Canberra: The House of Representatives and Senate honoured Sikyong Penpa Tsering in the Australian Parliament on 20 June 2023.
In the presence of Honourable Deputy Speaker Sharon Claydon and the members of the House, MP Dr Sophie Scamps and MP Susan Templeman acknowledged the presence of Sikyong Penpa Tsering observing the proceedings in the Australian parliament.
MP Sophie Scamps and MP Susan Templeman also brought to the attention of the House the critical situation inside Tibet under the Chinese government including the forced assimilation of Tibetan children into ‘colonial-style’ boarding schools and the Chinese government’s interference in the matter of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation. The MPs also emphasized the importance of advocating for human rights in Tibet “publicly and privately, directly with China and in multi-lateral forums”.
Welcoming Sikyong Penpa Tsering and the accompanying Tibetan representatives in the Australian Senate, Senator Janet Rice urged the Australian government to specifically put a policy in place and to “protect the succession of the Dalai Lama without any interference from the Chinese government”.
Senator Rice called upon the Chinese government to resume the talks with His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives to resolve the Sino-Tibet conflict.
Senator Linda Reynolds addressed the increasing global concerns about severe violations of religious freedom in Tibet and the “deliberate” sinicization of Tibetan culture and religion. Criticizing the government-run residential schools in Tibet, Senator Reynolds called the practice a “fundamental violation of the rights of the Tibetan parents and children by interfering with their rights to preserve the integrity of their own family units”.
Senator Deborah O’Neill expressed grave concern over the Chinese government’s suppression of Tibetan religious expression, excessive security measures, mass surveillance, restrictions on travel and China’s policies on Tibetan cultural rights and heritage.
Senator Lidia Thorpe called on the Australian government to “stand up” against the cultural genocide in Tibet and to engage internationally with the allies to support the UN investigation into China’s policy of acculturation and assimilation in Tibet.
Senator Tony Sheldon also expressed concern over the colonial boarding schools, arrests of peaceful protesters, forceful labour in Tibet and China’s interference in the matter of succession of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Senator Jordon Steele John and Senator Nick McKim highlighted the importance of the Australian government in strongly opposing the interference of the Chinese government in the matter of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s succession.
The Australian lawmakers and members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet shared their experiences meeting His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the leadership of the Central Tibetan Administration during their recent visit to Dharamshala and reiterated their continued support for the Tibetan freedom movement.
Sikyong Penpa Tsering was accompanied by Representative Karma Singey, the Office of Tibet, Canberra and the representatives of the Canberra Tibetan Community.