Tenzin Tsundue stresses Britain’s obligation to support Tibet’s fight for freedom
London, June 29 : Tibetan activist and writer Tenzin Tsundue yesterday addressed MPs and Tibet supporters in the House of Commons, Westminster at a forum on Tibet organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet (APPGT) and the Tibet Society of the UK.
During the forum, Tsundue provided evidence of Tibet’s independence prior to 1959, showing a National Geographic article from 1934 featuring flags of the world and which records the flag of Tibet as entirely distinct from that of China. Tsundue also circulated copies of a Tibetan passport issued in 1947 containing official stamps from Britain demonstrating Britain’s recognition of Tibet as an independent nation. Holding a coin from independent Tibet, Tsundue said “these coins are now displayed in museums; if Tibetan people and their supporters don’t fight for independence, next we Tibetans will be in museums”.
He went on to stress the urgency in finding a solution to Tibet, citing ongoing human rights abuses and social distrust through use of informers, saying “Inside Tibet, Tibetans do not speak about Tibet, parents are even afraid to tell their children about Tibet”. He went on to say, “Tibet has a very clear history of independence and Britain is a witness to this. The British government has a clear responsibility to speak up on the issue and for its policy to support Tibet.”
The meeting was attended by a number of MPs including Fabian Hamilton, who recently went to Tibet on a Foreign Affairs Select Committee mission to the region. Mr Hamilton spoke about his impressions of the current situation in Tibet following his visit. Mrs Takla, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s official representative in Western Europe, also addressed the meeting and strongly urged western governments to proactively support the furthering of genuine negotiations between the Chinese and Tibetan governments.
In a letter to the Chair of the APPGT, Harry Cohen MP, a representative from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in London had earlier expressed concern over the “consequences of the Forum”. The Chinese government still seems to view those seeking autonomy for Tibet as separatists aiming to split China and refers to China’s 1959 invasion of Tibet and subsequent occupation as “the peaceful liberation of Tibet”.