Paris, France — President of the Tibetan government in exile, known as the Central Tibetan Administration, Dr Lobsang Sangay continued his three-nation tour of Europe, addressing government officials and Tibetan communities on his way.
On January 25, President Sangay met with Senators and National Assembly of France, a meeting chaired by Senator Michel Raison.
The Tibetan President spoke of the strategic importance of France as the nation where the 1988 Strasbourg Proposal was delivered and which led to the Tibetan's Middle Way Approach. Dr Sangay called France the “mother of Middle Way Approach” and urged France to voice their support for the Middle Way Approach to solving the Tibet issue, as the US has in the past.
Expressing his deep concerns about the continuing trend of self-immolations inside Tibet, President Sangay said that despite repeated appeals from the CTA, 151 Tibetans have self-immolated, further adding that the cause and solution to this wave of fiery protest lies within the Chinese government itself.
Speaking of the demolition of Larung Gar and Yanchen Gar as 'unacceptable' and 'unbearable,' he added that the United Nations and the international community needs to know that the tragedy in Tibet is real and that the suffering of Tibetans are too real.
While in France, the President also met with the Tibetan community with Representative Tashi Phuntsok and Secretary of Bureau du Tibet Namgyal Samdup.
In his address, Dr Sangay underlined the importance of following the laws and the ways of the host country but at the same time he added that it is of crucial importance that the Tibetans “integrate and not assimilate.”
Citing the cases of 151 Tibetans who have self-immolated in Tibet for the Tibetan identity and of Tashi Wangchuk who is imprisoned for voicing the need of Tibetan Language to be taught to Tibetan children, Dr Sangay added the importance of preserving our identity living in the democracies and he further urged the Tibetan community in France to shoulder the responsibility of incorporating Tibetan culture and to take initiative to send their children to the weekend Tibetan language schools.
"Tibetan language serves as repository of the teachings of Buddha, and it is important we continue the Tibetan language as a bridge in learning, understanding and analyzing of Buddhism the way that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has called for.
Briefing on the functioning of the Tibetan democracy in exile and freedom of speech as an important part of the democracy, Dr Sangay called for constructive criticism and at the same time urged the Tibetans to be wary of the misinformation and digital propaganda on the social media deliberately designed to cause discrepancies in the Tibetan community. Referencing the WeChat app, Dr Sangay added that viewing and sharing of such content promotes such misleading disruptive information and urged the Tibetans to refrain from doing so.
Speaking of the growing trend of political participation by Tibetans witnessed through the election process as a matter of great pride of the Tibetan democracy in exile, Dr Sangay urged the Tibetans in France to take part in the election process of their local Tibetan community association and to volunteer to be members of the community association.
He further acknowledged the Tibetans who have made voluntary contributions in Tibetan weekend language schools and in the promotion and preservation of the Tibetan identity amongst younger generation growing up in France and added the importance of continuation.