Dr. Lobsang Sangay, a former leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile, reaffirmed the Tibetan people’s resolve to fight for a solution to the Sino-Tibetan dispute at the 2023 GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum in Slovakia despite outnumbering Chinese government resources through propaganda, economic might, and geopolitical pressure. He participated in a panel discussion at the forum on Friday along with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who was elected president of Belarus in 2020 but had to leave the country and is now the leader of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus. Jamie Fly is the president and CEO of Radio Free Europe (or Radio Liberty).
Since Xi Jinping was elected president, the situation in Tibet has been progressively worse. According to him, “157 Tibetans have self-immolated, 133 of them have died, thus the protest and discontent within are still going on. Dr. Lobsang discussed his position as the former President of the Tibetan government-in-exile for 10 years, mentioning how Chinese pressure prevented him from ever meeting the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Europe, America, and Canada.
“Over the course of ten years, I visited Washington, D.C. 30–40 times and lobbied there two or three times a year. A legislation was eventually passed. On December 27, 2020, the “Tibetan Policy and Support Act” was signed into law, requiring America to support the Tibetan cause, including the Dalai Lama’s succession, free from Chinese government influence.
During the panel, Dr. Lobsang also discussed how accurate reporting and a free press are crucial tools for democracy and how many European nations are still divided over whether or not China poses a threat to freedom, human rights, and democracy. She also called for reciprocity with the Chinese government when it comes to granting Chinese citizens access to Western social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in order to counter misinformation.
Dr. Lobsang stepped in to remind the audience that Tibet is not a lost cause and that it is only a matter of time by using the example of how Central Europeans believed that the Berlin Wall would never come down because of the USSR’s power but that it was eventually torn down when the panel’s anchor said “Tibet is a lost cause” twice. “My nation, Tibet, is occupied. There are six million suffering Tibetans. I am compelled to show my support as a Tibetan and as a human being. My father was a freedom warrior who left his heritage to me. Now I must do the same for my daughter and the next generation, he said.