AMSTERDAM: Over 500 Tibetans gathered to welcome Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay on arrival at Antwerpen, Belgium, on Thursday evening.
In his address to the Tibetan Community, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay said that the Middle Way Approach seeks genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the framework of the Chinese constitution. He said the Central Tibetan Administration welcomes different views, however, the Middle Way Approach is the official policy.
He emphasised that the Central Tibetan Administration attaches great importance to the education of the young Tibetans. He reiterated that education is an important investment and a key tool for the Tibetan struggle.
He spoke with pride the remarkable school exam results from the Tibetans schools in India. He said students were breaking all previous exam results and scoring higher percentage than before. More scholarships were being made available to high achiever Tibetan students to pursue their further studies as well as to students from needy families.
“Our new generation of Tibetans will be better educated. They are attending the best universities and are multi-talented,” said Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay.
Speaking on the Dolgyal issue, he strongly condemned the recent protests during His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visits to USA and Europe. He said that their allegations are baseless.
Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay said one reasons for his visit to Belgium was to get first hand information about the problems faced by Tibetans asylum applicants. On Wednesday morning, he separately met with the representatives of some 400 Tibetans whose application for political refuge in Belgium had been refused. There are about 3,000 Tibetans in Belgium. In Brussels, Sikyong met with the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons in Brussels.
After Sikyong’s address, the community members had the opportunity to ask questions which ranged from the present situation in Tibet, the polices of the CTA and problems faced by Tibetan asylum applicants in Belgium.
After about three hours meeting in Antwerpen, Sikyong departed for Amsterdam by train on Thursday night.
About 150 Tibetans, including young children, welcomed Sikyong on his arrival in Amsterdam at around 10:45 pm. This is Sikyong’s first visit to Holland.
Despite being late at night, to the delight of the some 150 Tibetans, Sikyong shook hands with each one of them. Some even took the opportunity to take selfie with their political leader.
While in Brussels, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay met with officials from European Commission and Members of the European Parliament. At both meetings, he talked about the 132 Tibetans who self-immolated in Tibet since February 2009. He said the self-immolations were due to the continued occupation of Tibet and the repression of the Tibetan people.
“We have discouraged the action of self-immolation, but support their aspiration calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom in Tibet,” he said.
In Amsterdam, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay met with some 50 people from different Dutch NGOs working on various Tibetan projects.
In his talk to the NGOs, he said that it was encouraging to see the third generation Tibetans both inside Tibet and in exile’s commitment for the Tibetan struggle and towards the preservation of Tibetan religion, culture and language.
“I thank you for your long association and support for the Tibetan people,” said Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay.
Tomorrow he will meet with the members of the Tibetan Community in the Netherlands and then fly to Barcelona, Spain, in the afternoon. There are around 700 Tibetans living in Holland.
(Report filed by the Office of Tibet, Brussels)