MP Norman Baker meets the Dalai Lama.
Eastbourne, November 8: Polegate MP Norman Baker flew to India to meet the Dalai Lama after he was named as the new President of the UK-based Tibet Society.
His appointment follows the death of the previous president, the former House of Commons speaker Lord (Jack) Wetherall.
Mr Baker recently undertook a whistlestop visit to Dharamsala, the base of the Tibetan government-in-exile, where he was able to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama for an audience lasting more than an hour and a half, in which the political situation in Tibet was extensively discussed.
The Tibet Society, established in 1960 shortly after the Chinese invasion of Tibet, campaigns against the Chinese occupation of Tibet, and for better treatment of Tibetans in Tibet.
It also runs a separate Tibet relief fund, which provides financial support to Tibetans in exile in India and elsewhere.
The MP said, "I have long been actively involved in opposing the illegal Chinese occupation of Tibet and have introduced a number of debates in Parliament on the issue.
"The matter is now critical, as the Chinese are using the newly opened railway into Lhasa for the mass migration of Han Chinese into Tibet, with the clear aim of making the Tibetans a tiny minority in their own country.
"Sadly the Chinese are also continuing to practice the most appalling human rights abuses on the Tibetan population, including torture and arbitrary arrest, sometimes just for possessing a picture of the Dalai Lama.
"The good news is that the spotlight will be on the Chinese next year with the Olympic Games, and that gives us a chance to push Tibet up the world's political agenda."
Mr Baker also serves as vice-chair of the All-Party Tibet Group in the House of Commons.