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Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses the gathering during the 50th year celebration of Tibet Insitute Rikon. The event was attended by around 4000 people from all parts of Europe. Around 4000 people have come to attend the function organised by Tibet Institute Rikon with support of Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtensein. Winterthur, September 22, 2018. Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal
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Free world should not give free pass to China on fundamental issues while engaging in trade: Prez Sangay tells BBC
[Friday, November 24, 2017 19:20]
By Tenzin Dharpo

DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 24: Tibetan President Dr. Lobsang Sangay on Thursday in an interview with the BBC said that while China’s economic prowess grows, nations in the free world should not side-step fundamental issues for trade commitments.

“Human rights, democracy, environmental rights, all these discourse are diminished or diluted in all the countries where they have free trade agreement. I have been to Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and Norway just recently and they all don’t want to talk much about Tibet, human right, democracy. This is you know quiet scary because there is lot of self censorship going on,” the head of the Tibetan polity told noted TV journalist Yalda Hakim on her program 'The Impact'.

The Harvard educated statesman also questioned, “the issue is should we transform China and make them look more like us, liberal democracy, or should we transform to look more like China. Thats the choice. So hence we have to take a principle stand. Of course you must have free trade, you must engage with China, but don’t give free-pass.”

President Sangay also said that China’s way of harnessing power via economic lure is not new. “One Belt One Road 60 some countries have subscribed to it. It’s okay. But as far as Tibet is concerned, we lost our country after one road. Chinese promised us that this road will lead to prosperity and peace, and we helped them build that road. And Chinese paid us silver coins, in fact they build a silver coin factory in Chengdu. And after the road was completed, trucks came, tanks came, guns came and that’s how our country was occupied. So, One Belt One Road is good, but I think there should be quid pro quo and principled trade based on human rights,” he said.

Many nations including developed ones have increasingly censored issues relating to violation of basic rights in Tibet and even shunned away from meeting the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama in fears of China backlash.

In November 2016, following the visit of the Dalai Lama to Mongolia, China hiked tariffs on Mongolian trucks passing through Chinese territory significantly cutting off a main supply line for the country. The act was later rescinded when the Mongolian leader pledged to not invite the Tibetan leader to the country.
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