Ottawa, Canada: The President of the Central Tibetan Administration Dr. Lobsang Sangay advocating the Middle Way Approach called upon the Canadian government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to support the Middle Way Approach and to uphold the Canadian values and principles when dealing with China in his interview with CBC news network during his Ottawa visit. Below is the full transcript of the interview.
CBC: Joining me now is the President of the Tibetan government in exile Dr. Lobsang Sangay. Thank you for joining us.
Now nearly 70 years have passed since Tibet was occupied by China and the approach is a non-violent approach to advance the interest. How’s that worked?
Dr. Sangay: So far we are still alive and we are still standing on our own feet. Here I am in Ottawa trying to create awareness about the tragedy unfolding in Tibet. Hence, there are people who are interested on the issue of Tibet and I do visit many capitals and countries around the world. I just came from the Nordic countries, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. So there are still interest and there are still support, so you keep marching on with the flame of truth on your side.
CBC: Now, you are an advocate of the Middle Way Approach. Can you explain that?
Dr. Sangay: Middle way is the middle of separation from China and repression of the Tibetan people. So what we say is if the Chinese government stops repression of the Tibetan people then we will not seek separation from China or independence from China. So we will be content with genuine autonomy as per Chinese laws and within China. So this is a win-win proposition.
CBC: So, two systems within one?
Dr. Sangay: Kinda, in the sense what Hong Kong has one country two system, but the Tibetan model is little less than that. Its as per the minority’s rights and because Tibet autonomous region and Tibetan areas are already autonomous in name and on paper, what we say is as per Chinese laws if you implement those laws we could take that as genuine autonomy and we want to resolve this non-violently peacefully through dialogue.
CBC: Now you are on an international tour right now and you are briefing government leaders on your Five-Fifty approach and just to explain that plan it’s a vision that calls for resolving the Tibet issue in five years, but also making sure Tibet is strong enough to sustain the fight for independence for fifty, if needed. So hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Dr. Sangay: Precisely,Yes. So based on the Middle Way Approach we want to have dialogue between the envoys of the Dalai Lama and the representative of the Chinese government to resolve the issue of Tibet as soon as possible. But at the same time we must have fifty years plan that is to preserve our identity. That’s the foundation, Tibetan language, Tibetan culture, Tibetan spirituality are the foundation of the Tibetan identity. As long as there are Tibetan people, there will be Tibet, there will be Tibetan issue. And then we continue to pursue for our dignity, which is human rights, environmental rights and spiritual rights. Hence that is five years and fifty years, short term and long term plan.
CBC: Now you talk about dialogue. You spoke of dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese representative. Is that happening now?
Dr. Sangay: At the moment it is not, but from 2002 to 2010 there were nine rounds of dialogue between the envoys of the Dalai Lama and the representative of the Chines government but there was no breakthrough. And we hope that the President Xi Jinping in his second term, which he just got reelected, I hope the wisdom will prevail and more liberal policies towards Tibetan people will come and dialogue will be the way to resolve the issue of Tibet.
Do you feel confident that you will get that dialogue with the president?
With 60 years of disappointment confidence is not the word that comes to your mind, but as a human being we all should remain hopeful. Now normally a president in his or her second term goes for legacy items right, you want to handle big complicated issues like President Obama tried to handle on Iran and Cuba. So similarly if Xi Jinping wants, Tibet is a low hanging fruit, because we are non-violent, we are reasonable and His Holiness the Dalai Lama is liked and admired by people around the world. And I think if His Holiness the Dalai Lama could return to Tibet, if genuine autonomy is granted to Tibetan people, this is a win-win proposition because Chinese government and Chinese leaders they want to enter into the international community as a responsible member. If that’s what they desire, solving the issue of Tibet will give them a lot of credibility.
CBC: Now you are here meeting with the Tibet Parliamentary Association, MPs and Senators who sit on that association, but what do you hope to get from Canada?
Dr. Sangay: You know US government supports One China policy and also supports Middle Way Approach for the Tibetan people. So when President Obama met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2014 and 2016, both times White House has stated that they applaud and support the Middle Way Approach. And I hope Canada is next to America and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau included could come out with a same approach and say, yes, we support and accept One China policy, but we also support and applaud Middle Way Approach as envisioned by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
CBC: How confident are you that you might get that from our Prime Minister?
Dr. Sangay: For the last 60 years it hasn’t happened, but we are hopeful because now Canada is entering into a formal negotiation on free trade. One must have free trade relationship with China but should not give free-pass on human rights or democracy and Tibet issue. I hope they will stand up for Canadian value, Canadian principles of supporting human rights and democracy and something reasonable, that is genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people.
CBC: So you were talking about potential free trade negotiation with China. It looks like it could potentially happen, what do you want our Prime Minister to say in those negotiation?
Dr. Sangay: I hope it is a two-way approach because I have visited Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway and other places, there are few countries where they have buyers remorse. You know they entered into free trade agreement thinking they will sell 1.3 billion some Canadian product in the end you lend up buying so many Chinese goods and there is trade deficit other way around. So you buy more stuff from them than things you sell for them. But in the process one should not compromise one on principles and values. So yes one should enter into free trade agreement with China and try to make business and make profit from China, but at the same time you should remain Canadian, that people will say well Canadian stood on its principles and values. So Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seem to stand on his principle on gender equality, on lot of things, these are the principles he should stand up with China as well, as a friend or as a competitor.
CBC: Dr. Lobsang Sangay I wanna thank you for your time today.
Dr. Sangay: Thank you Hannah.
You can watch the full interview here.
(Transcribed by Tenzin Lhakmon, Communication Officer)