Sangay adopts new strategy for Tibet autonomy

Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay, who took the oath of office for his second consecutive term here on Friday, announced a new multi-pronged strategy to achieve genuine autonomy for people in Tibet.

Toeing the path adopted by the Dalai Lama for years to resolve the issue of Tibet with China through the ‘middle-way approach’, Sangay said: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama has time and again advised us to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”

“Therefore, I had proposed the strategy of five-50.”

Explaining the strategy, the elected head of the Central Tibetan Administration said “In the next five years, it’s clear that we must put maximum efforts in achieving genuine autonomy for all Tibetans based on the middle-way approach.”

“However, in case, we have to continue our struggle for many years, we need to strategise in order to strengthen and sustain our cause for the next 50 years. We have to protect and preserve our unique Tibetan identity and tradition.”

Sangay, who was re-elected on April 27 after defeating his only rival Penpa Tsering, said: “We need to build self-reliance in the Tibetan world, in both education and economy.”

“Five-50 is a strategy for success. In five years we can achieve genuine autonomy or in the next 50 years China will gradually change for the better. Either way we will gain basic freedom,” he explained.

The Dalai Lama, who is revered as a spiritual leader, presided over the oath-taking ceremony in this north Indian hill town that also saw attendance from Tibetan diaspora settled across the globe.

The 48-year-old prime minister, a senior fellow of Harvard Law School, took over the reins of the government first time on August 7, 2011, from Samdhong Rinpoche, who held the post for the previous 10 years in two five-year terms.

A confident Sangay believes in dialogue to solve the Tibetan problem with China.

“We remain committed to the middle-way approach and reiterate that dialogue is the most realistic approach and the only way to find a mutually beneficial solution to the Tibet issue,” Sangay told IANS in an interview.

“The middle-way approach neither seeks separation from the People’s Republic of China nor high degree of autonomy but genuine autonomy for all Tibetan people under a single administration,” he said.

On the ongoing deadlock over the talks between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and China, Sangay said in his address: “We are committed to make efforts towards and resolve the issue of Tibet peacefully during His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s lifetime.”

The Dalai Lama’s envoys and the Chinese have held nine rounds of talks since 2002 to resolve the Tibetan issue but no major breakthrough has been achieved so far.

The last talks were held in Beijing in January 2010.

On the ongoing self-immolations in Tibet to protest Beijing’s “repressive policies” and demand the return of the Dalai Lama to his homeland, Sangay said their sacrifices would not go in vain.

“In order to exercise the right to administer internal affairs and be the masters of our own areas, I urge the youths in Tibet to put maximum efforts in their studies,” he said.

With the Dalai Lama stepping down from diplomacy and active politics, the elected leader of Tibetan people, also known as Sikyong, has acquired added stature.

The Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959. The Tibetan administration in exile is based in this north Indian hill town.

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