Paris, France — Michel Raison – President of the Tibet Group in the French Senate – has expressed that "the non-violent struggle of the Tibetan people must be commended and is an example for other struggles to follow."
Speaking on March 12 at a press conference with Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay at the French Parliament in Paris, Raison underlined the importance of the human rights of the Tibetan people and said that supporters of Tibet in both the French National Assembly and the French Senate are working together for the country.
"The French people support us for being involved in the non-violent struggle of the Tibetan people," he said.
Dr Sangay thanked members of the French Parliament for their support: "The international community should support Tibet because of the non-violent struggle of the Tibetan people. Support for Tibet is support for non-violence and peace."
He also remarked that while he found himself in the land of liberty, "the opposite of liberty is taking place in Tibet."
"If the Chinese authorities put an end to repression in Tibet, there will be no more self-immolations. We continue to discourage Tibetans from self-immolation," he said.
Since February 2009, 136 Tibetans have committed acts of self-immolation with 116 of those acts resulting in death.
Dr Sangay raised his concern about the large systematic migration of the Chinese population into Tibet, which is causing economic marginalisation, cultural assimilation and ecological destruction.
"Inside Tibet, nothing has changed. In fact, it has got worse," he added.
Public surveillance has increased: second-generation chip ID cards have been introduced to monitor the movements of Tibetans by Chinese security personnel, sharpshooters are positioned on building rooftops and there are security check points across towns and cities in Tibet.
Regarding China's impact on Tibetan ecology, Dr Sangay said: "Over 1 billion people in Asia drink and depend on the water from rivers that start in Tibet. There will be shortage of water due to deforestation and the melting of glaciers in the country."
Many argue that Tibet's potential water shortage is being caused by the exponential building of huge dams across Tibet's waterways – including on the Brahmaputra river – whose source is in the Himalayas and which runs through Bangladesh, China and India. There are fears in India that the river will be diverted into China. More significantly, experts are concerned that the next global war will be one fought over water.
In response to questions about the dialogue between Tibet and China, Dr Sangay said that the Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama are ready to engage in dialogue with the Chinese government at "any time, any place."
"The Middle Way Approach does not seek separation from China but genuine autonomy for the people within the framework of the Chinese constitution. Resolving the Tibetan issue will bring moral respect to China. Moral respect must be earned, but not by military might," he added.
Dr Sangay concluded questions by asserting that His Holiness the Dalai Lama remains the primary voice of Tibet and its people.