DHARAMSALA, India, Aug. 8 (UPI) — Lobsang Sangay, 43, a senior fellow at Harvard Law School, was sworn in Monday as the Kalon Tripa, or prime minister, of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Sangay succeeds Samdhong Rimpoche, 73, and will be the political leader of the Tibetan exiles in place of the Dalai Lama, who will continue as their spiritual leader.
The Dalai Lama presided over the swearing-in ceremonies attended by more than 5,000 Tibetans in Dharamsala, headquarters of the government in exile, the Press Trust of India reported.
Sangay said his election is the “result of the hard work and sacrifices made by older generations in Tibet and in exile and today I pledge to carry forward and build upon the great legacy of our elders.”
Sangay pledged “to strengthen and sustain our movement until freedom is restored in Tibet and his holiness the Dalai Lama returns to our homeland.”
The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after Tibet’s failed uprising against Chinese rule.
“No doubt, our task is of Himalayan proportion … . We have been tragically separated by force, not by choice, and we will reach the mountaintop of freedom to reunite Tibetans on both sides of Himalayas.”
He said the struggle is not against the Chinese people or China as a country.
“Our struggle is against hard-line policies of the Chinese regime in Tibet. Our struggle is against those who would deny freedom, justice, dignity and the very identity of Tibetan people … . Chinese rule in Tibet is clearly unjust and untenable.”