By Tenzin Nyidon
The former President of the Tibetan government-in-exile Dr. Lobsang Sangay, during the 2023 GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum in Slovakia reiterated the Tibetan people’s commitment to continue to fight to resolve the Sino-Tibetan issue despite overwhelming Chinese government resources through propaganda, economic might and geopolitical pressure. He was a panellist at the forum along with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya who won the presidential election in Belarus in 2020, but had to flee to exile and currently serves as the head of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus and Jamie Fly, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Radio Free Europe (or Radio Liberty) on Friday.
“The situation inside Tibet has gone from bad to worse since Xi Jinping became President. 157 Tibetans have committed self-immolation out of which 133 have died so the protest and resentment inside is continuing,” he said. Speaking about his role as a former President of the Tibetan government-in-exile for 10 years, Dr. Lobsang spoke about how he was never allowed to meet the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Europe, America and Canada due to Chinese pressure.
“In 10 years, I lobbied Washington D.C. two or three times a year and went there 30-40 times. Finally, a law was passed.” ‘Tibetan Policy and Support Act’ was signed into law on December 27, 2020, which mandates America to support the Tibetan cause, including the succession of the Dalai Lama without interference from the Chinese government.
During the panel, Dr. Lobsang also spoke about how truthful reporting and a free press are essential instruments for democracy and how many European countries remain divided over China as a threat to freedom, human rights and democracy, and called for reciprocity with the Chinese government when it comes to allowing Western countries’ social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to be made accessible to the Chinese people to challenge disinformation.
When the panel’s anchor mentioned “Tibet is a lost cause” twice, Dr. Lobsang intervened and reminded the audience of how Tibet is not a lost cause and that it is just a matter of time by giving the example of how the people of Central Europe thought that Berlin Wall will never come down due to USSR’s power but was eventually dismantled. “My country Tibet is under occupation. Six million Tibetans are suffering. As a human being and Tibetan, I have no option but to express my solidarity. My father was a freedom fighter and has passed on his legacy to me and I have to pass on my legacy to my daughter including all the younger generation,” he said.