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Tibetan Government In Exile

A government in exile hopes to go back to their country one day and take over power. This type of a government does not have the power to execute legal rights in the country of their residence although they claim that they are their country’s legitimate government. A government in exile differs from a rump state which has control of at least some part of their country.

Central Tibetan Administration

The Tibetan Central Administration has an aim of rehabilitating the refugees from Tibet and restoring independence and bliss in Tibet”. The founder of this organization is 14th Dalai Lama who formed the CTA in 1959 just after he had to flee his country. This CTA is supposed to be Tibet’s government in exile. The organization is not interested in taking up power in Tibet but will shut down as soon as Tibet attains freedom. The CTA meanwhile takes care of the education and other cultural programs of the refugees in their adopted country. It was an achievement, when on 11 February 1991, the organization became a founder member of the Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organization in Hague, Netherlands.

Position on Hague

The People’s Republic of China at the moment controls the administration and has taken over Tibet. For Tibetans this occupation is illegal and they feel that they have had freedom for a long time. However, the People’s Republic of China asserts that they have been in Tibet for 700 years and the brief period of independence from 1912 to 1951 was just a piece of imagination of “imperialists who had committed aggression against China” in recent times. The Dalai Lama, however, is not looking at independence from China but recognition of Tibet as an autonomous body within China.


The CTA has formed its base at Mcleodganj which is in Dharamshala in India. This is the place where the Dalai Lama had found refuge in 1959 after a failed revolt against China. This organization has under it- whole Tibet Autonomous region and province of Qinghai, a Tibetan Autonomous County, two Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures located in Sichuan, a Tibetan Autonomous County and one Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture situated in Gansu province and also a Tibetan Prefecture in the province of Yunnan. These are what the CTA calls the ‘Historic Tibet’.

The CTA is in charge of more than 100,000 Tibetans in India. It fulfils its responsibilities in providing healthcare, schooling and organising cultural programs and development programs for the refugees. An influx of 1000 Tibetans is seen every year as they leave their country and arrive through Nepal. The Indian Government has given full authority to the CTA to exercise jurisdiction for their community.

Internal Structure

The CTA has its own ‘Charter of the Tibetans in exile’ which was laid down in 1991. The Kalon Tripa is the person having the highest executive authority and is like the Prime minister. This position is held by Lobsang Sangay who took over in 2011. He has with him some ministers with different portfolios. The Parliament of CTA commands the legislative authority.

The organization does not claim to get any donations. However, according to Mark Buckman, the numbers revealed by Tibetans sound amazingly low and he is certain that the CTA receives a fair amount in donations. The CTA has a department of Finance which is made up of 7 departments and other offices. The Finance department has been taking care of, until 2003, publishing, hospitality, handicrafts and distribution industries. It claims that it earns US$22 million each year out of which $7 million is used for their political endeavours and $4.5 for administration.

Dr. Lobsang Sangay, Prime Minister

The Dalai Lama was the official head of the Tibetan Central Administration when it was founded. With time, the ideals of democracy have taken over the organization. In 1960, the first elections took place to form the first parliament of Tibet. Subsequently, Kalon Tripa attained the same executive authority as the Dalai Lama. The Tibetans started taking part in elections in 2001 to elect the Kalon Tripa who had so far been appointed by the Dalai Lama.Lobsang Tenzin is a Buddhist monk and the first to be elected as Kalon Tripa. Lobsang is also known as Samdong Rinpoche. On 10 March 2011, the Dalai Lama made changes in the charter which removed him as the head of the CTA. These changes become formalised on 29 May 2011 and made Kalon Tripa the highest in the office.

Activities with Other Organizations

Although the CTA does not enjoy recognition by any nation, it gets financial support from governments and organizations. This money is used for the benefit of the Tibetans who have been exiled and are living in India. The organization claimed, in October 1998, to have received US $1.7 million annually since 1960 from US government via the CIA which had participated in a guerrilla force in Camp Hale. On 11 February 1991, the CTA was termed as a founder member of Unrepresented Nations and People’s Organization in Hague in Netherlands.

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Tibetan Government In Exile
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