Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay in Switzerland
Bülach, 28 January 2018: Today TCSL had the honour of receiving the President of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in Switzerland. Dr. Lobsang Sangay gave a public speech for the local Tibetans in Bülach.
On his trip through Europe, Dr. Lobsang Sangay visited Switzerland after France and Belgium. On his arrival this morning in front of the Bülach town hall, he was greeted by a frenetic crowd waiving Tibetan and Swiss flags. The atmosphere was festive and cheerful, although on the other side of the street a small group of demonstrators protested peacefully with posters against the president's policies.
In their introductory speeches, the TCSL President, the representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Switzerland and a member of the Tibetan exile parliament welcomed Dr. Lobsang Sangay and thanked him for his participation in this event. The upcoming TCSL elections were addressed as well and all those present were called upon to take an active part in these elections.
Dr. Lobsang Sangay also stressed the importance of Tibetans in exile exercising their democratic rights and duties. A high turnout in regional and supra-regional elections is crucial for the legitimacy of the CTA and thus for the Tibetan cause, so Dr. Lobsang Sangay. Regarding the protests against him, Dr. Lobsang Sangay made it clear that in a democracy, freedom of opinion must be respected. He accepts that not all Tibetans agree with his policies and decisions, even though he himself disagrees with the concerns of the demonstrators.
The political situation in Tibet remains tense, as the case of Tashi Wangchuk shows. For two years now, he has been in Chinese custody on charges of "incitement to separatism". In addition, the self-immolations in Tibet continue. Since 2009, more than 150 Tibetans have taken their own lives in protest against the Chinese occupation of Tibet in this way. Dr. Lobsang Sangay explained how his administration intends to react to the problem with a mix of short- and long-term planning. The so-called "5/50 Programme" is based on the advise of His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Hope for the best and preparation for the worst". It provides for efforts to resolve the Tibet issue in five years' time on the basis of the "middle way approach" and at the same time to ensure the resilience of the CTA in order to maintain the Tibetan struggle for freedom and, if necessary, to preserve Tibetan culture for the next fifty years.
The regional affiliation of political officials in Tibetan exile continues to be a hotly debated topic. For certain groups, it seems to be particularly important whether a person comes from their original region in Tibet, i. e. one of the three provinces (Amdo, Kham or Ü-Tsang). «I believe that people should be chosen according to their skills, not their origin. Moreover, we live in exile and it is not relevant here from which province you come. The crucial thing is that we are all Tibetans," said Dr. Lobsang Sangay. He called for more unity and warned that focusing on regional affiliation would act as a poison to the Tibetan community which is more likely to benefit opponents of the Tibetan cause.
Dr. Lobsang Sangay proudly mentioned that the official websites of the CTA (www.tibet.net and www.tibetonline.tv) have been revamped and that thousands of visitors are registered every day. He called on the audience to visit these platforms regularly: "We Tibetans are now scattered all over the world. I hope that with these websites we can contribute to maintaining a sense of community despite this unfortunate circumstance."
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