Want to solve problems with China through dialogue: Sangay

The ‘Prime Minister’ of the ‘Tibetan Government in exile’ Lobsang Sangay on Saturday said the success of the Tibetan movement will provide encouragement to democratic and non-violent freedom struggles across the world.

Drawing a contrast

Drawing a contrast with the Syrian rebels who have gained much media, political and military support across the world through a dogged armed resistance against the Bashar al-Assad regime, Dr. Sangay bemoaned the fact that the Tibetans who have waged a non-violent, democratic struggle for over 50 years was not receiving a similar scale of support.

Reiterating that he wanted to solve the problems with China through dialogue, Dr. Sangay, who was appointed ‘Prime Minister’ of the Dharamsala-based organisation, said he will follow a “middle-path”.

“We don’t seek independence or separation. If we are granted genuine autonomy we are ready to live under the People’s Republic of China. We have been reasonable and moderate,” said Dr. Sangay.

He was delivering the First Annual Lecture of the Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents here at the India International Centre on “Democracy in Exile and the Future of Tibet”.

Future of Tibet

Responding to a question on the future of Tibet considering the rising power of China, he said the Tibetan civilization and identity were as old as the Chinese civilization and identity.

“Who would have thought the Soviet Union will collapse and the Berlin Wall will come down? Was the Arab Spring and the release of [Burmese pro-democracy campaigner] Aung San Suu Kyi predicted? With all that is happening in the world, the Tibetan people are also hopeful of things turning around,” Dr. Sangay said.

He also praised the vision of the Dalai Lama in building a democratic movement. “His Holiness was inspired by a visit to the Indian Parliament, in which he saw a person of the stature of Jawaharlal Nehru being questioned. The Tibetan Parliament he envisioned in the 1960s gave representation to all regions, sects and even women. He even ensured that our Constitution had a clause that provided for impeaching him. In 2011, when he said he said he would devolve all his political powers to an elected government, many people raised concerns but he stood firm,” Dr. Sangay said.

He said the ‘Tibetan Government in exile’ was a historical continuity of the rule of the Dalai Lama that began in 1642; that it retained the legitimacy and charisma of the Dalai Lama; and that the legitimacy was enhanced by the fact that it is a “democratically elected government”.