By Tenzin Monlam
Australian MP Michael Danby with His Holiness the Dalai Lama/file photo
DHARAMSHALA, FEB 16: When it comes to handling Tibet issue, China is often its own worst enemy, said Australian MP Michael Danby, referring to the heavy travel restrictions imposed by China on Tibetans from Tibet attending the Kalachakra initiations held in Bodh Gaya last month.
“The Chinese government does not want Tibetans to get involved in political activities. Those who travelled to India were religious pilgrims - the purpose was religious - but their return to Tibet was politicized,” said the Australian MP.
MP Danby, co-chair of the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet said that the recent crackdown on Tibetans pilgrims were measures employed by the Chinese officials to ‘undermine the Dalai Lama’s influence in Tibet and globally’.
“It is a serious violation of the Tibetan people's right to freedom of religion. It is also a violation of their right to move freely. They are not only restricted from travelling overseas, they also face difficulty in moving freely within their own country,” he said while comparing how easily accessible Lhasa, capital of Tibet, is to Chinese compared to Tibetans from other regions.
The 61-year old mentioned how Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is kept under a lockdown during the political sensitive month of March when the region become inaccessible. Appealing for support, he said that the international community must condemn such lockdown and demand ‘unfettered access’.
“Reciprocity is a fundamental principle of diplomatic practice. Australia's government officials, parliamentarians and journalists should obtain reciprocal access to Tibet. These visits must be unrestricted to allow open interaction with local Tibetan people and promote genuine understanding of the situation there,” the politician said.
He appealed to Chinese President Xi Jinping to allow His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Tibet and asked for his understanding since his mother is also a Buddhist.
“I volunteer, along with Nancy Pelosi and other leading international supporters of the Tibetan cause, to come with him,” he said while advocating Middle Way Approach.