PM-in-exile deplores lack of international action on Tibet

NEW DELHI Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:36am IST

Lobsang Sangay, Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Dharamsala November 10, 2011. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta/Files

Lobsang Sangay, Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Dharamsala November 10, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mukesh Gupta/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile on Tuesday accused the international community of doing little to break the deadlock over Tibet, where nearly 100 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze since 2009 to protest against Chinese rule.

Lobsang Sangay, prime minister-in-exile in Dharamsala, told a news conference in New Delhi that Tibet remains a test for the international community with Tibetans taking drastic measures to protest what he called repressive policies and no freedom of speech.

"The international community ought to act now, ought to speak against continuing occupation and repression of Tibetan people," Sangay said ahead of a four-day solidarity campaign in New Delhi on Wednesday.

China has defended its iron-fisted rule in Tibet, saying the remote region suffered from dire poverty, brutal exploitation of serfs and economic stagnation until 1950 when Communist troops "peacefully liberated" it.

China has tightened already strict controls since an upsurge in self-immolations by Tibetans over the past two years. Nearly 100 Tibetans have set themselves alight since the protests began in 2009, most of whom have died.

"We continue to appeal to (them) not to resort to such drastic matters yet it persists, which reflects the desperation and determination of Tibetan people," Sangay said.

The Harvard law scholar, who in 2011 replaced the Dalai Lama as political leader of the exiled Tibetans, said uprisings in countries like Syria have got more support from the international community despite their violent nature.

"It makes us wonder what the priority is because we have been subscribing to non-violence and democracy, and how come the support we get is comparatively less than some other movements where they have resorted to non-violent ways to pursue their goals," he said.

Sangay also said he wanted India to "do more" for the Tibetan people.

"I think Indian representatives often do and they ought to speak out as frankly as possible on the issue of Tibet,"he said.

(Reporting by Arnika Thakur; Writing by Tony Tharakan)

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