On December 13th, we hosted a Virtual Town Hall to consider whether Tibetans’ government in exile could be a model for Hong Kong.
Tenzin Lekshay Official Spokesperson of the Central Tibetan Administration
Dorjee Tseten Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile
Frances Hui, We The Hongkongers, founder
You can rewatch the Town Hall here:
It was a very unique opportunity to gather a government official, a politician, and an activist in one event. We can learn much from the Free Tibet movement to enhance our discussion of a possible way forward for the Hong Kong democratic movement.
Tibet does not have a territory as such, but it has successfully innovated its own kind of non-traditional democracy over the years. Tibet exists beyond the territorial borders, as Tenzin put it, but in a transnational sense.
And this form of representation matters. "Having an institution is a resistance," Dorjee said. But this institution is more than just a symbol of resistance; "we know what we are fighting against, but we always have to remember what we are fighting for, and reflect it in the system that we are living in now." For Dorjee, Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) is a showcase for the values they hold so close to their hearts, and to sustain the movement.
What Hong Kong is lacking now is this representation. Locally in Hong Kong, the LegCo election happening on Sunday, although purporting to be democratic, is nothing but a sham. For overseas Hong Kong citizens, a legitimate representative entity is yet to be created.
Government in Exile for Hong Kong. Is it too ambitious? Here’s Frances Hui’s answer: "everything is possible when we start doing it. One of the ways to achieve something or make it a possibility is to explore the potentials of Hong Kong."
So we asked again, could Tibet be a model for Hong Kong? We don’t have a definitive answer in this Town Hall. We have only started the conversation. After all, the next steps for Hong Kong’s democratic movement should be decided by Hongkongers.
Once again, thank you for joining our Town Hall. if you are from Hong Kong, don’t forget to take our survey.
(The survey will be closed on Dec 19th)
👉 This coming Thursday, Dec 16th, we will have another Town Hall event on twitter space, featuring Human Rights Watch Senior China Researcher Maya Wang and former Hong Kong lawmaker, now in exile, Baggio Leung. More details here.