Sikyong Penpa Tsering of the Central Tibetan Administration met with President Andre do Prado and Vice President Gil Dinuz, Walter Feldman, President of Longevidade Expo+Fórum, Ven Lama Rinchen Khyenrab, President of THB, Representative Jigme Tsering from the Office of Tibet-Brazil on October 2, 2023. Photo: CTA

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Sao Paulo — Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration said during his recent visit to Brazil: "Westerners refer to Tibet as the roof of the world, Asian countries view Tibet as the water tower of Asia, and many scientists, including Chinese researchers, now recognize Tibet as the third pole," stressing that Tibet is not only politically important, but also environmentally important for the world.

Sikyong (President) Penpa Tsering, from the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), made his first visit to South American countries. He arrived in Brazil on October 1, 2023 and began official meetings with parliamentarians and leaders. This is Sikyong Penpa Tsering's first official visit to Brazil. He will then travel to Colombia and Mexico as part of his tour of Latin America.

Sikyong Penpa Tsering, the democratically elected leader of the Tibetan people, was warmly welcomed at the Sao Paulo Legislative Assembly on October 2, 2023. He was greeted by President Andre do Prado and Vice President Gil Dinuz during his inaugural visit to the Sao Paulo Assembly. The delegation accompanying Sikyong included Representative Jigme Tsering from the Office of Tibet-Brazil, Walter Feldman, President of Longevidade Expo+Fórum and former President of the State Assembly, Ven Lama Rinchen Khyenrab, President of THB, Sandra Fernandes Erickson from RangZen: Movimento Tibete Livre-Brasil, and Daniel Sermento from THB.

During the meeting, which lasted for over an hour, Sikyong emphasized the geopolitical significance of Tibet, as well as its crucial role in resolving urgent environmental crises in the world. He said, "Westerners refer to Tibet as the roof of the world, Asian countries view Tibet as the water tower of Asia, and many scientists, including Chinese researchers, now recognize Tibet as the third pole,” stressing that Tibet is not only politically important, but also environmentally important for the world.

He also drew a parallel with Brazil's direct experience of climate change, as evidenced by the forest fires in the Amazon, which means that Brazil is perfectly placed to talk about climate change on the international stage. As climate change in one part of the world also affects other parts, climatic conditions in Brazil will have an impact on Tibet and vice versa. He therefore also asked the leaders of the State Assembly to be cautious with China and Chinese investment in Brazil, as democratic nations like Brazil can play an important role in promoting global environmental security, human rights and freedom when dealing with their Chinese counterparts.

Sikyong also pointed out about critical situation inside Tibet, he mentioned that Tibetan identity remains on the precipice of extermination as a result of President Xi Jinping's policy of sinicisation and forced assimilation of future generations of Tibetans, which has forced a million of them into state-run colonial boarding schools. "At least 157 Tibetans in Tibet have set themselves on fire in the last ten years, hoping against hope that the international community would come to their rescue", said Sikyong.

Sikyong expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome, saying it was a significant gesture that would be a "strong beacon of hope" for Tibetans living inside Tibet. The President and Vice-President also expressed their support for the peaceful resolution of the Sino-Tibetan conflict.

After the meeting, Sikyong went to Sao Paulo City Hall, where he met Soninha Francine, Secretary for Human Rights of the City, and Gilberto Natalini, Executive Secretary for Climate Change.