The Australian parliament sent a strong message of support for Tibet today by turning up to meet Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay in large numbers.
After a warm welcome by Mr Michael Danby MP, Chair of the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, Kalon Tripa met with a group of around 30 parliamentarians from both Houses and from all political parties. Key among them were Mr Michael Danby, who also chairs the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, Speaker of the House Mr Peter Slipper MP, former Speaker of the House Mr Harry Jenkins, Opposition whip and senior Liberal Party member Mr Warren Entsch, Greens spokesperson on Tibet Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Mr Ken Wyatt MP, the first Aboriginal MP and the co-chair of the Parliament Tibet Group.
In an hour-long meeting, Kalon Tripa had an in-depth discussion on the state of Tibet-China relations, Tibetan democracy, the Middle Way policy and China’s leadership change. The response from the parliamentarians was phenomenal. They expressed their strong support for the Tibetan people and showed a keen interest in gaining a deeper understanding of the Tibet issue by engaging in a robust discussion with Kalon Tripa.
Straight after the meeting, Kalon Tripa addressed members of the Federal Press Gallery. He was joined by Mr Michael Danby MP and Mr Ken Wyatt MP.
In a speech in the House of Representatives, Mr Michael Danby said, “As democrats we should tell the truth, even if it is often not what some of our trading partners would like to hear. The truth is the Tibetan people have suffered enough under 60 years of Chinese oppression. Self-immolation is an act of desperation. It shows the Tibetan people are at the end of their rope. In my view, it is an act that has hardened their resolve for their ultimate autonomy and cultural freedom.”
Later during the day, Kalon Tripa took part in a roundtable discussion with Australia’s top China scholars at Australian National University, a leading university on China studies and international relations.
Kalon Tripa met with the local Tibetan community in the evening.
He will end the Canberra leg of Australia tomorrow with a meeting with Greens leader Christine Milne. In total, Kalon Tripa will have met with around 45 Australian parliamentarians over the course of three days in Canberra.