Diplomatic victory for Tibet at Madrid fair

President Dr Lobsang Sangay pictured speaking at the opening ceremony of the Expotural 2018, the Mountain and Sustainable Trade Fair at the IFEMA (International Trade Fair of Madrid), on Nov 1.. Image: Sikyong Office

DHARAMSALA, Nov 3: In a diplomatic victory for Tibet, China has withdrawn from the EXPOTURAL 2018, the Mountain and Sustainable Trade Fair at the IFEMA (International Trade Fair of Madrid).

The Chinese exhibitors who are to the attend the Nature, Climate and Sustainable Tourism Fair organized by the International Trade Fair of Madrid (IFEMA) have reportedly withdrawn their participation after a failed attempt to pressure the organizers into revoking the invitation extended to the President of the Central Tibetan Administration(CTA) Dr Lobsang Sangay and Ven Thupten Wangchen, Member of Tibetan parliament, Europe, according to a report on Tibet.net, the official website of CTA.

President Sangay and MP Ven Thupten Wangchen attended the opening ceremony of the lone fair held in Madrid, Spain that is firmly committed to sustainability, climate and nature on Nov 1, the report noted.

The political head of the Tibetan people began his address by thanking the organisers and the Mayor of Madrid Manuela Carmena for so courageously inviting him to speak at the fair at a time when many world leaders shy away from meeting him due to Chinese pressure.

“Tibetans all over the world salute your moral standing,” President Sangay was quoted as saying in the report.

President Sangay spoke on the serious threats the Tibetan plateau currently faces and said, Tibet’s grasslands are turning into deserts at a rate of 2,330 sq km per year citing a 2007 UNDP report. “It is not a coincidence that in Chinese, Tibet is called Xizang, which literally means Western Treasure,” President Sangay said according to the report and added that that’s one of the precise reasons why China invaded Tibet.

In his concluding remarks, President Sangay took a jibe at China’s diplomatic symbol, the giant panda and said, “China uses pandas as its diplomatic symbol, but the giant panda is a Tibetan bear. So, next time you see a giant panda at the local zoo here, please remember that it is a friend from Tibet.”

President Sangay further added that he had read reports which stated that the oldest panda fossils were discovered in Spain and remarked that “It looks like Spain and Tibet’s bond is a lot stronger than any of us imagined.”

EXPOTURAL 2018, the Mountain and Sustainable Trade Fair at the IFEMA (International Trade Fair of Madrid) was introduced to the tourism industry aiming to promote the mountains and natural spaces of the planet and prides itself as the last legacy of Edmund Hillary. Its prime mission is raising awareness about the conservation of our planet.

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