By Tenzin Dharpo
CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay speaks on Tibet’s environment and its global significance at Expotural 2018, the Mountain and Sustainable Trade Fair at the IFEMA (International Trade Fair of Madrid), 1 November 2018. Photo-tibet.net
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 2: Tibetan President who is in the Spanish capital on an official visit on Thursday spoke on the perils of Tibet’s endangered environment and its global consequences at the opening ceremony of the Expotural 2018, the Mountain and Sustainable Trade Fair at the IFEMA (International Trade Fair of Madrid).
Dr. Lobsang Sangay said that the centuries old relationship between the Tibetan people and their surrounding nature of interdependency and and harmonious sync has been disrupted by global warming and reckless pursuits by the Chinese government, causing irreversible damage to the Tibetan plateau.
He said, “According to the 2007 UNDP report, Tibet’s grasslands are turning into deserts at a rate of 2,330 sq km per year. Despite the widespread resentment it has caused, China is vested in gaining access to the nomadic lands for the extraction of resources. This brings us to the question of why China invaded Tibet. It is not a coincidence that in Chinese, Tibet is called Xizang, which literally means ‘Western Treasure.’ One of the precise reason for China invading Tibet.”
Dr. Sangay pointed out that China has been benefitting from Tibet’s rich natural deposits such as copper, zinc, iron and lithium which fuels the rapid rise of the oriental super power. However, he said, “Tibetan communities enjoy no benefits from the extractions, while Chinese companies continue to strike it rich in Tibet. The mining operations are carried out without the local Tibetan people’s consent, involvement, and in some cases, even without their knowledge.”
While the Tibetan President was received positively by the crowd and the organisers of the trade fair, Chinese traders withdrew from the event after organisers refused demands to boycott the Tibetan leader. “At a time when many world leaders shy away from meeting me due to Chinese pressure, you have so courageously invited me to speak here at this event. I thank you for having me here. Tibetans all over the world salute your moral standing,” he said in his address.
The day before, he met with Spanish legislators and prominent politicians including the Mayor of Madrid city. He also spoke on the Tibetan issue and situation of Tibet on the invitation of the CEIM, the confederation of businessmen from Madrid and Ateneo Madrid, Casa del Tibet.
The head of the Tibetan polity is currently on an official six-nation trip to Spain, Switzerland, Germany, US, Canada and Netherlands.