Tehelka, 23 May 2015
The Sikyong (Prime Minister) of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, DR. LOBSANG SANGAY, says that the world has acknowledged the credibility of the genuine autonomy that the Tibetan people are seeking within the framework of the constitution of the People’s Republic of China.
What is going to be the way forward for the Tibetan Government-in-exile and the Tibetan people: Independence? Autonomy? Genuine autonomy? Referendum? Self-determination? Or status quo?
We will continue to seek Genuine Autonomy within China through the Middle Way Policy. The Middle Way Policy was conceptualised since the 1970s and our proposal for genuine autonomy is a win-win proposition to both China and Tibet. This is a farsighted and a realistic way forward.
The white paper concludes that “there is no prospect of [a “high degree of autonomy” for Tibet] ever coming to pass. Your comments.
The Middle-Way Approach neither seeks separation from the People’s Republic of China nor “high degree of autonomy” but Genuine Autonomy for all Tibetan people under a single administration. This is consistent with both the National Regional Autonomy Law and the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) remains committed to the Middle-Way Approach and reiterates that dialogue is the most realistic approach and the way to find a mutually beneficial solution to the Tibet issue.
The Xinhua report cites the white paper as saying that the Dalai Lama and his supporters continued to employ violence to promote Tibetan independence; that since 2011 they have incited Tibetan Lamas and lay followers inside China to engage in acts of self-immolation. “For the Dalai party, ‘peace’ and ‘non-violence’ are no more than fig leaves,” the report quoted the white paper as saying.
Our commitment to non-violence is widely recognised and applauded by the international community. Even the 138 Tibetans who have self-immolated so far have never harmed even a single Chinese person or Chinese property. The Central Tibetan Administration has made many appeals to the Tibetans in Tibet to desist from self-immolation, unfortunately the numbers of Tibetans setting themselves ablaze are adding up at an alarming rate and frequency. All Tibetans who have set themselves ablaze have called for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland and freedom for Tibet. This clearly reflect the deepening anguish and resentment of the Tibetan people at the conditions in their homeland. The reason lies in China’s massive policy failure driven by political repression, cultural assimilation, social discrimination, economic marginalisation and environmental destruction. Therefore the solution also lies with Beijing.
How do you see the institution of the Dalai Lama going forward? Will it continue in its present form?
I would, as most Tibetans would, also like His Holiness the Dalai Lama to reincarnate and continue the institution of the Dalai Lama lineage. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said that the ultimate decision lies with the six million Tibetan people.
The Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday is coming up in July. How do the Tibetan Government-in-exile and the Tibetan people in India and abroad plan to celebrate the occasion?
His Holiness as a devout Buddhist does not celebrate his birthday. But Tibetans and friends will have events around the world throughout 2015 and 2016.
The article in the State-run Global Times cited above also said: “The Indian government should completely stop supporting the Dalai Lama, and stop making the Tibetan issue a stumbling block to the Sino-Indian relationship”. Your comments.
The Tibetan issue is not something to be easily swept under the carpet. The Tibetissue will remain a core issue in Sino-Indian relationship and there is no way around this issue if India and China want an amiable relationship. Tibetans are eternally grateful to the government and people of India for such enduring support during the tragic phase of our history.
BJP President Amit Shah was scheduled to meet the Dalai Lama on 2 May in Dharamsala but the meeting was cancelled after the Prime Minister’s Office called it “highly inappropriate” ahead of Mr Modi’s China visit. How do you view the cancellation?
It is not an issue for us because many prominent Indian leaders have met with His Holiness before and will continue to do so in the future.
A word about the future of the Tibetan refugees in India.
We are very grateful to the Indian people and their government for being gracious hosts to the Tibetan refugees since 1959. We are indebted to your kindness. I deeply appreciate the recent Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy which has improved the overall situation of the Tibetan refugees in India by providing a uniform guideline across Indian states in improving the conditions of the Tibetan refugee community.
Do you think the Tibetan people living in exile in India, particularly the youth, are becoming restive and might be tempted to take up (or provoked into taking up) an armed struggle?
Our movement is non-violent. Since justice and truth is on our side, we will keep moving in that direction. There are many marginalised groups who might want to follow non-violent movement like ours but since the international media and community [are] prioritising on more violent movements, radicalism, and terrorism, there is a danger of these groups following in these footsteps.