By – Staff Writer
TOKYO: Tibetan political leader Dr Lobsang Sangay today received multiple rounds of applause when he addressed the members of the Japanese Parliament at the National Diet building which is Japan’s bicameral legislative based in Tokyo. Members of Parliament, including advisers to Japanese government agencies and committee on foreign relations welcomed Dr Sangay at the Parliament of Japan
In his address, Mr Shimura Hakubun, former Education Minister of Japan and the current Chairman of Japanese Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet, underlined the need to support the preservation of Tibet’s Buddhist culture, which says is spreading across the world and effective in dealing with conflicts in the world.
Describing Japan as the country which respects human rights, democracy and morality, Ms Yoshiko Sakurai, a veteran journalist and head of think tank, Japan Institute of National Fundamentals, urged Japan to reinvigorate their effort to support the Tibetan people. She appealed to the members of Japanese parliament to host His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetan political leader Dr Lobsang Sangay whenever they visit Japan. “This will send a very important message to the international community,” she said.
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay addressed the members of the Parliament on Tibet and freedom.
Congratulating the establishment of Japanese Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet consisting of 87 members of parliament, which is largest in the parliamentary support group in the world, Sikyong said the group sends a very powerful message of hope and encouragement to Tibetans suffering repression inside Tibet.”
Sikyong congratulated Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s successful meeting with US President Donald Trump. As Prime Minister Abe has said Japan will play a leading roles in the international community by coordinating its foreign policies with the US, Sikyong urged him to support Middle Way Approach of the Central Tibetan Administration towards seeking genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people.
“Tibet was historically an independent nation and a great empire which at one time extended to China, central and south Asia. But it is now under occupation of China and there is political repression, economic marginalisation, social discrimination, environmental destruction and cultural assimilation,” he said.
“China’s constitution allows for religious freedom and Chinese government claims there is religious freedom in Tibet, but the destruction of Larung Gar and other monasteries clearly demonstrate that the reality is otherwise,” he added.
Sikyong said Tibetans in exile under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama rebuilt all the major monasteries brick by brick that were destroyed in Tibet and managed to revive Buddhism in Tibet. “That is spirit of the Tibetan people. No matter how much you destroy us, we will rise up again and again,” he said.
Sikyong reiterated that the Chinese communist government has no legitimacy and credibility in recognising the next Dalai Lama. “Look at their track record. They have destroyed 98% of the monasteries and nunneries, expelled 99.99% of monks and nuns and criticised His Holiness the Dalai Lama throughout his lifetime. So what credibility they have in recognising the reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. So it is similar to Fidel Castro recognising the pope and expecting Christians to follow which is not going to happen,” Sikyong said.
Sikyong said “China’s expansion in borders of India, neighbouring Asian countries and Senkaku Islands has already happened in Tibet over 50 years ago. Satellite images showing the building of airfields on the disputed islands by China. But China has already 5 airfields in Tibet. Hence, had the neighbouring countries prevented China from invading Tibet, its expansion would not have happened.”
Sikyong said China is controlling Tibet, known as water tower of Asia, and its rivers which are the lifeline of billions of people in neighbouring downstream Asian countries including India, China, Bangladesh and Asean countries. “Experts and scientists says before wars were fought over land, nowadays wars are fought over oil, and soon wars will be fought over water. In the last 50 years, 50% of glaciers in Tibet have melted and disappeared, and by the year 2100 the remaining glaciers will melt and disappear. If that happened there will be major crisis of Tibet in the Asian continent.”
Sikyong said “Tibet is a litmus test for countries for their moral standard and their expectation for human rights. So it is a collective responsibility of the Asian countries who share Tibet’s Buddhist civilization and those who depend on Tibet for water to address the issue of Tibet.”
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay addressed the parliament with national flags of Japan and Tibet in the background.
-Report filed by Office of Tibet, Japan-