Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay (c) giving a talk at European Humanities University in Vilnius
DHARAMSHALA, June 17: Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the de facto
Tibetan prime minister, recently concluded his maiden visit to Lithuania as the democratically elected head of the Tibetan people.
He was accompanied by Thubten Samdup, the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Northern Europe.
According to the exile Tibetan administration, the visit was aimed at garnering support for Tibet during Lithuania’s stewardship of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union starting July.
Arriving in the capital Vilnius on Wednesday, June 12, Sikyong Dr Sangay was received by Dalia Kuodyte, Chair of the Parliamentary Tibet Friendship Group and members of the local Lithuanian Tibet Support Group.
On Friday, Sikyong Sangay took part in a discussion titled, ‘Tibet - Present and Future Prospects,’ along with Kuodyte, who stressed that Lithuania is capable of taking effective action and doing more for Tibet.
Kuodytė along with MEP Leonidas Donskis also initiated a petition to President Dalia Grybauskaite, the country's leader, appealing him to mobilise support and urge the EU and the international community to take action on the deteriorating situation in Tibet.
MEP L. Donskis noted that Tibet today is “an examination of our conscience and sensitivity” and said Lithuanians understand the extent of the tragedy of Tibet.
"The tragedy is that today, the Tibetan people have to sacrifice their lives in order to draw the world, the international community's attention. Unfortunately, it is the highest and most terrible price,” Donskis said. “On the other hand, I am confident that China will be forced to revise its policy on Tibet.”
During his two-day stay in Vilinus, Sikyong Sangay met with members of Lithuanian parliament, academics, NGOs and gave several media interviews, according to a report on the official Tibet.net.
Sikyong Sangay also took part in discussions with students of the European Humanities University about democracy, freedom and individual responsibility.
While describing the situation in Tibet, Sikyong Sangay compared it to the occupation of Lithuania during the Second World War and to modern day Belarus. He said that according to the Chinese constitution, Tibetan culture and language should be protected and encouraged, but both are, in reality, “not only discouraged, but also denied.”
He added: “Yes, we are suffering, but do you give up, get depressed? No. We fight democratically, non-violently and we will succeed.”
On the sidelines on his visit, Sikyong Sangay also met with Mayor’s Advisor G Sodeika at the City Hall for a brief discussion on the upcoming visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Vilnius in September. This will be His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s third visit to Lithuania with the last two visits in 1991 and 2001.