iconimg Monday, August 31, 2015

Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times
Dharamsala, December 10, 2012
Emphasising that self-immolation protests in Tibet have bring into question the claims of the Chinese government that Tibetans living under its rule are content, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay said "for decades, against astronomical odds, Tibetans in Tibet have challenged this assertion and channelled their discontent in peaceful and myriad ways".

His statement was read out in a programme organised by Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize to spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and the 64th anniversary of the International Human Rights Day in which hundreds of Tibetan participated.

Paying obeisance to the spiritual leader on the occasion, Sangay said in the twenty-three years since receiving the Nobel Prize, the Dalai Lama's stature has attained such depth that his very name has become synonymous with compassion and non-violence.

Using the occasion to draw attention to the need for immediate concern and action in light of the over 94 Tibetan self-immolations occurring since 2009, Sangay pointed out that the phenomenon is no longer exclusively monastics but has spread to ordinary Tibetans.

"More recently, in addition to the fiery self-immolations, other forms of protests and displays of solidarity have occurred throughout Tibet," said Sangay, adding that self-immolations represent a new threshold of Tibetans' despair and resentment, and a worsening of the vicious cycle of unrest-repression-more unrest.

"Therefore, it is our sacred duty to make the cries of the self-immolators and other protestors heard around the world," said Sangay.

Sangay remarked that Chinese authorities have blamed the immolations on the influence of Tibetan leaders, only undermining themselves as they show that they have utterly failed to attain any loyalty despite over 50 years of occupation.

Reiterating the exiled leadership's commitment to the middle-way approach and to the resumption of dialogue, Sangay said, "The responsibility as well as the solution for the current crisis in Tibet lies with the Chinese government."

Expressing gratitude towards the Chinese friends based outside China for their support, Sangay said, "The exiled community, however, is saddened at the silence and seeming indifference of most Chinese people, particularly that of Chinese intellectuals and public thinkers to the suffering of the Tibetan people."

"The Tibetan struggle is neither anti-China nor anti-Chinese people. I appeal to our Chinese brothers and sisters to join us in supporting the aspirations of the Tibetan people," said Sangay.

He also declared May 17 as the solidarity day for Tibet. The 11th Panchen Lama, a six-year-old boy, Gendhun Choeky Nyima, was taken into custody by the Chinese on this day.

"To our brothers and sisters in Tibet, we are with you every step of the way. The three principles of unity, innovation and self-reliance will guide us towards our goal of seeing the Dalai Lama return to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans," said Sangay.