New Delhi: Sikyong Penpa Tsering of the Central Tibetan Administration attended the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, 13 April to speak on the topic of “India, China and Tibet”.
Refuting China’s distorted and false narrative claiming its discovery of Buddhism, Sikyong apprised the gathering of the long history of association between India and Tibet that led to the derivation of Tibetan script and Tibetan Buddhism from India’s Nalanda tradition during the 8th century.
“We are the repository of one part of ancient Indian wisdom which we are proud to say that we have been able to preserve and promote,” Sikyong remarked while stressing the relevance of Buddhist principles of ahimsa and tolerance in this day and age of violence and conflict.
In his response to China claiming Tibet as part of its historical domination, Sikyong briefed the gathering on Tibet’s history beginning from the 7th century when the Tibetan empire was one of the three big empires in Central Asia, alongside China and Mongolia. The Tibetan emperor invaded the capital of China and went westwards up to Samarkand in Uzbekistan which was the extent of the Tibetan empire at one time before its disintegration in the 9th century when the Mongols became the rising power led by Chengis Khan.
Commenting on the ambivalence surrounding the status quo of Tibet, Sikyong said the resumption of Sino-Tibet dialogue was hopeful in view of an increasing number of countries and governments condemning China’s occupation of Tibet through statements and policies. Meanwhile, he urged those parroting CCP’s Tibet narrative to corroborate the factual evidence detailed by Tibet experts like Michael Van Praag and Prof. Hon-Shiang Lau in their respective findings proving that Tibet was never part of a Chinese empire.
“The status of nation or people does not depend on whims and fancies of governments it has to be based on historical facts,” said the leader of the Tibetan administration in exile.
Additionally, Sikyong Penpa Tsering also talked about the geopolitical importance of the Tibetan plateau as the country is widely known today as world’s Third Pole and the ‘Water Tower of Asia’. The rivers originating from Tibet sustain the livelihood of about 47% of the world’s total human population. Expressing grave socio-economic and environmental concerns emanating from China’s management of Tibet’s rivers, Sikyong reiterated the need for a sustainable agreement between countries that share these rivers.
“Today we are political refugees, but tomorrow you might have so many environmental refugees,” he warned.
At the same meeting, Sikyong was questioned about the video clip involving His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s interaction with a boy that is virally shared and discussed on mainstream media and social media platforms. In response, Sikyong clarified the video was misinterpreted and tailored, adding, “The personal integrity of His Holiness was never ever in question in the last 87 years and that his compassion and love are beyond all the misunderstandings that the video has created”.
Lamenting over the ongoing smear campaign against His Holiness the Dalai Lama by certain mainstream media and individuals, he expressed the hurt sentiments of Tibetans caused by these insinuations. Click here to watch Sikyong Penpa Tsering’s Response to the circulated video.
The correspondent meeting was chaired by its President S Venkat Narayan (Columnist The Island, Sri Lanka), Vice-President Waiel S H Awwad (Syrian Arab News Agency) and Secretary Prakash Nanda (The EurAsian Times, Canada).