News and Views on Tibet

Tibet issue was raised in the Norwegian parliament `s question session on 9th April 2003

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Questions was directed to Foreign Minster Jan Pettersen by Mr Olav Gunnar Ballo Member of Norwegian Parliament from Social liberal Party. Mr Ballo is also the leader of Norwegian parliamentarian group for Tibet. Norwegian parliament`s question session take place once a week in the presence of Cabinet members and telecast live on National TV.

Following is text of question/answer translated into English by us. Chungdak Koren, Norwegian Tibet Committee

The Tibet-question was raised in the Norwegian Parliament’s question-hour session

DATE: 2003-04-09
QUESTIONER: Olav Gunnar Ballo, Member of Parliament

SV (The Social Liberal Party)

DIRECTED TO: The Foreign Minister, Petersen, and Jan
(The Conservative Party)

Question 1: MP Mr. Olav Gunnar Ballo

The two Tibetans Lobsang Dhondup and Tenzin Delek were in January 2003 accused for having practiced separatism by the Chinese authorities and sentenced to death by a court in the Sichuan Province. Dhondup was executed immediately after the trial, whereas the execution of Tenzin Delek has been postponed for two years.
Will Foreign Minister follow up this issue with the Chinese authorities, based on human rights for the Tibetan people?

The Foreign Minister Mr. Jan Petersen’s reply

The Norwegian Government has on several occasions taken up this matter with the Chinese authorities.

The initial protest from our side was made jointly with EU in December 2002 when a local court had sentenced the two Tibetans to death. We express our concern that there were reasons to believe that this case did not get fair trial and was a miscarriage of justice, we made request for a new court hearing.

When the media in January reported that the Sichuan court of appeal did not rescind the death-sentences, the Norwegian Ambassador in Beijing reiterated the Norwegian viewpoints in a new meeting with the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Some days later the media reported that one of the two Tibetans had been executed. Norway, together with the EU and Switzerland, immediately contacted the Chinese Foreign Ministry through its embassy in Beijing and lodged an inquiry. We expressed our deep disappointment because the Chinese authorities had not yet confirmed the news about the two Tibetans. Norway later participated in a EU-chairman declaration in which we expressed our profound regret for the execution.

It was underlined that the verdict on several points did not satisfy the requirements of a fair trial. Norway, during the ongoing UN-Session of the Human Rights Commission, expressed its concern in a statement for the widespread use of the death penalty in China and took up the situation in Tibet. The current issue will be discussed further on a political level during the round table conference on Human rights, (Human Right dialogue) between Norway and China in Oslo this coming May.

Question 2: MP Mr. Olav Gunnar Ballo

In September 2002, the delegation from Dalai Lama was in Tibet and China for three weeks. It was the fist contact between the two parties after a long time. The Dalai Lama expressed his hopes for several such visits of delegations, which in long term will lead to negotiations on Tibet’s political future. Norway has already recommended such a dialogue.

What concretely the Norwegian Government would do to make China enter into such a dialogue?

The Foreign Minister Mr.Jan Petersen’s reply

First of all I wanted to state that the specific case representative Mr.Ballo had taken up would be followed up in May. This is utmost positive reply I could give to the question. But I do agree with representative Mr.Ballo that this is an issue of great complexity and Norway on several occasions has taken it up in their relatively regular discussions with the Chinese authorities. The point of view representative Mr. Ballo referred to is the correct Norwegian governments point of view. This is a point Norway has repeatedly emphasized and will continue to do so in our dialogue with the Chinese authorities.

Question 3: MP Mr. Ballo

I would like to thank Foreign Minister for his reply, which I perceive to be a positive. However one often gets the impression that the Tibet-question for different reasons is avoided, even in conversations with the Chinese authorities because it is inopportune to raise the human rights issues in Tibet. At the same time Norway has awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to H.H. the Dalai Lama and also extended support to the Tibetan people in other ways. I would like to encourage the Norwegian Government to raise the issues related to the human rights in Tibet in different ways and on occasions.

The Foreign Minister Jan Petersen’s reply

I have no difficulty in responding positively to the request, which representative Ballo had made. I think this was yet another timely reminder of an important issue and what I explained in my answers, reminded the fact that Norway has repeatedly taken up human rights issue which clearly indicates importance from our side and underlines much is being done in practice also.

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