By Tenzin Sangmo
DHARAMSHALA, July 2: The Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA) President Dr. Lobsang Sangay expressed confidence that freedom will be restored in Tibet within his lifetime and that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will return to Tibet.
Sangay sat down with presenter Zeinab Badawi in a BBC Hard Talk program interview on Thursday, on the last leg of his 10 day official trip to the UK.
The President said that it is understandable why younger Tibetans would feel frustrated with the exile situation after 60 years but said Tibetans across the world are receiving better education, exposure, and better leaders will emerge in the future to lead the political struggle.
Citing the CTA report ‘Tibet was never a part of China, but the middle way remains a viable option’ he said that although Tibetans have the right to independence, the exile government is seeking genuine autonomy within the framework of Chinese constitution as it is more practical given China’s growing influence. “The envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama are willing to meet anytime and anywhere that the Chinese government wants us to,” he added.
Talking about increasing repression inside Tibet and self-immolations, he said it is painful and tragic but he had consistently made it clear to Tibetans inside Tibet that they should not commit self-immolation but that they are desperate under Chinese rule.
When the presenter questioned Sangay’s observation that news media, including BBC, don’t report as much about Tibet as it does of Uighurs in Xinjiang, Sangay proclaimed that re-education camp exist in Tibet too as the party secretary of Xinjiang was the party secretary of the TAR who implemented the same repressive policies in Tibet for 5 years.
Deliberating on the absence of unfettered access to journalists in Tibet, he admitted that the US Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act (RATA) is a start but the UK government and other governments should consider passing similar laws.
To the interviewer’s implication that fate of Tibetans is in the hands of the Chinese state, Tibetans outside the region are not very relevant to the fate of Tibet including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sangay said Tibetans inside see Tibetans outside as a partner, as the spokesperson.
“But if you study any movement, had you asked Nelson Mandela in the late 1980s; many news media ruled him out. They wrote obituaries about him but eventually, these things change and as far as Tibet is concerned, things will change for the better. That we are very sure.”