Jamphel Yeshi, 27, engulfed in flames runs at a protest rally demanding international intervention in the ongoing crisis inside Tibet on March 26, 2012. (Photo/Reuters/Adnan Abidi)
DHARAMSHALA, August 21: Tibet’s elected leader Dr Lobsang Sangay expressed disappointment at the global response to the unfolding crisis inside Tibet, even as the number of self-immolations touched 50 this month.
Addressing members of international press in the Indian capital New Delhi on Monday, Dr Sangay noted that the wave of fiery protests inside Tibet were a reflection of Chinese government policies.
“The fact that these Tibetans are going to such lengths of protest means the [promised Chinese] ‘socialist paradise’ never touched the land of Tibet – the welfare and education policies they always write on paper were never realised,” the de facto Tibetan prime minister was quoted as saying by media outlets.
He added that the self-immolating Tibetans have no recourse to other forms of protest against China's rule inside Tibet.
"Since I took over, the situation in Tibet became worse... and given the constraints on any freedom of speech, Tibetans have unfortunately resorted to self-immolation," he said.
50 Tibetans have set themselves on fire, since 2009, demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
"We have made several appeals to Tibetan people not to resort to drastic actions like self-immolation but it continues today. It brings sadness to Tibetan people and as Buddhists we pray for them."
Kalon Tripa urged other countries to pay attention to the plight of the Tibetan people.
"Ignoring us or not supporting us might send a message to other marginalized groups around the world that perhaps it is not worth investing in democracy and non-violence," he said.
Dr Sangay pushed for an international delegation to be sent to Tibet to investigate the causes behind the fiery protests and for unrestricted access of the international media to the region.
Calling his job one of the “most difficult in the world,” the Harvard law graduate said that the Tibetan leadership will be closely observing China’s once-in-a-decade leadership change.
“We need to study their background and personalities … Then only we can guess how they will deal with Tibet – but the past 50 years doesn’t give us much reason to be optimistic,” Dr Sangay said. “But as a human being one should remain always hopeful – and with so many changes in Arab countries and Aung San Suu Kyi freed, there are reasons to be hopeful.”
The Tibetan leader was in New Delhi on his way back from the Bihar’s capital city of Patna, where he addressed a seminar on the topic 'Role of Tibet in Future Geo-Politics' on a day-long visit.
Stressing that the Tibetan movement was based on the Indian ethos, Dr Sangay said, "The Tibetan freedom movement is a 'Made in India' concept as the exiled people of Tibet have adopted the Indian culture and democratic values, with a thrust on non-violence in their pursuit.”
While in the Indian capital, Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay met some “dignitaries” and is scheduled to arrive back to the exile headquarters of Dharamshala later today.