Dharamshala: As part of the Australia Tibet Council (ATC)’s little Tibet tour, a delegation of the ATC led by its Executive Director Dr Zoë Bedford visited the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and met with Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Deputy Speaker Dolma Tsering Teykhang, and members of the Standing Committee earlier today on 5th October 2023.
Welcoming the members of the Australia Tibet Council, the Speaker greeted the visiting guests and highlighted the special relationship shared by Tibetans and Australians. Especially with the thriving Tibetan community in Australia which is mostly composed of former Tibetan political prisoners who had immigrated to Australia.
The Speaker lauded the Australia Tibet Council for their commendable work in advocating Tibet over the past 35 years and extended his heartfelt gratitude to the members of the ATC.
The delegates were also briefed on the composition of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, the roles and responsibilities of the parliamentarians, how the elections for the parliamentarians are done, and so forth by the Speaker.
ATC’s Executive Director Dr Zoë Bedford expressed happiness in meeting the Tibetan parliamentarians and learning about the functioning of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. She shared the objective of their tour which was to make the members aware of the functioning of the Central Tibetan Administration and the cause of Tibet. The Executive Director further assured their commitment to support Tibet.
Deputy Speaker Dolma Tsering Teykhang thanked the ATC for bringing the delegates to Dharamshala as learning about the Sino-Tibetan conflict and having first-hand experience of the working of CTA would strengthen their dedication to the just cause of Tibet.
Emphasising the importance of spreading awareness on Tibet with China putting so much effort into spreading disinformation, the Deputy Speaker spoke of China’s expansionist mentality which, she claimed, is one of the biggest threats to democracy and reiterated that governments should not follow the dictates of China while doing business with them.
The Deputy Speaker also briefed the visiting guests on the CTA’s effort to bring China to the table of dialogue to resolve the Sino-Tibetan conflict through the Middle Way Approach despite Tibet being a historically independent nation. She further highlighted the critical situation inside Tibet including the enforcement of Tibetan children into colonial boarding schools.
As their visit to Dharamshala sent a big message to China, the Deputy Speaker extended gratitude to all the members of ATC for their unwavering and consistent support of Tibet and emphasised that the Tibetan peaceful struggle needs support from people of the world and coverage from global media.
During their course of interaction, the Deputy Speaker answered questions raised by the delegation some of which were about the objective of the Tibetan parliament, the Speaker’s open letter to the leaders of G-20 calling their attention to the plight of Tibetans, 8 rounds of World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet, Tibetan voluntary contribution, Tibetan plateau’s significance to global climate, the evolution of Tibetan democracy, and others.
The visiting guests were honoured with Tibetan ceremonial scarves as a token of gratitude and with Tibet-related publications before taking a tour of the parliament hall.
-Reported by the Tibetan Parliamentary Secretariat