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Tibet-Sikyong-Spain-2014Barcelona, 20 October: - Addressing the Catalonia Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, the political leader of Tibetans Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay said "despite over 50 years of Chinese occupation and repression in Tibet, we seek genuine autonomy" for the Tibetan people.

"It is an honour to welcome the delegation from the people of Tibet to the Catalonia Parliament," said Mr Jordi Sole I Ferranda, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee welcoming Dr Lobsang Sangay.

According to the Central Tibetan Administration, Mr Jordi Sole said that the Catalonia Parliament is concerned wherever human rights are not respected. Other members expressed their concern about the present situation in Tibet.

"Since 2009, there has been 132 Tibetans who have self-immolated in Tibet. Sadly 113 have died," said Dr Lobsang Sangay. "The Central Tibetan Administration is very concerned. We have consistently and categorically discouraged self-immolation. But, we support their aspiration calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and freedom in Tibet."

He said, despite over 50 years of Chinese occupation and repression in Tibet, we seek genuine autonomy. The Middle Way Approach respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Unfortunately, since January 2010, there has been a stalemate on dialogue with China to resolve the Tibetan issue.

The Tibetan political leader then met Mrs Anna Simo I Castello, the Vice-President of the Catalonia Parliament, followed by a lunch meeting with Mr. Jaume Ciurana, the Deputy Mayor of Barcelona City.

During the two days visit to the Catalonian capital Barcelona, Sikyong had 10 interviews and one Press Conference at the Barcelona Press Club.

"Yesterday, I witnessed a manifestation in central Barcelona," he said during the Press conference. "I saw large gathering of people. This is not possible or allowed in Tibet. Any form of protest means imprisonment and torture."

In response to media question on the Catalonia people's demand for independence from Spain, Dr Lobsang Sangay said, "We want what you already have, a genuine autonomy for Tibet" within the framework of the Chinese constitution.

On the last leg of four nations Europe visit, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay arrived in Barcelona on 18 October evening. Ven Thubten Wangchen – member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile from Europe, the President and Executive members of the Tibetan Community in Spain received Sikyong at the airport. The Tibetan Community members welcomed Sikyong at the hotel.

During his meeting with the Tibetan Community in Spain, he commended them for the two nursing scholarship that the Community provides annually.

"We are publicizing our various scholarships so that more students and parents are aware of these scholarships. Our scholarship and monetary incentives are transparent for you all to see," said Dr Lobsang Sangay. "Education standard in our Tibetan schools is generally improving."

He spoke of Tenzin Chokyi who was the first recipient of the Sikyong Scholarship with cash prize of Rs. 100,000. She had scored 95.4 per cent in her final school exam.

Education is important because compared to China's population of 1.3 billion, we are only 0.05 per cent. For every 1 Tibetan, there are 199 Chinese. Therefore, we must give education the highest priority and make investment in the education of our children.

Dr Lobsang Sangay reminded his fellow Tibetans, that the key Tibetan institutions; schools, religious and cultural centres were set up by His Holiness the Dalai Lama soon after coming into exile for the preservation of Tibetan culture.

"It is the responsibility of the older generation to teach His Holiness the Dalai Lama's biography to their children," said Sikyong.

He said he considers it was extremely important for him to travel to the different places where Tibetans are living to see and listen to their difficulties and problems they face. "Even if I am not able to assist in solving all their problems, at the least, I can give them a sympathetic hearing," he said.

"We all must be vigilant and remain united. Few followers of Dolgyal have been protesting during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's visits making baseless allegations," he said.

The last program of the Barcelona visit was a public talk at Case del Tibet – Tibet House Sunday night.

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