If you have been following the Lukar Jam saga, you will know that Lukar Jam Atsok is a vocal freedom fighter for Tibet’s complete independence. He is also a former political prisoner of China and ran for the position of Sikyong against incumbent Sikyong Lobsang Sangay in the 2016 Tibetan elections. However, instead of welcoming him as a comrade-in-arms and fighting hand-in-hand for their country’s future, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has treated him like an enemy of the state, even going to the extent of condemning the poem he recently wrote as a tribute to a cherished friend and fellow activist, the late Professor Elliot Sperling.

Why? Because the CTA’s warped idea of democracy is a situation where everyone must conform and abide to the leadership’s ideas and opinions. In the CTA’s version of democracy, those who voice out different opinions, no matter how valid or legitimate, are labeled as traitors, Chinese spies and anti-Dalai Lama. The Tibetan government in exile is also known to use various methods of intimidation to threaten, scare and coerce its opponents into submission. Such undemocratic and often violent intimidation is targeted at individuals such as Lukar Jam Atsok, who passionately advocates for true democracy for Tibet, and groups such as Dorje Shugden practitioners who chose to follow their spiritual path.

In the case of Dorje Shugden practitioners, Dorje Shugden has been made a scapegoat for the CTA’s failures to further the Tibetan cause. In the case of Lukar Jam, he has been verbally attacked, refused service in restaurants and recently was the victim of violent vandalism. His private car had its windows smashed in an unwarranted act of violence to intimidate him into silence and to punish him for supposedly disrespecting His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

No one from the CTA has spoken against the perpetrators of this crime, clearly indicating their stance on the matter. There can be no other explanation other than that they too hope to silence voices of reason, independence and democracy, no different to what the CTA accuses China of.

The price Lukar Jam Atsok has had to pay for creative license in his tribute to the late Professor Elliot Sperling

While pro-CTA and Dalai Lama loyalists choose to ignore the real issues plaguing their government-in-exile and their lack of progress in gaining independence or even autonomy for their country, Tibetans citizens are beginning to realize what is actually happening or rather, not happening, with their country. Since my last report, more and more Tibetans have come forward to take a stand despite risks to their person. In the recent article “Lukar Jam Atsok, The ‘People-Elected’ Opponent of The Dalai Lama”, the writer Jigme Wangchuk made an astute and chillingly worrying observation:

Attack on writers and critiques are akin to Chinese troops subjecting ‘separatists’ to imprisonment. If not for the law of the land which seemingly holds justice against people deprived of identity, how volatile will be the situation then; how unabashed will be the naysayers?

Clearly, the CTA’s undemocratic actions have not gone unnoticed and parallels between their actions and China’s are bound to be drawn. Despite being refugees in a foreign land for the last six decades, the government in exile sees themselves as being above the local law and have been instrumental in numerous criminal vendettas against their own citizens.

All this is done on the pretext of protecting the Tibetan cause although in truth, it is only to protect their own interests. Imagine what would happen if the CTA were given a free hand to rule Tibet? For sure, Tibetans would be subjected to the CTA’s own brand of democracy – one that lacks even the most basic human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

Violence is not disagreement, it is violence. ~ Jigme Wangchuk,

If the CTA still wishes to remain in power, they should start practicing real democracy and focus their resources on uniting Tibetans instead of creating further division and wasting resources by spreading lies and harassing individuals and groups. Indeed, who would want a government whose idea of democracy includes the suppression of one’s freedom of speech as seen in Lukar Jam’s case, or elaborate hate campaigns against religious groups as seen in the case of Dorje Shugden?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has made it clear that he is unaffected by his critics. However, pro-CTA loyalists continue to adopt a holier-than-thou attitude and dictate with an iron fist what can and cannot be said about the Dalai Lama. This type of oppression will be the cause of the CTA’s eventual downfall. Tibetan independence remains elusive even after 60 years, and freedom of speech and expression has not improved a whit.

Click to enlarge. Extracted from

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  1. James P.

    March 31, 2017 at 11:01 am

    This is extremely disappointing people like Lobsang Sangyal who is a Harvard graduate, who has been abroad and understand the fundamentals of democracy would condone to such acts of silencing the opposing voice. CTA has always said that China violates the human rights, but in all fairness, how is CTA different from China? If CTA can oppress the Tibetans for the sake of so called “benefits” of Tibetans, then why can’t China do the same?

    I really hope CTA will never be able to independence because it will do more harm to their people instead of bring benefits.

    The only reason I can think of, is “leaders” in CTA is genuinely only interested in their own welfare at the expense of their people.

  2. Cleisthenes

    March 31, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Freedom – the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

    Democracy – a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

    CTA – None of the above.

  3. Veritas

    March 31, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    The late Professor Elliot Sperling who is the subject of Lukar Jam’s tribute was also a thorn in the CTA’s and Lobsang Sangay’s flesh. Lobsang Sangay is pale in comparison to Professor Elliot who exemplifies comprehensive research, a deep sense of the truth and fearlessness.

    From Wikipedia:

    Professor Sperling was one of the world’s leading historians of Tibet and Tibetan-Chinese relations and a MacArthur Fellow. He was a visiting professor at Harvard University in 1992/93.

    In his research, based predominantly on original, primary sources in Tibetan and Chinese, Sperling focused on questions of sovereignty and boundaries; on types of political, social, and familial authority; on Chinese policy toward Tibet; and on the complicated roles of Tibetan officials in the service of both Tibetan and Chinese governments.

    He wrote about bureaucrats, monks, mediators, and envoys to the Tangut, Yuan, Ming, and Qing courts, and his research covered many periods, ranging from the ninth century to the present. In addition to his focus on the Ming period, Sperling is especially recognized for his interventions on the study of the Tangut people, on Mongol presence in and influence on Tibet in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, on the reign of the Fifth Dalai Lama and other eminent personalities of his era, and on Tibet’s status under the Qing.

    “Sperling has been a judicious voice in increasingly less discerning times.

    He has censured (including during appearances in China) the Chinese government’s oppressive policies in Tibet.

    He has criticized the Dalai Lama and Tibet’s government-in-exile (also during appearances in India) for giving up on Tibetan independence and for their ignorance of China’s real positions.

    He has rejected the Tibetophiles’ view of Tibet as an unspoiled bastion of pure spirituality. And he never had much patience for scholars who easily become groupies of academic fashions.”

    Sperling also was a champion of human rights. Most recently, his public engagement was exemplified in the case of Ilham Tohti. Tohti, a Uyghur professor of economics at Minzu University in Beijing, was to spend a year at Indiana University—at the university’s invitation—in 2014 as a visiting professor. He was detained in the Beijing airport, just prior to boarding his flight to Indianapolis, on charges of “separatism” (charges that were characterized as completely made up by the U.S. State Department, the European Union, and many other international bodies) and has since been sentenced by the Chinese government to life imprisonment. Sperling became one of the most outspoken individual voices arguing for Ilham Tohti’s innocence and release.

  4. Daniel B

    March 31, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    The day the CTA’s wall crumble will be the day hope resumes for the Tibetan people. All Lobsang Sangay’s CTA has done for almost 60 years is to keep the Tibetan people as refugees with not much options because that’s the raison d’etre for an otherwise useless, purposeless and stateless ‘government’.

    The silver lining to the Lukar Jam’s saga is that now it becomes clear how the Tibetan leadership has shaped the mentality of the people – on the one hand, they demand freedom and purport to be a democracy that Western nations owe a duty to. But on the other hand, the democracy label is simply a bait to lure kind hearted people into parting with their money. Accordingly more Tibetans are voicing their concern now than ever.

    This is crucial given the course towards oblivion that the CTA is steering the Tibetans-in-exile towards. It is one thing for the Tibetans to lose their country to an external enemy. Painfully but arguably that is just geography. It is quite another for the Tibetans to lose themselves, their culture and any hope of the future, to the CTA’s corruption and malpractice.

  5. bambi

    April 4, 2017 at 10:23 am

    This is really typical! How embarrassing to be part of the such community! Its always about violence, discrimination and injustice of which nothing can’t be done until the day HHDL and the minor CTA do something about it. Why can’t there be freedom of speech and freedom to practice?

    Your Holiness, as the ‘leader’ of the community should do something about it. Why can’t you just tell ALL the anti Dorje Shugden people to stop discriminating Dorje Shugden practitioners? This was what you said :
    “I hear that some people report that I have said no one should do the practice of Dolgyal. That is not what I say. There are problems with the practice, which I know from my own experience, and that’s why I recommend people not to do it. But if someone wants to do it, they can. There are monks today in monasteries adjacent to Ganden and Sera who specifically follow the practice.” taken from

    So is the statement above considered to be just another lie? Are we allowed freely or with prejudice?

    As for Lukar Jam, I am sorry that you and your family are going through much fear and discrimination for that one little poem that people are so obsessed about till now. Hope that you and your family will be safe from harm.

  6. Tenzin K

    April 4, 2017 at 10:35 am

    There is no democracy with CTA. The name of democracy is a cover to look nice in the eye of the world for them to look for funding. We can see from the action taken by CTA if their people doesn’t go in line with them they will create harm and violent towards the people.

    So many cases we have witness from Dorje Shugden ban and now the recent incident on Lukar Jam where his car window was smashed. Lukar Jam is a patriotic Tibetan that fight for Tibetan freedom. Instead of working with him hand-in-hand, CTA penalised him with violent just because of his poem which CTA claim as disrespecting His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

    It’s sad to see that CTA is still operating dictatorship and I feel so barbaric. They keep splitting their people and taken away their religious freedom and human rights. How can CTA be strong, show good democracy example and gain trust from the world to fight for their freedom?

    All their negative actions have been detailed out and the people around the world are reading them. Even the young and educated tibetan can’t tolerate the act of CTA by questioning them and even issue an open letter. I’m glad that the Tibetan younger generation can see this and this shows that there are hope but this hope will be vanish if CTA don’t realise it now because the time is running out for them to gain the best interest for the people now if they keep making enemy with China and splitting their own people using Dorje Shugden as a scapegoat instead of giving religious freedom to unite the Tibetan and with this act it also show that CTA is a non genuine democracy governance that didn’t respect their people choices.

    CTA should let go their selfish interest and look for a bigger picture to find logical and practical way to safeguard and protect their people.

  7. Geraldine Sarie

    April 4, 2017 at 11:12 am

    What sort of leadership is this? CTA is completely too much and outrageous. How could they attack their own people because of one voice unintentionally speak out. What human rights are there for Tibetan people? More people are leaving from this so-call “country” as they feel fear and hopeless on their leadership management.

  8. vajra-NMD

    April 4, 2017 at 11:20 am

    After reading this article, i am doubt that CTA doesn’t know (What is Representative Democracy?)

    And i go for Google search and found out :

    How Is Representative Democracy Defined?
    Simply put, a representative democracy is a system of government in which all eligible citizens vote on representatives to pass laws for them. A perfect example is the U.S., where we elect a president and members of the Congress. We also elect local and state officials. All of these elected officials supposedly listen to the populace and do what’s best for the nation, state or jurisdiction as a whole.

    For a representative democracy to work, there are several conditions that have to be met. First, there has to be an opportunity for genuine competition in the selection of leadership (if people think that elections are rigged, or predetermined, there can be no meaningfully honest competition). Second, there has to be free communication, both among the people and in the press. Third, voters have to believe that a meaningful choice exists between candidates and that differences in policy are honestly reflected in each. The degree to which these three factors are present go a long way to determining the effectiveness of a representative democracy.

    Full article from other website :

  9. Pema

    April 4, 2017 at 11:22 am

    It is embarrassing that the CTA is behaving like this against Lukar Jam who was imprisoned and mistreated by China. It clearly shows that their own people do not count much to the Central Tibetan Administration, previously Tibetan Government in Exile.

    How and on what basis can a public person like Lukar Jam be attacked and refused service? The same for Dorje Shugden practitioners, how and on what basis are they refused service in hospitals, restaurants, shops, and even in monasteries. This is against democracy and religious freedom. So, in fact it is not about Dorje Shugden practitioners but as it seems there are personal agendas which use Dorje Shugden and Lukar Jam for their own personal benefit.

    So, what is the CTA doing for their people? What is their “raison d’être” if not for all the Tibetans?

    Sad to say but true: “Attack on writers and critiques are akin to Chinese troops subjecting ‘separatists’ to imprisonment. ” Instead of being proud of intellectuals who discuss things and reveals different angles, the CTA feels threatened and punished them wherever they can. So, what is there to hide? I guess a lot!

    So many people have supported and still support the Tibetan Cause but I doubt that they will be successful if the Tibetans are misused by their very own government.

  10. samayakeeper

    April 4, 2017 at 11:58 am

    It doesn’t matter what good and sacrifice one has done for the country but one wrong word, statement, action, and that person is branded a dissident, a traitor, a Chinese spy, a demon worshipper. This man just composed a prayer and a eulogy for a dearly departed friend and all hell broke loose. And the CTA say there’s no ban on Dorje Shugden practice and there’s religious freedom. CTA called themselves a democratic government in exile yet when one person said or wrote something that they think was directed at the Dalai Lama and them, immediately they reacted and branded that person as what I mentioned above. Ridiculous.

  11. Belinda Mae

    April 4, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I really think that the CTA is wasting time and resources in dividing the Tibetan people. The CTA should practice democracy if they really want to help their own people and to unite them. How can a disunite country have growth in their economy? There still might have some minority people who does not have proper education that will listen and follow blindly what the CTA says. As for those who have gone to school and they know what is wrong and right, they would not have support the CTA’s actions towards their own people. CTA might as well change for the better now before it is too late to turn back.

  12. Richard LakTam

    April 4, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    This CTA really thinks that they are a valid government and can do anything to their own people. This is really ridiculous. They are only a bunch of exile refugees who reside in other country and form their own association. It’s only an ASSOCIATION. Yet, they think they can impose all the rules and call themselves democracy??? They are too much to impose those ridiculous on their own people. Especially to those Dorje Shugden Practitioners. And now, they do whatever they like to simply ban people who they THINK is against them. Those who reside in India has no choice, but to comply to CTA. To be honest, a so called government, who can’t protect their people who got harassed by the Gaddi, who got abused by the Gaddi, who can’t even protect their own CTA office, deserve a respect? I don’t know about Tibetan, but to me, those who still stand with CTA and follow blindly, I think they deserve a big slap and wake up. It is in fact a good news that people in Tibet start not to follow CTA blindly. A so called government that doesn’t benefit any of their people but keep creating problem to separate their own people will never get support from their own people. People support them is because they are scared that they got banned like Lukar Jam and Dorje Shugden practitioners.

  13. Tianni

    April 4, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    CTA said they are democracy. And freedom of speech is the cornerstone of democracy. However CTA will tell you “Well, you have free speech. But you don’t have free speech if you say things we don’t like to hear.” The evidence of CTA’s “freedom of speech “ is now in the shattered remains of Lukar Jam’s car. What will be the next? Will Lukar Jam be safe?

    The way CTA protecting Dalai Lama looks like more on protecting their personal interest. Even though the Dalai Lama has made it explicitly clear that he is not affected by his critiques, however Tibetan Leadership still making decision that what will be allowed to be said about the Dalai Lama and what will not be allowed. Whenever people criticising the Tibet policy, it will always ended up with anti-Dalai Lama or Chinese spies.

    Furthermore how to rely on a government who ban the Dorje Shugden Practice, this action already shown us that there is no religious freedom which religious freedom is the most basic human right. Who want the government that can’t even give you the basic human right?

  14. Dennis Low

    April 4, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    In the history, not even a single country can be successful when they used religion for their political gain. It is one of the most foolish decision when you use religion as an excuses to expel someone who is highly educated and can be a great contributor to the country development, it is really such a shame for the CTA to him kick out due to their narrow and shallow mind, when a country leader operate with such tiny miny mind, how can they develop a country?

    CTA is going down and eventually when it collapse, it will be the greatest news, because the Dorje Shugden practitioners and the innocent people like Lukar Jam will be freed from life threatening.

  15. Wisdommind

    April 4, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Tibetan government of exile after 60 year holding their power has gone worst and worst treating their own Tibetan people. Instate bring democracy for tibet to be independent. CTA themselve creating more fiasco divining their own people from them have freedom of speech and religion practice.what type of democracy policy CTA has set yet when people said something are not follow accordingly. People get attack and hurt after they speech. Seriously what CTA has done are humiliating tibetan people to the lower point until they no speech freedom and just follow instruction.

  16. Vajra10

    April 4, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    APeople seem to have misunderstand the real meaning of democracy and claim that they are part of it but in fact they are not even close to it. In this case, even though we are the supporters of H.H Dalai Lama, we should respect others who are not, everyone has their own thoughts and we have to power to control, force them by threatening them. It’s an act of coward and will never gain faith from more.

    There was an interview with H.H Dalai Lama, H.H said that he do not wants to give advise or ask his supporters to stop doing things that are not right because he worries that people will feel guilty or sad once they know they are not doing the right things that H.H would like.

    The link of the full interview is as following:

    I think it’s a selfish act because H.H do not wants to hurt his supporters’ feeling by telling them they are wrong when doing things that have been hurting themselves and others, at the same time, people who are innocent are getting the side effects of it.

  17. Fan Jing Jing

    April 4, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    For my understanding, Tibet was never a democratic country before 1959. It was ruled by an emperor called H.H. the Dalai Lama and his ministers for hundreds of years. He was also the king of Dharma. What was practiced in the court was religion and politics together. It was all alright because nobody dare to say anything about it nor have an opinion about it. Everybody focused on Buddhism practices and livelihood. During that time it was all alright because it was how they were brought up. But today, everybody is free to share their thoughts and opinion, free to learn from each other, free to discuss openly even what their right to question their own government. We talk about human right, freedom and humanity. So, CTA cannot continue to control Tibetans as 60 decades before anymore. Tibetans now are highly educated. They saw what happened to their own community and the problems and what happened behind the CTA. CTA cannot claimed as democratic but act crazily without concerning their people. CTA should stop this already. Stop the ban of Dorje Shugden and unite all Tibetans.

  18. Camillia

    April 8, 2017 at 6:13 am

    I am not sure which is more saddening after reading this article; the way CTA treats its own people or the total oppression of freedom of expression. The alarming fact is how violence hurled towards Lukar Jam Atsock is condoned by CTA. Does this not effectively make CTA a defacto gangster or mafia organization? Who govern the subjects using fear and threats, whip swaying subjects into place through violence tactics often means cutting off their chance to jobs and security. How different is life under the CTA from life under mafia/gangster rule?

    Oh yes, this is a gangster organization. Funded by the West and taking orders out of the Dharamsala office. Tibetan people living under this ruling should think hard and long about their future. Take a look at how your families or friends living in Tibet, China now. With the prosperity and religious freedom that is allowed in China, Tibetan can have a better life in China compared to living under CTA.

  19. SabrinaS

    April 9, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    There will come a day soon when CTA becomes insignificant and invalid if they don’t change the way they govern. Firstly they have no country to govern over since they are ‘guests/refugees’ under the hospice of the Indian government. Secondly as more Tibetans in Exile leave the refugee settlements for better and brighter future, their exposure to democracy will make them realise the great lacking of freedom in every aspect of CTA’s rule. And with China currently the ‘darling’ of World Leaders as they scramble to sign agreements, CTA’s Tibetan cause will fall more and more into obscuration.

    I must say I like the Meme where Sikyong Lobsang Sangay received the red card to go back to Harvard for further classes in history. How apt, especially when CTA under his guidance is actively working to forget the deeds of protector Dorje Shugden that had safeguarded Lama Tsongkapa’s pure lineage teachings and practices to be propitiate to the masses. Then again, since CTA have no use for Dharma going by the policies they implement which lead to much sufferings to their people and Dorje Shugden practitioners worldwide, they are obviously not concern of their practices nor belief in the effects of karma. With the current luxurious lives they lead now on sponsorship monies, CTA don’t realise their karma will soon arise as more of their sponsors are taking to working closely with China, even their biggest sponsor, USA. Even President Trump welcomed the Chinese President to his personal retreat as a friend. Maybe a trip back to Harvard will help Sikyong to wake up from his ignorance and guide CTA to a better future.

  20. Pete

    May 1, 2017 at 12:22 am

    So called a ‘democratic’ country huh? Sikyong should probably look up for the word “democracy”. It’s ridiculous how the Tibetan leadership act, at this rate, they can never get Tibet back from China, so don’t even talk about Free Tibet and all that.

    More and more countries are strengthening their ties with China, Tibet can never win. No one is willing to take the risk of upsetting China. Mongolia has refused the Dalai Lama to step into their country and US now has openly befriended China, the CTA has no one to lean on now. I wonder what is going to happen next…

  21. Dondrup Shugden

    July 3, 2017 at 5:23 am

    While reading the oppression on Lukar Jam Atsok, it dawned on me that CTA is not only undemocratic but in a acute state of paranoia. Paranoia because being educated at Harvard, Lobsang Sangyal, has the intelligence to see the signs of irrelevance in his governance. And worst still is to know that the time for reversibility is over. For him it would be the demise of the goose who lays the golden egg ie the Tibetan cause and Tibetan freedom.

    At the same time, my deepest regrets that a man for the Tibetan people, Lukar Jam Atsok is not given the opportunity to remedy a difficult task. But least let a betterment be tried for.

  22. Pema Norbu

    September 15, 2017 at 11:07 am

    You have to see this clear video showing His Holiness the Dalai Lama asking the monasteries to expel monks that practice Dorje Shugden. Click here to watch:

  23. Doreen Park

    October 19, 2017 at 4:54 am

    CTA’s high-handed and undemocratic way of handling their critics and opponents gives everyone cause to fear the worst should they become leaders of an autonomous region, as advocated by the Dalai Lama for Tibet. Lukar Jam is an example to show how low the CTA can stoop to “punish” those who criticise them or the Dalai Lama.Since when have some people been bestowed the right to decide what constitutes right or wrong in regard to what can be or cannot be done in relation to the Dalai Lama, especially when His Holiness himself had said that he is unaffected by critics?

    Silencing opponents, rivals and critics, using violence and criminal deeds, does not convince anyone that they are practising basic democratic rights towards all.If the CTA wishes to have the people’s support, then they should begin winning their confidence ; practice the democracy that Tibetans expect from you.Get going to unite all Tibetans! Resume talks and negotiations for Tibet’s future with the Chinese. Don’t distract by labelling Lukar Jam or Dorje Shugden practitioners, who are keeping their samaya clean with their Gurus, as China spies!.

  24. TseringD, Delhi

    October 29, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Nechung is ZUMA 👎 before I m think he is one of d best when I m watch dis video By Geshe Dorjee la but now I m think is not d truth n he is lie to Tibet people we r not back to Tibet yt Chithue Tenpa Yarphel la tq for talk about truth of Nechung . I m watch to this video many time la n after I hear you talk I m not belief to Nechung

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