Published in South Coast Register – 15 August 2017
THE South Coast Tibetan Group has played host to the president of the Tibetan government-in-exile (Central Tibetan Administration in India) Dr Lobsang Sangay.
Dr Sangay has been the chief executive of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile since August 2011 and was special guest at a function at the Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemen’s Sports Club at Worrigee.
Dr Sangay and Lhakpa Tsego, who represented the Dalai Lama, both spoke to members of the Nowra Tibetan Community.
Prior to addressing the function, Dr Sangay offered a scarf to a portrait of the Dalai lama.
South Coast Tibetan Group president Phurbu Tsering said it was an honour to have two such high ranking officials in the Shoalhaven.
“Dr Sangay is the president-in-exile and Mr Tsego is the second highest representative of the Dalai Lama,” he said.
“During Dr Sangay’s visit to Australia, while also visiting the Shoalhaven, he met with Tibetan community members in Sydney and Canberra.
“He met with some Chinese scholars and democratic activists, as well as some Australian Parliamentary support groups and a function with Tibetan Chinese.
“It was fantastic for our local group to be able to speak to him. We have been very privileged and honoured by his visit.”
Dr Sangay talked about the services available to community members.
“We all came to Australia as refugees and are now citizens,” Mr Tsering said.
“Dr Sangay asked what help the organisation might need and what goals we have as a group?
“Our community is very new, the South Coast Tibetan Community was only registered just over a year ago.
“We originally started with three families in the area, two years ago. We now have nine families and some relatives who arrived under the refugee program. A total of 36 members.
“It has been a big move. Not all of us came directly to Australia, some came via India under the special humanitarian program.
“The president encouraged us to work together to overcome our cultural isolation, be committed to meeting new people and have fun together.”
Exiled Tibetans have twice voted Mr Sangay as sikyong–or president–of the India-based Central Tibetan Administration.
During his visit he called on the Australian government to lobby for full Tibetan autonomy in China.
He called for the Chinese government to embrace the ‘Middle Way’ approach, allowing Tibetan people to vote for their representatives in China.
“If the Chinese government ends the oppression and gives genuine autonomy as per Chinese laws, then we will not seek separation from China,” he said.
Officially, Tibet is a province of China headed by a Communist Party-appointed administrator.
“He is a Chinese person ruling over Tibetan people and I am a Tibetan who has the mandate of the Tibetan people,” Mr Sangay said.
Tibet’s famous Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, announced in 2011 he wished to hand his political functions to an elected official.
Mr Sangay himself has never been to Tibet. His father fled Tibet at the same time as the Dalai Lama in 1959. Mr Sangay was born in a refugee camp in India in 1968.