Estonia: In a significant moment for the Tibetan freedom movement, on 25 January 2024, a hearing on the ‘Legal Status of Tibet” was held at the Estonian Parliament chaired by MP Juku-Kalle Raid, Chair of the Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet and a member of the Foreign Affairs Commission. About 35 parliamentarians, journalists, academics and Tibet supporters were in attendance to hear Sikyong Penpa Tsering; Representative Sonam Frasi from the Office of Tibet, London; Professor Hon-Shiang Lau and Dr Michael van Walt van Praag.
After the chair MP Juku-Kalle Raid opened the hearing by giving background and the significance of the event, Honourable Sikyong was the first to speak – giving historical context to the Tibetan narrative, Middle-Way Approach and the importance of correcting historical facts of Tibet’s independence before its invasion by the People Republic of China (PRC).
Then, Prof Lau gave evidence of Chinese Imperial records that proved without any doubt that the Chinese Imperial Houses, Ming and Qing, never recorded Tibet as part of China. The undisputed and veritable Chinese imperial records that proved Tibet was never a part of China since antiquity were strengthened further by Dr Michael van Walt van Praag’s presentation from a legal perspective that explained why China has been looking to buy the legitimacy of its occupation of Tibet by insisting on its trading partner governments to declare ‘Tibet as an internal issue of China’ as a justification for denying Tibetan people the right to self-determination, and how this position breaches international law.
Representative Sonam Frasi then consolidated the discussion by drawing reference from Tibet’s historical and legendary records that speak of Tibet’s genesis, explaining the pre-destined relationship between the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lamas that was primarily to bring peace to the world. He also highlighted the profoundly colonialist nature of PRC’s rule in Tibet and concluded that restoring peace to Tibet and finding a resolution to the peaceful Tibetan freedom movement will enhance global faith in peaceful, non-violent alternatives to the vicious cycle of violence we see in many parts of the world today.
The former first Prime Minister of independent Estonia, Honourable Mart Laar, has sent a message of support for the hearing, which was read in Estonian by MP Juku-Kalle Raid and in English by Roy Strider, a long-term staunch Tibet supporter. The hearing was followed by a reception at the parliament, where the speakers and the audience members had more time for interaction. Members of the Parliamentary Tibet support group and local supporters hosted a dinner in honour of the visiting Tibetan delegation.
Honourable Sikyong was received at the airport yesterday by MP Juku-Kalle Raid, who also gave a personal tour of the Estonian Parliament today, during which they met the President of Riigikogu, Lauri Hussar as well as the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Two media outlets followed and reported Sikyong’s visit to the parliament. As a result, Estonian media gave the event excellent coverage yesterday.
–Filed by Office of Tibet, London