By Vishal Gulati
Dharamsala, Aug 5 (IANS) Lobsang Sangay, political leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile, says the ‘middle way’ approach is still the best way to resolve the Tibetan issue.
The 47-year-old also said that his government’s policy was to engage China to resume talks.
“The ‘middle-way’ approach is still our policy. Regarding the talks, our stand is still the same,” Sangay, the elected head of the government-in-exile, who completes four years in office on August 8, told IANS in an interview.
The “middle-way” approach seeks a resolution of the Tibetan issue within the framework of the Chinese constitution.
Sangay said European Council president Donald Tusk called on China to resume a dialogue with representatives of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Earlier, the US told the Chinese government to hold direct and substantive discussions with the Dalai Lama or his representatives without preconditions.
Also during the UN Human Rights Council’s 29th Session on June 24 in Geneva, concerns were expressed over the human rights situation in China including in Tibet, Sangay said.
The first political successor to the Dalai Lama, Sangay categorically said that there should be a dialogue “if the Tibetan issue is to be resolved peacefully”.
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet with many of his supporters in 1959 and took refuge in India when the Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa.
Asked about his initiatives since he came to helm, Sangay said: “With the blessings of the Dalai Lama and solidarity of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet, the 14th Kashag (cabinet) has largely been able to carry out its responsibilities.”
About human rights violations in Tibet, he said: “The death of Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche recently is sad. This shows the continuing hardline policies of the Chinese government.”
US lawmakers held a moment of silence last month, expressing sadness over the death in prison of Rinpoche, a Tibetan spiritual figure.
Said Sangay: “Even if Tibet has been under occupation for 56 years, faith and fervour of Tibetans is alive and will remain so.”
He said despite material development, the people in Tibet were awaiting the return of the Dalai Lama.
Sangay, who has never visited his ancestral land, said restrictions had been tightened on Tibetans with a grid-based surveillance system.
Admitting that the Chinese government had built major infrastructures in Tibet, he said these were mainly concentrated in urban areas.
“Since 90 percent of Chinese migrants work in urban areas, the primary beneficiaries are the Chinese migrants,” he added.
The Tibetan exile administration is based in this northern hill town and is going to elect a set of new political leader next year.
The preliminary election for the Sikyong (political leader) and members of the 16th Tibetan parliament will be held on October 18, and the final election on March 20, 2016.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at [email protected] )