The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) is a stubborn advocate of "Tibet independence" supported by the Tibetan "government-in-exile", which upholds violence and has become an armed spearhead of the 14th Dalai Lama group, says a senior Chinese Tibetologist.
The TYC was set up in 1970 under the "direct incitement of the Dalai Lama", said Bi Hua, a senior researcher with the Beijing-based China Tibetology Research Center (CTRC).
Bi said that in the early 1970s, some Tibetan youths "in exile" became tired of life, as there was no chance of either independence or returning to China years after they fled the country. The group was established in such a situation.
The Dalai Lama and major officials of the "government-in-exile" attended the TYC's inauguration ceremony in 1970 and encouraged Tibetan youths to pursue Tibet independence "with resolution and courage".
Bi said the Dalai Lama intended to resolve conflicts among sects via the TYC and use the group to train his successors.
The TYC constitution clearly states that an extensive movement should be organized "even at the cost of blood and life" to achieve the goal of independence, said Bi.
The organization rapidly spread to major Tibetan outposts in India, Nepal, Bhutan, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States in the 1980s and now has 81 branches worldwide covering more than 30,000 members, he said.
Eighty percent of the staff of the "government-in-exile" were once TYC members, and more than 60 key TYC members have joined the "government" and assumed major posts since the 1980s, he said.
Bi said the TYC had organized many activities to achieve its goal of independence. The annual March 10 protest against the Chinese government is a typical example. It includes violent assaults on overseas Chinese embassies and consulates, or protests such as sit-ins and hunger strikes.
Bi said the organization also commemorates the Dalai Lama's birthday (July 6), the anniversary of the Dalai Lama's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize (Dec 10).
Bi said the organization exposed its violent nature in many events such as the 1974 incident in Bhutan. In that year, the Dalai Lama group plotted to upset the Bhutanese government, but the plan was thwarted and 28 suspects were seized by Bhutanese police when they prepared to assassinate the king.
Bi said the Tibet autonomous region had long been considered by the TYC as a major battlefield. The group planned and directly participated in the Lhasa riots in 1987, 1988 and 1989, as well as the March 14 riot this year.
The day after the Lhasa riot, the TYC approved a decision to "found a guerrilla movement as soon as possible to secretly enter China and carry out armed struggles" at a meeting of its "central executive committee" in Dharmsala, the location of the Dalai Lama's "government-in-exile" in India, said Bi.
They made detailed plans about personnel, funding and arms purchases, and planned to smuggle themselves into China via the border with Nepal, said Bi.
CTRC senior Tibetologist Liu Hongji said that the pro-independence group had actively engaged in training its armed forces and reserve troop. They also sought mutual support from international terrorist organizations such as al-Qaida and East Turkistan groups.
Liu said that the TYC had organized training sessions this year, such as one on "dynamite techniques" and another on how to carry out violent and terrorist activities.
"The TYC became a terrorist organization as concepts of violence took root in the organization," said Liu.
He said that from the Lhasa riots in the late 1980s to the March 14 incident, the TYC was behind the scenes.
"The group's influence was evident when the police confiscated a large number of guns and ammunition in some monasteries in China's Tibetan-inhabited regions after the March 14 riot," Liu said.
Lian Xiangmin, a researcher with the CTRC, said the expansion of the power of the TYC was closely linked with the Dalai Lama as the group's tenet was to "comply with the Dalai Lama even at the cost of their lives". Lian said the TYC would become a "public enemy" if it did not stop violence and terrorism against the Chinese government and the people.
"We hope the 14th Dalai Lama could truly give up 'Tibet independence', stop secessionist activities, stop instigating violence, stop disrupting the Beijing Olympics, effectively prevent TYC's violence and denounce its terrorist acts," he said.
(China Daily/Xinhua May 5, 2008)