Penpa Tsering, the political leader of Tibet’s government in exile, was in Paris this week to raise awareness about the increased repression faced by Tibetans living in Chinese-controlled areas. He spoke to RFI about issues such as intense surveillance and the destruction of Tibetan cultural identity.
-by Jan van der Made for Radio France Internationale
After the 1949 Communist takeover of China, Beijing tried to co-habit with Buddhist Tibetans, who lived in vast areas in China’s south west.
But the increasing presence of the Communist army triggered Tibetan protests that were met with a brutal Chinese crackdown, in 1959. Thousands of Tibetans were killed, monasteries destroyed, and Tibet‘s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was forced into exile.
Currently, the Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan government in exile, the Central Tibet Administration (CTA) reside in Dharamsala, India. The CTA is led by Sikyong (“political leader”) Penpa Tsering, who was born in a refugee camp in India.
Penpa Tsering (56) is now touring the world, taking over some of the tasks of the Dalai Lama who turned 88 this year, including raising awareness of Chinese “colonial” policies with regards to the Tibetans living within Beijing-controlled areas.
His mission also involves keeping in touch with 130,000 strong Tibetan diaspora communities, 8,000 of whom live in France.
Before arriving in Paris, he visited the US, Latin America, Canada, Spain and Austria. Click here to read more.