The President of Central Tibetan Administration Dr Lobsang Sangay visited the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Finland during his official tours to Europe this week. Tibetans and Tibet supporters across the globe were glued on to Dr Lobsang Sangay official Facebook page for the update of his public engagement.
In Prague, the capital city of Czech Republic, the President spoke on China’s one belt one road at the 22nd Forum 2000 conference, 7 October 2018. The Forum 2000 Foundation was founded in 1996 as a joint initiative of the late Czech President Vaclav Havel, Japanese philanthropist Yohei Sasakawa, and Noble Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel.
CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay with Theresa Fallon, Director, Centre for Russia Europe Asia studies deliberated on the topic titled: The Global Challenge of China at Forum 2000, on 8 October 2018. At the plenary debate, he addressed the rising global influence of China and how China is a threat to the democratic world. He also urged the European countries to push for a reciprocity approach with the Chinese government.
“Chinese journalists, academics and reporters visit Europe frequently, but why can’t the European reporters and journalists freely visit Tibet?” said Dr Sangay
On the following day, Dr Sangay met the leadership of Parliamentary group for Tibet at the launch of the Czech Parliamentary group for Tibet, the largest parliamentary group established in Europe. The Czech Parliamentary Group for Tibet aims to point out possible solutions to the Tibetan issue and serve as a reminder that silencing the dialogue often proves counterproductive.
President Dr Sangay also participated in a Festival of Democracy panel discussion, which is an associated program of the Forum 2000 Conference. On the panel’s discussion topic, “Will the democratic world pass the Tibetan test? President Sangay remarked that, on the one hand, Europe is for democracy, solidarity, human rights, and non-violence and peace, yet Tibet gets sidelined.
On his maiden visit to Bratislava, Dr Sangay met with the Honorable Deputy Speaker of the Slovakia Parliament, Lucia Duris Nicholsonova, on 10 October, in Slovakia.
Dr Sangay briefed her on the current situation in Tibet and underlined the viability and the mutually beneficial aspect of the Middle Way Approach to peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet through dialogue. Honourable Lucia Duris Nicholsonova expressed her concerns over the situation inside Tibet and the Tibetan people. She welcomed President Sangay to visit Slovakia anytime.
Later that day he met the Slovak Parliamentary group for Tibet led by Martin Poliačik, MP of the National Council of the Slovak Republic (the national parliament of Slovakia) and member of the Progressive Slovakia political party.
At the meeting, President Sangay deliberated on China’s development without democracy and how Xi Jinping’s new mantra of Socialism with Chinese characteristics raises the question of whether China can transform you or you can transform China.
On the invitation of the Mass Media Faculty of Pan-European University, Dr Sangay gave a talk on Tibet and China, and Dr Yvonne Vavrova, Vice Dean of the University, moderated the talk.
“The Tibet issue is now not only of the six million Tibetans but concerns the whole world.” President Sangay referred to the One belt One Road which is the biggest project of President Xi Jinping and its similarity to the road that China built in Tibet in the name of prosperity, a road Tibetans on being paid silver coins help built and which ultimately facilitated China’s occupation of Tibet.” President Sangay said, “it can happen to you too.”
On his last leg of a three-nation Europe tour, Dr Sangay gave a talk at the University of Helsinki in Finland. He touched on “Legal and political representation of non-state people in politics: Tibet case”.
Calling on the support of the European countries, including Finland, President Dr Sangay urged the governments in Europe to stand up to their founding principles and values, and raise their voices against repression and abuses of human rights, wherever it is committed.
Later that day, President Dr Sangay spoke on Tibet as a water reservoir of Asia at an event jointly hosted by Siemenpuu NGO and the Finnish Tibet Committee, where he argued the case of Tibet from an environmentalist point of view. He reasoned out the significance of Tibet as the roof of the world with facts and statistics that it was both critical as well as crucial for the world to pay due attention to Tibet’s pristine environment. He called on the Chinese authorities to stop the damming of Tibet’s rivers, stop the forced resettlement of nomads from their pasture land and stop the illegal mining to preserve Tibet’s fragile ecosystem.
Upon his return, the president is scheduled to visit Shimla where will attend the Thank You Himachal Pradesh event scheduled on 15 October in Shimla.
A glimpse of netizens’ reactions on CTA President’s public engagement on his official three-nation Europe tour: