-By Daniel Hurst for The Guardian
Australia must not compromise on human rights as it improves its relationship with China because “the truth must be told”, a minister from the Tibetan Government-in-exile has said during a visit to Canberra.
Norzin Dolma, a minister of the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamshala in India, met Australian MPs from across the political spectrum on Thursday to warn against a “quiet diplomacy” approach to “gross human rights abuses” and “brutal suppression” in Tibet. She also urged the Australian government to use its new Magnitsky-style sanctions laws to target Chinese Communist party officials for “threatening the very existence and survival and maintenance of Tibetan identity, culture and language”
The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, visited China last week for meetings with the president, Xi Jinping, and the premier, Li Qiang, as part of what the Australian government calls the “stabilisation” of ties with its largest trading partner. Albanese said he had raised human rights during the trip, although he has not gone into details about the content.
Norzin Dolma, the minister for information and international relations, said she understood the desire of the Australian government to stabilise the relationship.“But what we are asking for is to have a principled engagement and not to compromise on your values, principles and priorities,” she said.
Asked whether quiet diplomacy was acceptable, Norzin Dolma was firm: “No, no, no, because there needs to be accountability and there needs to be transparency … “We only seek justice and our call is only for the truth to be told, and while the truth should be told behind closed doors, it should also be told publicly, whatever needs to be said. The Australian government needs to take a stronger and more proactive role.”
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