By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, June 24: More than 100 participants including lawmakers and officials from 26 countries at the 8th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet (WPCT) in Washington DC vowed continued support for Tibet by countering Chinese narrative among other efforts to resolve the Tibetan issue. Members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, CTA President Penpa Tsering, Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel and other Tibetan leaders have taken key roles in conducting the convention.
US Speaker Nancy Pelosi strongly condemned Chinese occupation of Tibet at the opening address of the convention, “The world has a moral duty to speak out with one voice against Beijing’s abuses & stand up for the Tibetan people, and if we do not speak out against human rights abuses in China because of commercial ties, we lose all moral authority to speak out against humans rights, anywhere.” The Speaker also emphasized that the Chinese government has waged a “dangerous assault on human rights in Tibet”.
The exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave the keynote address virtually from his residence in Dharamshala emphasizing the vital role that Tibetan culture plays in the ever-changing world, “Today, many people belonging to different groups of supporters of the Tibetan cause are gathering in Washington, DC to discuss Tibet. I would like to thank you all. On the one hand, the cause of Tibet is about truth, on the other, it involves an understanding of the workings of the mind with a view to cultivating compassion and inner peace.”
This year’s convention is in continuation of the previous seven editions of WPCT aimed to strengthen and coordinate support by parliamentarians from different countries to resolve the Tibetan issue.
Canadian MP Arif Virani, MMP Bhutila Karpoche, and Taiwan’s independent legislator Freddy Lim, among others were notable political figures at the Washington meet. “We can’t just have one conference and then wait for the next conference to happen. This has to be a continuous involvement of parliamentarians and how best practices can be shared and how we can network together, because the one very reason for having this whole parliamentarians’ convention on Tibet is also to create a common platform for all those supportive of resolving the Sino-Tibet dialogue,” Sikyong Penpa Tsering said during his session, adding that like-minded countries can come together to adopt similar actions on Tibet.
Earlier this week, the 17th TPiE charted out three main objectives of holding the 8th World parliamentarians’ convention on Tibet in a press release as follows; emphasizing on the role of legislators in shaping the Tibet narrative on global platforms; for parliamentarians to join world leaders in speaking about human rights violation inside Tibet; and to spearhead initiatives to support the resumption of dialogue between the representatives of Dalai Lama and the People’s Republic of China for a resolution as early as possible.