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Middle way’ the answer to Tibetan problem: Tibetan leader Lobsang Sangay

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Lobsang-Sangay-Wien-2012Dharamsala: Lobsang Sangay, political leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile, says the ‘middle way’ approach is still the best way to resolve the Tibetan issue.

The 47-year-old also said that his government’s policy was to engage China to resume talks.

“The ‘middle-way’ approach is still our policy. Regarding the talks, our stand is still the same,” Sangay, the elected head of the government-in-exile, who completes four years in office on August 8, told IANS in an interview.

The “middle-way” approach seeks a resolution of the Tibetan issue within the framework of the Chinese constitution.

Sangay said European Council president Donald Tusk called on China to resume a dialogue with representatives of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Earlier, the US told the Chinese government to hold direct and substantive discussions with the Dalai Lama or his representatives without preconditions.

Also during the UN Human Rights Council’s 29th Session on June 24 in Geneva, concerns were expressed over the human rights situation in China including in Tibet, Sangay said.

The first political successor to the Dalai Lama, Sangay categorically said that there should be a dialogue “if the Tibetan issue is to be resolved peacefully”.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet with many of his supporters in 1959 and took refuge in India when the Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa.

Asked about his initiatives since he came to helm, Sangay said: “With the blessings of the Dalai Lama and solidarity of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet, the 14th Kashag (cabinet) has largely been able to carry out its responsibilities.”

About human rights violations in Tibet, he said: “The death of Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche recently is sad. This shows the continuing hardline policies of the Chinese government.”

US lawmakers held a moment of silence last month, expressing sadness over the death in prison of Rinpoche, a Tibetan spiritual figure.

Said Sangay: “Even if Tibet has been under occupation for 56 years, faith and fervour of Tibetans is alive and will remain so.”

He said despite material development, the people in Tibet were awaiting the return of the Dalai Lama.

Sangay, who has never visited his ancestral land, said restrictions had been tightened on Tibetans with a grid-based surveillance system.

Admitting that the Chinese government had built major infrastructures in Tibet, he said these were mainly concentrated in urban areas.

“Since 90 percent of Chinese migrants work in urban areas, the primary beneficiaries are the Chinese migrants,” he added.

The Tibetan exile administration is based in this northern hill town and is going to elect a set of new political leader next year.

The preliminary election for the Sikyong (political leader) and members of the 16th Tibetan parliament will be held on October 18, and the final election on March 20, 2016.

(IANS)

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“Indians Ought to Take Pride in Their Buddhist Heritage” says Tibetan Legal Scholar and Politician Lobsang Sangay

Tibetan Buddhism across the Himalayas is intangible and therefore indestructible but so is the Indian Buddhism. It's about time we start taking pride in our Buddhist roots.

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Prayer Wheels in Buddhism
Buddhism in India. Pixabay

New Delhi, July 31, 2017: Tibet is the autonomous region of the Republic of China and due to the Sino-Indian standoff, Tibet is at the heart of political differences between these regions. However, the interview talked majorly about the cultural exchanges between India and Tibet. Upon being asked whether Momo is a Tibetian delicacy or not, Sikyong immediately certified with affirmation, as the term itself suggests meat filled dumpling in Tibet.

“Indeed, the origin of Buddhism and the provenance of the momo can be seen as two immutable truths that bind Tibet and India together forever. Others can claim them and offer seemingly convincing arguments but we know better. Buddhism, taken to Tibet from India from the 7th century onwards–most importantly by monks from the ancient Nalanda university–is now an inextricable part of the Tibetan people. And momos have become as intrinsic a part of India ever since Tibetans and their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled Chinese occupation to seek refuge, appropriately, in the land of Buddha’s birth.” Lobsang Sangay said.

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“It may be also germane to remember that at its peak from the 7th to the 9th centuries, the Tibetan Empire was bigger than the Chinese one and extended as far south as Bengal and north to Turkmenistan, Mongolia, and Siberia. Maybe momos traveled along with Tibetan Buddhism to those areas, both morphed into local variants and then journeyed beyond.” He further added.

It was a remarkable revelation that Buddhism culture is more widespread than one would think, fourteen countries being a Buddhist majority, while the total number of Buddhists around the world account for a total of 500 million people who are spread across 52 countries in total. Buddhism is said to have its roots in India, while it’s celebrated around the world and enjoys immense popularity we Indians are yet to embrace the fact that Buddhism, in fact, is an integral part of our culture and to protect the culture is our responsibility.

[bctt tweet=”Indians should take pride in their Buddhist culture” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

Not only Tibetian but ancient Buddhist scriptures and commentaries by Indian scholars constitute an inconvertible link between India and Buddhists across Asia. Tibetian scholarly works are majorly based on and influenced by the references in the Indian scriptures, hundreds of books are written and preserved in Tibetian monasteries.

According to Sikyong, Buddhism in Indian origin is not emphasized enough and the links are blinded by the strong Asian narratives compounded by their inexplicable official resistance.

What could be more indicative of this indifference than the lament of a former Sri Lankan envoy to India that precious relics of the Buddha languish in closed quarters at the Indian Museum in Calcutta. We Indians must take pride in our Buddhist heritage too and build on the myriad cultural and emotional links with other nations that it offers, as the benefits are obvious.

Based on the blog Silk Stalkings in Economic Times.

Prepared by Nivedita Motwani. Twitter @Mind_Makeup


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It is “logical” for Donald Trump to meet the Dalai Lama: says Lobsang Sangay, Tibet’s prime minister in exile

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FILE PHOTO: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama watches a dance performance on the last day of his teachings in Tawang in the northeastern Indian state of Arunchal Pradesh November 11, 2009. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File Photo

By David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of Tibet’s government in exile said on Wednesday it would be “logical” for Donald Trump to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, since the U.S. president has visited homes of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions on his current international tour.

FILE PHOTO: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama smiles during a news conference in Hamburg, August 21, 2011. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

The Dalai Lama has met the past four U.S. presidents, greatly angering China, which considers Tibet a renegade province and the spiritual leader a dangerous separatist. He has not yet been invited to meet Trump, who has been courting Beijing’s support over North Korea.

“Donald Trump … has been to all three major sacred places of three major traditions,” Lobsang Sangay, Tibet’s prime minister in exile, said referring to Trump’s visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican.

“So what is left is Buddhism and his holiness the Dalai Lama is the most prominent Buddhist leaders in the world,” Sangay told the Heritage Foundation think tank on a visit to Washington.

“If he can meet with all leaders of major traditions, I think it’s just logical that he meet with the most prominent Buddhist leader,” he said.

Sangay did not say whether he thought such a meeting likely, but said: “We are Tibetans. We are perennially optimistic.”

Sangay told Reuters earlier this month that the Dalai Lama had planned to visit the United States in April but had delayed the trip until June because a hectic schedule had left him exhausted. He also said Washington was not part of the June itinerary.

A U.S. administration official told Reuters this week it was premature to talk about a meeting between Trump and the Dalai Lama and that the administration’s priority was persuading China to do more to rein in North Korea’s increasingly threatening nuclear and missile program.

On Wednesday, however, Washington risked Beijing’s anger when a U.S. warship sailed within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, the first such challenge to Beijing in the strategic waterway since Trump took office.

Last week China said it had complained to the United States after a U.S. congressional delegation visited the Dalai Lama at his headquarters in India to draw world attention to human rights in Tibet.

The U.S. lawmakers delivered a blunt message to China that they would not relent in their campaign to protect rights in Tibet and would call for legislative and trade steps to press their point.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Lobsang Sangay re-election as PM after exile spurs hope for Tibet

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Lobsang Sangay, the incumbent prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, speaks to media after being re-elected for second term in office in Dharmsala, India Source: VOA

The re-election of Lobsang Sangay as prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile has renewed hopes among some that dialogue between the Dalai Lama and China’s central government, which stopped in 2010, will begin again.

On the day of his election, Sangay vowed to push for autonomy for the Tibetan people and restart talks with the Chinese government. 

“We remain fully committed to the Middle Way Approach, which clearly seeks genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within China. It is hoped the leaders in Beijing will see reason with the Middle Way Approach, instead of distorting it, and step forward to engage in dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s envoys,” he said.

No talks since 2010

Representatives of the Dalai Lama held several rounds of talks with China until they were stalled in 2010 by protests and a subsequent crackdown in Tibet.

Tsering Passang, Chair of the Tibetan Community in Britain, said whether or not talks restart is in Beijing’s hands.

“It’s really up to the Chinese, and due to the current reality, the geopolitical situation, as well as the economic situation, China has the upper hand, so it’s going to be a challenge for the Tibetan leadership,” he said. 

FILE - An elderly Tibetan woman, who was among those waiting to receive the Dalai Lama, gets emotional as the spiritual leader greets devotees upon arrival at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics near Dharmsala, India.An elderly Tibetan woman, who was among those waiting to receive the Dalai Lama, gets emotional as the spiritual leader greets devotees upon arrival at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics near Dharmsala, India (VOA)

 

Sangay defeated challenger Penpa Tsering

Sangay ran against the speaker of the Tibetan Parliament, Penpa Tsering and received 58 percent of nearly 60,000 votes cast. About 90,000 exiled Tibetans are registered to vote in 40 countries.

However, China has largely ignored the elections, with the foreign ministry only making terse remarks on the ballot results when pressed to comment at a recent briefing. Spokesman Hong Lei said the voting was nothing but a “farce” staged by an “illegal” organization that is not recognized by any country in the world.

Robert Barnett, the director of modern Tibet studies at Columbia University, is not very optimistic about the resumption of talks.

Also Read: Middle way’ the answer to Tibetan problem: Tibetan leader Lobsang Sangay

“It’s quite disheartening at the moment because there are no signs from the Chinese side of any concession at all, in fact very much the opposite. But of course the Chinese side would not disclose if it was going to make a move. It would be in its interest to move very quickly at a time of its own choosing,” he said.

FILE - An exile Tibetan nun cries as she prays during a candlelit vigil in solidarity with two Tibetans, who exiles claim have immolated themselves demanding freedom for Tibet, in Dharmsala, India, Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

An exile Tibetan nun cries as she prays during a candlelit vigil in solidarity with two Tibetans, who exiles claim have immolated themselves demanding freedom for Tibet, in Dharmsala, India(VOA)

China claims control of Tibet for centuries

China says it has maintained control of the Tibetan region since the 13th century, and the Communist Party says it has liberated the Tibetan people through removing monks from power who the party says presided over a feudal system. 

But many Tibetans argue they were independent until Communist forces invaded in 1950. Nine years later the Dalai Lama fled into exile after a failed uprising against the government.

While the Dalai Lama remains the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, he gave up political authority in 2011, and called for democratic elections to choose a prime minister to lead the parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala, India.

With the current Dalai Lama now in his 80s, the issue of who will select the next Dalai Lama is gaining in importance.   

But P.K. Gautam, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in India, said any political talks that may develop should not be confused with discussions over who will select the next Dalai Lama.

“So who selects the Dalai Lama is a very separate process, but the political negotiations, for the autonomous region, the way it is desired, that can be taken on by this central administration. So it’s a long term process; it’s just one of these steps that may lead to a solution so that the Tibet autonomous region regains its pillars,” he said.

Many Tibetans hope Sangay’s election is also a step towards easing discontent throughout the Tibetan community. More than 100 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against the Chinese government since 2009. (VOA)