PM-in-exile appeals to world leaders for 'free Tibet'

Tibet’s PM-in-exile urges global leaders to support cause of ‘free Tibet’ – both for the sake of democracy and the global environment

PM-in-exile appeals to world leaders for 'free Tibet'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Tibetan Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay, who currently lives in exile in India, has urged global leaders to support the cause of a “free Tibet” -- both for the sake of democracy and the global environment.

A Himalayan region of China, Tibet -- which is surrounded by India, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar -- is of considerable ecological importance. 

“Tibet is not only vital for six million Tibetans, but for the whole world -- from an environmental point-of-view, a spiritual point-of-view and a strategic point-of-view,” Sangay told Anadolu Agency.

“Supporting Tibet is to support a rich, ancient civilization,” he added. “It is also [to support] values which we embrace [which] are democratic values.”

A graduate of Harvard University in the U.S., Sangay was elected head of the Tibetan government-in-exile in April 2011.

Beijing, however, remains staunchly opposed to any notion of Tibetan independence.

At an August meeting devoted to the issue, Chinese President Xi Jinping strenuously rejected proposals by the Dalai Lama -- Tibet’s “spiritual leader” -- for Tibetan “autonomy”.

Xi went on to assert that China would actively oppose any perceived threats to its territorial integrity.  

- Ecological issue

Sangay, for his part, said that supporting the cause of a “free Tibet” was also important from an ecological perspective, as the country was the source of several important rivers in the region.

“It is also important for more than a billion people who survive on fresh water coming from Tibet,” he said.

China is currently building a number of dams in Tibet, which, Sangay warned, would have critical implications on neighboring India and Bangladesh.

“Unfortunately, the Chinese government has not signed the UN convention on water sharing,” he said. “So they are not bound to share water as per international norms.”

“The Indian government should be vigilant and make this issue more pronounced,” he added. “I was told the water level of the River Brahmaputra has receded over the years [which] will affect greenery, agriculture and fishing.”

The Brahmaputra River emanates from a glacier located on Mount Kailash in Tibet, where the river is called the Yarlung Tsangpo.

According to Sangay, Tibet is the source of at least 10 major rivers in Asia, including the Brahmputra. 

“Tibet’s glaciers -- where most of these rivers originate -- are fast depleting,” he said. “On top of that, there is deforestation and exploitation of water resources through dam construction and other activities.”

“Downstream countries are going to bear the brunt of Tibet’s ecological destruction,” Sangay warned while attending the fifth All India Tibet Support Groups Conference in India’s northeastern city of Guwahati.

Currently, hundreds of thousands of Tibetans live in exile in different countries, with more than 100,000 said to be living in India alone. 

In 1959, the Dalai Lama -- along with some 80,000 followers -- fled into exile in India.

Sangay concluded by expressing hope that Tibet would soon be a “free country”, whose people would enjoy the “fruits of democracy”. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Kasım 2015, 15:04