Paris: The newly formed Tibet Group in the National Assembly of France hosted a breakfast study discussion on Tibet in the National Assembly premises on 5 December.
Presided over by Group’s President Deputy Tutu Picard, the discussion was attended by Senator Andre Gattolin, Vice President of Tibet Group in the French Senate, Deputy Michele de Vancouleur and Deputy Florence Grenjus. Mr Thierry Munier, the Coordinator of Tibet group in the Senate and the assistants of National Assembly group also participated.
On the Tibetan side were Representative Tashi Phuntsok, Bureau du Tibet, Coordinator Namgyal Samdup and Assistant Jigme Dorji.
The discussion started with a power-point presentation by Katia Buffetrille. It was accompanied by a short paper presented on Tibet. Ms Buffetrille is a Tibetologist who has studied Tibet for over 30 years and have been visiting Tibet frequently.
The presentation featured various pictures of Tibet past and present. It was followed by a debate and Q&A session.
Representative Phuntsok noted that Ms Buffetrille’s presentation showed how China’s occupation of Tibet was more on ideology than of any liberation.
He observed that Tibet, known to the world and China, are entirely two different things. For China, Tibet Autonomous Region is what Tibet is, whilst for Tibetans, it also includes Kham and Amdo.
Representative Phuntsok said commercialisation of Tibet had overtaken core values. “Tibet today is second least free after Syria and that it is said that there are far more surveillance cameras than windows in Lhasa. 153 Tibetans have immolated in Tibet for lack of freedom.”
Senator Gattolin recalled Chinese refusal of visa to Senate Group’s request for many years to visit Tibet. He asked whether China is guilty of genocide in Tibet. He also wanted to know mining issues and environmental degradation of Tibet. Mr Gattolin is a well-known Tibet supporter in the Senate and has visited Dharamshala a number of times. Representative Phuntsok has met him as many times as well.
Ms Picard recounted her reading of recently expired Palden Gyatso, former political prisoner who spent over 30 years in prison. She was aghast at the suppression of Tibetans under repressive Chinese regime. She also noted the issuance of reciprocity of China in the international relations. She was unconvinced of any Chinese positive contribution in Tibet.
On 4 December, Representative Phuntsok called on a high delegation in the Paris Mayor’s office. Ms Patrizianna Sparacino-Thiellay, ambassador for diplomatic and international relations in the Mayor’s office led the meeting with Ms Emmanuelle Pavillon-Grosser, Deputy Head, international relations, Mr Issam El Abdouli, adviser for civil and human rights, and Ms Melanie Rigaudon, Bureau Chief of the deputy Mayor, Mr Patrick Klugmnan.
After offering greetings with Tibetan scarves to the delegation, Representative Phuntsok recounted Hotel de Ville’s relations with His Holiness and
Tibet. The 1992 reception of His Holiness the Dalai Lama by the then Mayor of Paris Jacques Chirac is etched in memory. Many visits of His Holiness to France and meeting Mayor Bertrand Delanoe in 2003 was also cited. He also recalled His Holiness’s admiration for the EU’s visions and core values.
Therefore the meeting was aimed to recall and reconnect the old ties.
Representative Phuntsok took the opportunity to highlight the connections of the Bureau de Tibet and Hotel de Ville since it’s inception. He also informed the officials of the Tibetan community in France and its dynamic activities in the promotion and preservation of Tibetan culture. The law-abiding community and its positive contribution to the city’s culture and tradition is its major aim.
Ambassador Sparacino-Thiellay thanked Mr Phuntsok for his briefing and assured her positive effort in maintaining the relations and it was followed by exchange of gifts. Representative Phuntsok presented to them the pictorial book, published by Bureau du Tibet, Brussels – Thank You Europe for Hoisting the Flag of Tibet.
-Filed by Bureau du Tibet, Paris