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Lobsang Sangay, President Tibet says, 'Trade with China, be cautious, study Tibet'; on Dalal Lama reincarnation & investment in Buddhism

By Priti Prakash | PUBLISHED: 08, Aug 2019, 17:26 pm IST | UPDATED: 09, Aug 2019, 18:48 pm IST

Lobsang Sangay, President Tibet says, 'Trade with China, be cautious, study Tibet'; on Dalal Lama reincarnation & investment in Buddhism New Delhi: Sounding caution on relations with China, President of Central Tibetan Administration in India Lobsang Sangay said, ‘You must do business with China, have diplomatic relations with them. But see that are you bringing china to the international fort or we are becoming more influenced by china.' He said, ‘Be careful, study Tibet, look at the blueprint of Tibet and then decide.’ 'How it all started in Tibet. Then in Australia. You start with trade and then it becomes politics and then it becomes security then it becomes academic and it becomes everything". He said, 'China has completely taken over Australia in business and has good cultural ties with it too. It uses the blueprint of elite cooptation, buying all influence makers. India should be cautious’.

Tibet is facing an existential crisis with China since last 60 years. Regarding talks with China he said, ‘We are open to talks with all, Chinese, journalists, scholars. We seek autonomy within China and we want to resolve our issue peacefully through dialogue.’ ‘Tibet is your litmus test as to your commitment to democracy, human rights and non violence’, for all countries vouching for it,' he emphasised.  

Dalai Lama's own business

India educated Sangey, in an interaction with Foreign Affairs Correspondents of IAFAC on Dalai Lama’s reincarnation issue said that, ‘Dalai Lama’s reincarnation is Dalai Lama’s business. It is for him to decide whether he comes back or not and in what form. The Chinese have no role whatsoever.’ He said, 'The Chinese, who are wanting to name their own Dalai Lama, like their Panchen Lama, who will follow him? China has destroyed all our monastries and monks, how can they decide on the Dalai Lama?''

‘We are not scared of China. We sincerely think we will win. Chinese came in 1959, by 1963 they destroyed 90 % of Tibetan monasteries. 99.9% monks and nuns were killed by Chinese army. Buddhism was physically destroyed. No one could practice Buddhism. His holiness and 20,000 of his followers fled Tibet and stayed in exile in India. We had only 2% chance of survivial. In that we rebuilt all the monasteries in india, thanks to India. We are rebuilding Nalanda University. We revived Buddhism institutions in the whole of Himalayan belt from Sikkim to Ladakh to Himachal, Lahaul Spiti, Nepal, Bhutan.
 
'Now oddly China has become the largest Buddhist country in the world. 300 million Buddhists are in China. It has surpassed India. Buddhism is back in Tibet too. They may have destroyed Buddhist monasteries for dilution of Buddhism physically but in private social spaces they practice Buddhism like never before. Under the guidance of his holiness Dalai Lama we have rebuilt in exile.'

India birthplace of Buddhism, China showing itself as leader  

‘India is the birthplace of Buddhism. All the sacred signs of Buddha are in India. But as far as Buddhist diplomacy is concerned India is far behind China’, said Lobsang Sangay, President of Tibetan government-in-exile.

Though Buddhist people in India are 10% of its population, Sangay suggested, ‘even if out of the estimated 600 million to 1 billion Buddhists which means 1%, also comes here, which further means 10 million spending 1000 dollars each, will be 100 billion dollars. UP and Bihar will prosper within 10 yrs. With 1 million investments you can have 100 billions in return.’

He said, ‘Every year China organizes World Buddhist Congress and leaders from around the world are invited including from neighboring countries. Chinese government spends billions of dollars. They look at China as a leader of the Buddhist world. Not india. India is a low hanging fruit. All the Buddhist leaders will come to India on a mere invite for an event at Bodh Gaya. Bodh Gaya is the land of enlightment. China does not have Sarnath, Varanasi, they have the tallest statue of Buddha, biggest Buddhist monastery, deepest Buddhist cave and all Buddhist leaders are amazed with china’s development and investment. The largest cheapest export has been Buddhism, least investment highest and the longest return. India is land of Buddha. All Buddhist countries are your natural ally.’     

'Now oddly china has become the largest Buddhist country in the world. 300 million Buddhists are in china. It has surpassed India. Buddhism is back in Tibet too. They may have destroyed Buddhist monasteries for dilution of Buddhism physically but in private social spaces they practice Buddhism like never before. Under the guidance of his holiness Dalai Lama we have rebuilt in exile, the President said.

Tibetan identity in India

With literacy rate of 94% in Tibet, Tibetans born and educated in India love cricket, Bollywood movies, dance and songs but there is an evolution too. With 3rd generation Tibetans coming from kindergarten to school are taught everything in Tibetan till primary. In Tibetan gatherings, Gorshey, a Tibetan dance form and songs sung by Tibetan singers have replaced Bollywood and Hollywood songs which is seen as an assertion of their identity. Wearing Tibetan shirt is fashion. In Dharamshala on Wednesday everyone wears Tibetan dress mostly. In the national capital of Delhi, Majnu ka Tila, place that Tibetans have made home, Wednesday is vegetarian. Majnu ka tila, famous for its Thopa and Momos observes White Wednesday, adopted in 2011, when they adorn Tibetan dress, eat Tibetan and drink Tibetan. Sangey says its like Gandhiji’s civil disobedience. Although Tibetan food is primarily non vegetarian, White Wednesdays are Vegetarian for laying emphasis and going back to Buddha.   

Back in Tibet, Tibetans live with bleak prospects. Sources say, even when Tibetans educated from china return back to Tibet good positions are not their share and are a fiefdom of Han Chinese. Like in the Tibet Autonoums region Chinese Secretary is the most powerful official and nothing has changed in the last 60 yrs. Not even Executive Secretary is a Tibetan. If there are 13 standing committees of the Polit Bureau, first one is a pure Han Chinese following in order. The 13th may be a Tibetan.
 
Forced migration from China is usual. All road are built to send Chinese migrants to Tibet. Han Chinese get double promotion. After one promotion they go to Tibet, with another they return to china and get promoted,(under the hardship posting). It is because of subsidies that the Chinese go to Tibet, to get licence in business. The moment subsidy and licence ends they come back. 80-90% of males are sent to Tibet and no females, as Chinese believe that if you give birth in high altitude the child will have a heart problem. In summer towns and cities in Tibet are Chinese majority because all migrants come to do busiess and in winter they return back. Tibet being at 3500 m height with -50 degrees, difficult and harsh winter season keeps Chinese away.  
 President Sangay informed that according to Freedom House, an international organistion measuring freedom in the world has ranked Tibet the least free region after Syria with no journalist being allowed to go to Tibet unless for an organized trip.
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