UK Parliament members resolve to strengthen autonomy for Tibet
Friday, 5 October 2007, 10:00 a.m.
|Members of UK parliamentary delegation addresses Tibetan and local media yesterday at Lhakpa Tsering Memorial Hall of the Department of Information and International Relations(Photo:Sangjey Kep)|
Dharamshala:A leading 5-member delegation from the UK parliament, presently on a five-day historic visit to Dharamshala, organized by the Tibet Society of United Kingdom addressed a press conference yesterday at the Lhakpa Tsering Memorial hall of the Department of Information and International Relations.
The visit is part of an ongoing exchange program to share parliamentary experience between the British Parliament and the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, to discuss ways in which the members can give support to Tibet’s non-violent campaign for freedom and self-determination.
While addressing the press gathering, Mr Harry Cohen, MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet said, “We are further strengthened in our resolve to provide solidarity for the cause of genuine Tibetan autonomy and will continue to help in any way we can.”
Mr Cohen added, “We have seen also examples of Tibetans’ distinct cultural identity in their schools and arts,” adding, “that identity needs to be saved for the world, but it is also the Tibetans’ right to express it in their own homeland.”
In his address, Norman Baker, MP and President of the Tibet Society said, ” There is a very strong development of democracy in Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, and a robust parliament.”
He added, “We are honored to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama yesterday for a very long interesting session,” adding, “the audience was proactive and practical, with His Holiness speaking frankly about his concerns for the Tibetan people.”
He said” We are very conscious as British MPs for the role we must play in order to take matter forward in a more constructive way on the issue Tibet,”
“We recognise the strong historic link between Tibet and United Kingdom, and it is a historic fact that Tibet is an independent country,” Mr Baker said.
He said the members are concerned about the consequences of the construction of railway into Tibet, which brings large number of Han Chinese into Tibet, posing danger of population imbalance in Tibet.
“We are particularly concerned about the human rights situation and repression of religious freedom and the interference by the Beijing government in religious appointment,” he added.
Saying that the Chinese were not sincere during the six rounds of negotiations, Mr Norman further added, we need to recognize the opportunity next year, when Beijing is in spotlight with the Olympics, to bring united message from British States and the European Union to engage Beijing to constructive dialogue.
Mr Norman said, ” It is heartening to see how vibrant the Tibetan community is here in Dharamshala, both Tibetan culture and democracy are clearly thriving. My colleagues and I return to England with our batteries charged, determined to do all we can to help secure a fair and just future for Tibet.”
Mr Richard Younger Ross, MP, said, “There is a great deal of concern with the high level of poverty in Lhasa, with the whole families with very young children begging on street, and far greater in remote areas of Tibet,
despite the economic development pronounced by the Chinese government.”
Mr Norman concluded that the situation in Tibet is completely unacceptable, adding that it is perversion of any sort of government, in its attempt to subjugate an independent people in a way, which is unsatisfactory.
In a press note issued by the Tibetan Society, the Chairman, Mr Fredrick Hyde Chambers said, ” This visit has inspired all of us. At the same time is has underlined the urgent need for action by European governments to stop the cultural genocide in Tibet.”
Phillipa Carrick, Society’s CEO, said, “We strongly hope that the issue of Tibet will be given greater urgency and attention.”