Dharamshala — Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Tibet, met with British MPs November 1st at the Houses of Parliament and called on the UK government to support the Middle Way Approach. The exiled Tibetan political leader as called for "a coordinated approach" between the UK, US and EU to tackle China over Tibet. The meeting, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, was part of the Sikyong's five-day visit to the UK.
On November 1st, 2016, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay gave a briefing and held a discussion with members of Parliament at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. The meeting was hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet (APPGT) and chaired by Tim Loughton MP.
During the meeting, the Sikyong covered a range of topics, including the lack of religious freedom in Tibet, the exploitation of Tibet's natural resources and China's development of the region. He specifically discussed the demolitions at Larung Gar Buddhist Institute and the suicide of three nuns due to the forced evictions.
The Sikyong stated China's political and religious repression of the Tibetan people continues to this day. He said the Chinese government's goal is to destroy Tibet, by targeting the foundations of Tibetan civilization: Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan culture and Tibetan language.
Emphasizing His Holiness the Dalai Lama's and Central Tibetan Administration's commitment to the Middle Way Approach, which seeks genuine autonomy for Tibet, Dr Sangay referenced President Obama's support for the Middle Way, saying he "[hoped] the UK Government will come out with a similar statement". He also asked MPs to speak out in solidarity with those at Larung Gar and express support for the Middle Way Approach.
Tim Loughton MP thanked the Sikyong for his briefing and said the UK should be seen to be "standing shoulder-to-shoulder" with other countries in solidarity with Tibet.
MPs attending included Nic Dakin, Fabian Hamilton, Chris Law, Tim Loughton, Dr Tania Mathias, Kerry McCarthy, Liz McInnes, Patrick Grady and Catherine West, who raised a variety of questions to the Sikyong, including the state of negotiations with China, China's exploitation of Tibet's water resources, the relationship between the exiled community and the Indian government, and the future of the Dalai Lama lineage.
Since the meeting between the Sikyong and British MPs, China has apparently lashed out at Britain for allowing such a meeting to occur, saying it should avoid taking actions that damage bilateral ties.
"China is opposed to this act by the Speaker of UK House of Commons which imperils China's core interests," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here while answering a question on the Sikyong's meeting.
"The so called Tibetan government in exile was formed by fleeing separatists after a failed coup in 1959 and has no legitimacy or international recognition... China strongly opposes Lobsang Sangay and other people's separatist acts in any capacity in any country and will strongly oppose their contact with foreign officials," Hua said.
Threatening diplomatic relations, she added "we urge the UK to honor their promise and avoid causing damage to China-UK relations."
China routinely protests foreign dignitaries meetings with Tibetan Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his associates.
UK House of Commons Speaker John Bercow recently hosted Sikyong Dr Sangay at the Parliament House and expressed that it was a “privilege and honour” to welcome “the Sikyong (or) Prime Minister of Tibetan Government in exile”. The meeting took place on November 1, 2016, during Sikyong’s strategic visit to UK to urge firmer support and awareness on the issue of Tibet.
Tibet was invaded by Communist China in 1949. Since that time, over 1.2 million out of 6 million Tibetans have been killed, over 6000 monasteries have been destroyed— the acts of murder, rape and arbitrary imprisonment, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment were inflicted on the Tibetans inside Tibet, Beijing calls a "peaceful liberation".