Dharamshala - German Green Party politician and Bundestag Vice-President Claudia Roth has asked for "China to accept Tibet's open hand" in the interest of granting the country a genuine, democratically-based autonomy.
Speaking alongside Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay at a press conference held at the Central Tibetan Administration's Lhakpa Tsering Hall, Department of Information and International Relations, on March 9, Roth paid tribute to Tibet.
"I am excited, honoured, privileged and incredibly happy to be here. I first met the Dalai Lama 25 years ago when I was Vice-President of the Green Group in the European Parliament. Now, I come with an open heart to share your problems, your sorrows, your tears, your smiles and your wonderful food," she said.
She also relayed advice she received from Danielle Mitterand, her late friend and former first lady of France: "'Don't forget, forgetting would kill.' One must not forget the hardships and efforts of the Tibetan people. We must learn from them."
Roth – a former Chair of the Bundestag's Human Rights Board – added: "Our basis of living together must be the dignity of human beings. Dignity does not belong to a particular race, religion or gender. It belongs to any human being. In a world full of crime and terror and bloodshed, we need dignity more than ever."
This dignity, Roth argues, needs to be given back to Tibet by the Chinese government: "There is not a Tibetan demand for separation. There is only a real demand for conversation in the pursuit of genuine autonomy. I ask China to accept Tibet's open hand."
She was clear to point out, however, that while "I am a very good friend of Tibet, I am not an enemy of China."
Dr Sangay commented that he was delighted to receive Roth in Dharamshala: “I thank her on behalf of all Tibetans, including those inside Tibet, to have come here. We are grateful that a person of such stature travelled all the way from Germany to Dharamshala to show her support and solidarity."
He added: "Your presence here sends a strong message of hope to us that despite the repression and suppression, there are friends, especially friends [of political significance], who take the trouble to be with the Tibetan people in our hour of need.”
Invited by Dr Sangay, Roth will be guest speaker at the 56th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day at the Main Temple, Dharamshala on March 10.