Are Buddhsist Racist

Read my one & only interview in the New Statesman

What is Racism?


Race can be defined as:

"A classification system used to categorise humans into distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and/or social affiliation.”


Racism can be defined as:

“The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”


When a group of people are labeled according to a certain religious belief or affiliation and their access to public services, jobs, livelihoods and social freedoms are denied or restricted on the basis of this belief or affiliation this is racism.

The Tibetan Government

Once called the Tibetan Government in Exile it has now renamed itself the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

The CTA is based in Dharamsala in India where it oversees the welfare of Tibetans in exile. It governs a population of over 128,000 Tibetans in India, Nepal, Bhutan and the rest of the world by means of a "democratic and popularly elected government" according to its official website.

The CTA operates under the 'Charter of the Tibetans in Exile' which was adopted in 1991. It has a parliament in exile with ministers and legislative authority, along with a cabinet which consists of the speaker and ministers for all of the main departments of the CTA.

Since the CTA changed its name from the Tibetan Government in Exile people sometimes mistakenly think it is not a government. This is mostly due to incorrectly assuming that a government must have authority over a specific territory or land mass, whereas this is only true for sovereign states.

Some states are subject to external sovereignty or hegemony where ultimate sovereignty lies in another state, such as the example of Vichy France, officially known as the French State (l'État français).

The CTA also receives aid from foreign governments. One of the most controversial admissions was in 1998 when the Dalai Lama's administration confessed to having received $1.7 million a year from the CIA during the 1960s as well as help with the training of a Tibetan Guerilla force and military aid.

To this day the CTA continues to receive foreign aid as well as donations, although they decline to explain where they come from and what they amount to.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that the CTA do not occupy a land mass they are by all accepted definitions a government, one that claims to be democratic and also claims to be formed according to a charter based on the spirit of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The CTA website declares:

“Based on the spirit of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter guarantees to all Tibetans equality before the law and enjoyment of rights and freedom without discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, language and social origin. It provides for a clear separation of power among the three organs of the administration: judiciary, legislature and executive.”

So it would seem strange that a government whose defining charter is based on equality and freedom from discrimination is also a government that has banned a religious practice and furthermore bans anyone from its departments, branches and subsidiaries on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Click here to see how the CTA is practicing religious discrimination

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