CTA that is reckless, arrogant and primitive, pretense cannot go one even with both eyes closed. Even a blind man can tell what is happening. Not only are international leadership figures like Maura Moynihan and Congressman Rohrabacher raising questions and concerns, the new generation of Tibetans are also questioning their leaders. Not only are they questioning, they are speaking up and letting people know what is happening under that cloak. The magic show is coming to an end and with it, I hope one of the greatest poison to humanity planted by the CTA will go away with it: may the ban on Dorje Shugden end with the corruption the CTA is drowning the Tibetan people in.

  6. Amber Sonam

    May 31, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Corruption is a dishonest or fraudulent conduct normally done by those in power, in this case, the CTA, typically involving bribery. This is a sign of a selfish mind that focus solely on personal gain. The CTA receives a huge amount of donation from all around the world for democracy to be formed and benefits to be given to those in need, i.e. the poor Tibetans in need.

    There are many proofs that donations were not being utilised appropriately by CTA. The fact that Tibetan-in-exile is still living in poor conditions is a direct proof of no funds were allocated in making the change. Yet, we see the Sikyong and members of the parliaments looking good and wealthy. Something is very wrong here.

    A governance party is meant to work for the benefits of the people, implementing and improving plans and conditions of the people. The people should be given good public services such as health, education, transportation etc. and these can be done easily in 20 years. The Tibetans have been in exile since 1959, 57 years in total, yet nothing was done to an acceptable or satisfactory level.

    The Tibetans are so used to a serfdom system and too comfortable to think and fight for their rights. This is precisely the CTA can enjoy all the luxury by being in power.

  7. Camilia

    June 17, 2016 at 2:18 am

    If we are to analyze the current plight of Tibetans in exile, a strong plausible thesis would be that the famous Free Tibet cause is merely excuses to collect millions of sympathy dollars from the West. No cause could have fetch the same attention from the West when it comes to opposing China in a subtle way given the history between Tibet and China. It is not unknown the West had vested interest in fanning separationist movements in China.

    So, let’s just for a moment, entertain the hypothesis that Free Tibet is a felony, then we can squarely explain why donations and aids from the West went missing, and coincidentally the mortgage of the Prime Minister has been paid off. We can also explain that why people like Penpa Tsering who has been questioned about his involvement in criminal activities still hold weighty position in the government. We can also explain why there is no diplomatic strategy to reach out to China to reunite the people; well, if Free Tibet is not a valid cause anymore, there will be no more reason to ask for money, isn’t it?

    And the most important part is that we CAN NOW EXPLAIN why Dharamsala leadership never cease to create or instigate fraction in the spiritual communities for example the ban on Dorje Shugden practice, the controversial of Jonang Lineage, the 2 Karmapas and now the restructuring of succession policy in Sakya lineage. So that the naïve public are marred by the disunity in the spiritual world and turn a overpass the crimes by their leaders.

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