Central Tibetan Administration

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Central Tibetan Administration

Bod mi'i sgrig 'dzugs / Bömi Drikdzuk
Anthem:  Gyallu
Status Government in exile
Headquarters176215, Dharamshala, Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh, India
Official languages Tibetan
Tibetan Buddhism
Type Government in exile
Lobsang Sangay
Pema Jungney
Legislature Parliament in Exile
Establishment28 April 1959
Currency Indian rupee (de facto) (INR)

The Central Tibetan Administration (Tibetan : བོད་མིའི་སྒྲིག་འཛུགས་, Wylie : bod mi'i sgrig 'dzugs, THL : Bömi Drikdzuk, Tibetan pronunciation:  [ˈpʰỳmìː ˈʈìʔt͡sùʔ] , translated as Exile Tibetan People's Organisation) [1] is Tibet's elected parliamentary government based in Dharamshala, India. It is also referred to as the Tibetan Government in Exile. It is composed of a judiciary branch, a legislative branch, and an executive branch. Since its formation in 1959, the Central Tibetan Administration has not been officially recognized by China. [2] The Tibetan diaspora and refugees support the Central Tibetan Administration by voting for members of Parliament, the President and by making annual financial contributions through the use of the "Green Book." The Central Tibetan Administration also receives international support from organizations and individuals.


The Central Tibetan Administration's internal structure is governmental; it has stated that it is "not designed to take power in Tibet"; rather, it will be dissolved "as soon as freedom is restored in Tibet" in favor of a government formed by Tibetans inside Tibet. [1] In addition to political representation, it authors reports and press releases, and it administers a network of schools and other cultural activities for Tibetans in India. On 11 February 1991, the Central Tibetan Administration became a founding member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) at a ceremony held at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands. [3] [4]

Position on Tibet

The territory of Tibet is administered by the People's Republic of China, a situation that the Central Tibetan Administration considers an illegitimate military occupation. The position of the CTA is that Tibet is a distinct nation with a long history of independence. The position of the People's Republic of China holds that China is multi-ethnic and that Tibetans are among the recognised nations, that the central government of China (throughout its incarnations) has continuously exercised sovereignty over Tibet for over 700 years, that Tibet has not been independent but its de facto independence between 1912 and 1951 was "nothing but a fiction of the imperialists who committed aggression against China in modern history". [5]

Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration (formerly the Tibetan Government in Exile) in 2006 Ekzilita tibeta administrejo pri internaciaj aferoj.jpg
Department of Information and International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration (formerly the Tibetan Government in Exile) in 2006


The funding of the Central Tibetan Administration comes mostly from private donations collected with the help of organizations like the Tibet Fund, revenue from the Green Book (the "Tibetan in exile passport") [6] and aid from governments like India and the US. [7] [8]

The annual revenue of the Central Tibetan Administration is officially 22 million (measured in US dollars),[ citation needed ] with the biggest shares going to political activity ($7 million), and administration ($4.5 million)[ citation needed ]. However, according to Michael Backman, these sums are "remarkably low" for what the organisation claims to do, and it probably receives millions more in donations. The CTA does not acknowledge such donations or their sources. [9]

The United States have funded the CTA as well in some periods. According to a Chinese source, between 1964 and 1968, the U.S. provided 1.735 million dollars each year. [10] [note 1] In October 1998, the CTA stated that it had received US$1.7 million a year during the 1960s from the Central Intelligence Agency. [11]

In 2012, the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 was passed in the U.S. to subsidize the CTA. [12] [13] [ need quotation to verify ] In 2016, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a grant of US$23 million to CTA. [14]

In 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed to stop aid to the CTA in 2018. [15] Trump's proposal was criticized heavily by members of the Democratic Party like Nancy Pelosi [15] and co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Jim McGovern. [16] In February 2020 at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, Pelosi prayed as Trump attended; "Let us pray for the Panchen Lama and all the Tibetan Buddhists in prison in China or missing for following their faith". [17]


Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in 2010 Tibetan Library Dharamsala.jpg
Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in 2010

The Central Tibetan Administration is headquartered in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, India. It represents the people of the entire Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai province, as well as two Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures and one Tibetan Autonomous County in Sichuan Province, one Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and one Tibetan Autonomous County in Gansu Province and one Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province [18] – all of which is termed "Historic Tibet" by the CTA.

The CTA attends to the welfare of the Tibetan exile community in India, who number around 100,000. It runs schools, health services, cultural activities and economic development projects for the Tibetan community. More than 1,000 refugees still arrive each year from China, [19] usually via Nepal. [20]

Green Book

Tibetans living outside Tibet can apply at a Central Tibetan Administration office in their country of residence for a personal document called the Green Book , which serves as a receipt book for the person's "voluntary contributions" to the CTA and the evidence of their claims for "Tibetan citizenship". [21]

For this purpose, CTA defines a Tibetan as "any person born in Tibet, or any person with one parent who was born in Tibet." As Tibetan refugees often lack documents attesting to their place of birth, the eligibility is usually established by an interview. [21]

Blue Book

The Blue Book or Tibetan Solidarity Partnership is a project by Central Tibetan Administration, in which the CTA issues any supporter of Tibet who is of age 18 years or more a Blue Book. This initiative enables supporters of Tibet worldwide to make financial contributions to help the administration in supporting educational, cultural, developmental and humanitarian activities related to Tibetan children and refugees. The book is issued at various CTA offices worldwide. [22]

Internal structure

The former Chairman of the Cabinet of the CTA, Samdhong Rinpoche, addresses a fundraising dinner in Sydney, Australia, February 2006 SamdhongRinpoche.jpg
The former Chairman of the Cabinet of the CTA, Samdhong Rinpoche, addresses a fundraising dinner in Sydney, Australia, February 2006

The Central Tibetan Administration currently operates under the "Charter of the Tibetans In-Exile", adopted in 1991. [23] Executive authority is vested in the Sikyong (also known as the President) an office currently held by Lobsang Sangay, who was elected in 2011. The Sikyong is supported by a cabinet of ministers responsible for specific portfolios. Legislative authority is vested in the Parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration.

The Central Tibetan Administration's Department of Finance is made of seven departments and several special offices. Until 2003, it operated 24 businesses, including publishing, hotels, and handicrafts distribution companies.

Dr. Lobsang Sangay, President of the CTA Lobsang Sangay delivering 6th Dr. K R Narayanan Memorial Lecture at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India.JPG
Dr. Lobsang Sangay, President of the CTA

At the time of its founding in 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama was head of the Central Tibetan Administration. Over the ensuing decades, a gradual transition to democratic governance was effected. The first elections for an exile parliament took place on 2 September 1960. The position of Sikyong was later empowered to share executive authority with the Dalai Lama. The Sikyong was initially appointed by the Dalai Lama, but, beginning in 2001, this position was democratically elected by the Tibetan exile voters. The first elected Sikyong was a 62-year-old Buddhist monk, Lobsang Tenzin (better known as Samdhong Rinpoche), to the position of President of the CTA. [24] On 10 March 2011, the Dalai Lama proposed changes to the exile charter which would remove his position of authority within the organisation. These changes were ratified on 29 May 2011, resulting in the Sikyong becoming the highest-ranking office holder. [25]


Finance Minister Tsering Dhondup (front row, second from left) visited Taiwan's Legislative Yuan in 2013 2013Xi Cang Liu Wang Zheng Fu (Cang Ren Xing Zheng Zhong Yang )Cai Zheng Bu Chang Bai Hui Tai Wan Guo Hui (Li Fa Yuan ) TIBETAN Minister of Finance visited TAIWANESE Congress.jpg
Finance Minister Tsering Dhondup (front row, second from left) visited Taiwan's Legislative Yuan in 2013

Notable past members of the Cabinet include Gyalo Thondup, the Dalai Lama's eldest brother, who served as Chairman of the Cabinet and as Minister of Security, and Jetsun Pema, the Dalai Lama's younger sister, who served variously as Minister of Health and of Education. [9] Lobsang Nyandak Zayul who served as a representative of the 14th Dalai Lama in the Americas [26] and a multiple cabinet member. [27] [28] [29] He currently serves as president of The Tibet Fund. [30]


The Central Tibetan Administration, together with the Indian government, has constructed more than 45 "settlements" in India for Tibetan refugees as of 2020. [31] The establishment of the Tibetan Re-settlement and Rehabilitation (TRR) settlements began in 1966, [32] :120, 127–131 with the TRR settlements in South India, Darjeeling, and Sikkim becoming officially "protected areas" and requiring special entry permits for entry. [32] :120

Media activities

A 1978 study by Melvyn Goldstein and a 1983 study by Lynn Pulman on Tibetan communities-in-exile in southern India argue that the CTA adopted a stance of preserving an "idea of return" and fostering the development of an intense feeling of Tibetan cultural and political nationalism among Tibetans" in order to remain a necessary part of the communities. [33] :408–410 [32] :158–159 They state that this was accomplished through the creation of the Tibetan Uprising Day holiday, a Tibetan National Anthem, and the CTA control over local Tibetan-language media that promotes the idea of Chinese endeavors to "eradicate the Tibetan race". [33] :410–417 [32] :159–161 From the 1990s onwards, the CTA used Hollywood films in addition to local media to emphasize the Tibetan exile struggle, secure the loyalty of Tibetans both in exile and in Tibet, promote Tibetan nationalism, and foster the CTA's legitimacy to act in the name of the entire Tibetan nation. [34]

Foreign relations

The Central Tibetan Authority is not recognised as a sovereign government by any country, but it receives financial aid from governments and international organisations for its welfare work among the Tibetan exile community in India.[ citation needed ]

United States

In 1991, United States President George H. W. Bush signed a Congressional Act that explicitly called Tibet "an occupied country", and identified the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration as "Tibet's true representatives". [35]

In October 1998 the Central Tibetan Administration issued a statement acknowledging it received US$1.7 million a year during the 1960s from the U.S. government through the Central Intelligence Agency, [11] used to train volunteers, run guerrilla operations against the Chinese, and used to open offices and for international lobbying. A guerilla force was reportedly trained at Camp Hale in Colorado. [36]

During his administration, United States President Barack Obama supported the policies of the Central Tibetan Administration [37] and met with the Dalai Lama four times, [38] including at the 2015 annual National Prayer Breakfast. [39]

International organizations

On 11 February 1991 the CTA became a founding member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization at a ceremony held at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.

See also

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  1. Chinese :美国政府的一份解密文件显示,1964至1968年,美国给予达赖集团的财政拨款每年达173.5万美元,其中包括给达赖喇嘛个人津贴18万美元 "A declassified document from the U.S. government shows that from 1964 to 1968, the U.S. financial allocation to the Dalai Group amounted to $1.735 million per year, including a personal allowance of $180,000 to the Dalai Lama."