The prime minister of Tibet’s government-in-exile accused Chinese authorities on Thursday of blanket repression in the Himalayan region as he launched a new campaign for autonomy in his homeland.
“There is total repression and total discrimination” in Tibet, Lobsang Sangay said at his government’s headquarters in northern India.
“All this repression is making Tibetans more resentful of the Chinese government’s policies and towards the Chinese government and various forms of protests are taking place.”
The prime minister was speaking as he and other senior exiles, including the Dalai Lama, gathered to renew their push for a “Middle Way” of peaceful autonomy within China after a four-year hiatus.
US President Barack Obama and other Western leaders have called on Beijing to resume talks with the Dalai Lama’s envoys on autonomy that broke down in 2010 after making no headway.
The prime minister, who took over from the Dalai Lama as the political leader of the Tibetan cause in 2011, said it was vital to counter what he called a “misinformation campaign” by Beijing.
“With the ‘Middle Way’ approach campaign, we are trying to engage the international community – young people, diplomats, media, people from all walks of life across different nations – to counter the Chinese government’s misinformation campaign about the policy,” he said.
Beijing has ruled Tibet since 1951, a year after invading.
It has already dismissed the renewed push for the “Middle Way” approach, which would include handing Tibetans decision-making positions in the region.
The launch comes after the Dalai Lama, who remains the spiritual leader of Tibetans, called for democracy in China and offered prayers for the Tiananmen Square victims on the 25th anniversary of the crackdown in Beijing.