Vishal Gulati talks to Lobsang Sangay who says it’s in Chinese interest to give Tibetans more autonomy
Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay says the people in Tibet will be happy if are given more autonomy by China “within the Chinese constitution”. The 46-year-old Harvard educated elected head of the Central Tibetan Administration, who completes three year in office Aug 8, believes that the Tibetans will be happy if the Chinese give them more autonomy.
“Yes, it would be in China’s own interest as we are seeking genuine autonomy within the Chinese constitution for the people in Tibet,” Sangay said.
“We do believe in ‘middle-way’ that even international leaders, including US President Barack Obama, and many Chinese intellectuals, such as imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo, support.”
About China’s seriousness over the issue, he said: “China should be serious over the issue because its sovereignty, territorial integrity and stability are all addressed if the genuine autonomy is granted to Tibetans.”
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet with many of his supporters and took refuge in India when the Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959.
“We hope the Chinese government will review its hardline approach and introduce liberal policies towards Tibetans. I hope that President Xi Jinping will accept dialogue as the only way to resolve the Tibet issue peacefully,” Sangay said.
The Tibetan administration, headquartered in Dharamsala, launched a campaign June 5 to reach out to the international community to counter the Chinese ‘misinformation campaign’ on its ‘middle-way approach’.
Sangay said the response from the international community has been positive towards resolving the issue. “Many including the US Senate and the European Union passed resolutions over the issue.” But Sangay believes in dialogue.
Asked about his initiatives to resume talks between the Dalai Lama envoys and the Chinese, Sangay said: “After the devolution of political authority by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (in 2011), one of our main objectives was to ensure a smooth transition in the aftermath.”
“I am happy to say the transition has been as smooth as it could be.”
China and the Dalai Lama’s envoys have held nine rounds of talks since 2002 to resolve the Tibetan issue.
During the last round of talks – the ninth one – held in Beijing in January 2010, the government-in-exile submitted an explanatory note to the Chinese leadership to clarify its stand on autonomy for the Tibetan people.
At the end of the round, the statement which the Chinese side issued said the two sides had “sharply divided views, as usual”.