July 3 - The Save Tibet Asia Pacific Forum began Wednesday morning at 10:0 am at the Gakkushi Kaikan hall in Yurakucho, Tokyo. The Save Tibet Network led by Mr. Makino Seishu, former Japanese Parliamentarian organized this Forum ahead of the G-8 leaders' Summit scheduled in Sapporo July 7. It was attended by Parliamentarians, scholars, supporters and general public from Japan, Australia and Taiwan. Mr Makino began the Forum with a welcome speech, and said that since the demonstration in Tibet this March, the issue of Tibet was widely raised around the world. China eventually had to relent to world pressure to start dialogue with the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. But the recent earthquake in Sichuan area, although a very unfortunate incident has shifted the world's attention and Tibet continues to suffer. This is very clear from the fact that the upcoming G-8 leaders' summit has many agendas, but the most pressing issue of human rights and Tibet is not one of them.
"We are all here to discuss the gravity of the Tibetan situation and call upon the G-8 leaders not to forgot Tibet and urge them to send strong message to Chinese leadership to address Tibetan problem seriously. Environment and human right concerns are beyond boundaries, we all have responsibility to voice our anxiety, therefore, we are all here to make this Tibetan issue heard in the G-8 summit," said Mr. Makino.
Message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Forum was read before the gathering. Thereafter, Kalon Kesang Yangkyi Takla, Minister for Information and International Relations, Central Tibetan Administration read her key note speech. She welcomed the delegates, and thanked the organizers and the staff for their hard work in making this Forum materialize at this crucial time. She dwelt on the hardship that Tibetan people underwent since the Chinese occupation, and explained that human rights and basic fundamental rights violation is still going on in Tibet. She hoped that through this Forum, a strong message could be sent to the leaders of the G-8 countries to urge the Chinese leadership to face the reality and take Tibetan issue seriously.
Speech and presentations from the delegates began with Mr. Matsubara, Japanese Parliamentarian. Other Japanese parliamentarians and supporters who spoke in the Forum were Mr. Fujita, Mr. Suzuki, Mr Igarashi and Mrs. Oishi. They spoke about their experience while working on the Tibet issue and applauded the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and justness of Tibetan struggle for peace and justice.
"China is the most heavily populated regions in the world and it is there that human rights violation is taking place and people are denied basic fundamental rights. We should all take a moral responsibility to tell the Chinese leaders that what they are doing is not right and not acceptable to international communities." said one of the Parliamentarians.
Delegations from Australia are Mr. Tenzin P Atisha, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mr. Peter Slipper, Mr. Michael Organ, and Mr. Paul Bourke of Australia Tibet Council. Mr. Atisha spoke about his experience in 1985 when he visited Tibet as a member of fact finding delegations sent by Tibetan Government-in-Exile. The participants spoke on necessity of raising Tibet issue not only for the sake of Tibet but for the benefit of China itself. A gist of what they said in their presentation could be summarized as follows.
"Chinese side had claimed that it has liberated Tibet and brought development in Tibet and that the Tibetans are happy in Tibet. If this is true, they should maintain transparency and let the world see that things are alright in Tibet. The world stood up when Germany invaded Poland in 1931, Iraq war came up when Iraq invaded Kuwait, but nobody stood up for Tibet when it was invaded by China. The world leaders found Tibet not worth a risk antagonizing China. Tibet is not just a political issue nor it is a riots or an isolated human right issue, it is a global issue. We all need to take this seriously and uphold the theme of this Forum, i.e. Compassion for the planet." said the delegates. "China has agreed to the International Olympic Committee that they would improve on human rights and freedom of press but what we see today is that it has become worse in Tibet. G-8 leaders should see that China take its words seriously and resolve Tibetan issue."
Among the Taiwan delegations were Mr. Dawa Tsering, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Prof Su Chia-hung of Foo-yin University, and Taipei city councilors Mr. Lee Ching-Feng and Mrs Lien Li-Jen. Taiwanese delegations expressed their support and solidarity with the Tibetan people for their struggle for peace and justice in their homeland. They urged the Chinese leaders to see if the material developments and the railway lines they are boasting of are really benefiting the Tibetans. They want China to take more effort in improving their human rights record and press freedom, and take a less belligerent stand on Taiwan people's right to freedom.
Representatives from Inner Mongolia and Uighur, Mr. Khereed and Mr Mahmut also spoke in the Forum and said if the world did not take the issue of Tibet seriously and urge the Chinese to leave Tibet for the Tibetans, Tibet will also face the same problem as they are facing now. In their regions they have lost their pride, identity and language, they live under a foreign culture and language. "Practice of one's culture and language has become a thing of the past." said one of them.
Later, Professor Ishihama of Waseda University made a presentation on Tibet, which highlighted the influence of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia and China. It pointed out the historical aspect of Tibet being an independent nation.
The delegates responded to questions raised from the audience. There were some 200 people who participated as audience. Television and newspaper representatives from major media did the coverage of the event.
In the evening Liaison Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Japan and East Asia hosted a dinner for the delegations and the organizers. Mr Idano Yukio, President of Japanese Parliamentarians Group for Tibet welcomed the delegates and convinced his support for the Forum. Mrs Baba Reiko of Busshokai raised a toast to the delegates. Mr. Tshoko Lhakpa, Representative thanked the delegates for their participation in the Forum and for their insightful presentations. He said he is very hopeful that the Forum could send a strong message to G-8 leaders to raise Tibet issue during the summit. He also thanked Mr. Makino and his team for their sincere effort in organizing this timely Forum.
In its continuing chapter today, the delegates called upon all G-8 leaders to address the Tibet issue at the Summit scheduled to take place July 7 and 8. They drafted a resolution after much deliberation and unanimously finalized it at 12:00 pm the conditions of which are as follows. Resolution of the Save Tibet: Asia-Pacific Forum
Given the current critical situation in Tibet, present and past parliamentarians, Tibet support groups and supporters from Australia, Taiwan and Japan attended a Forum prior to the G8 summit to appeal to world leaders to use their influence to address the Tibetan issue as a matter of urgency. [Note: Tibet in this document refers to the whole of Tibet, comprising the provinces of Amdo, Kham and U-Tsang.]
The Asia-Pacific Forum, organized by Save Tibet Network Japan*, was held in Tokyo from 1-3 July 2008. Participants recognized the dramatic increase of concern and support for Tibet throughout the world resulting from the recent tragic events in Tibet.
The Forum condemns the on-going violations of human rights in Tibet, including arbitrary arrests, repression and the campaign of so-called "patriotic education" in occupied Tibet.
The Forum commends the Tibetan people for responding to the call by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to reject violence, despite the violence and suffering inflicted on them by the Chinese authorities.
The Forum fully recognizes His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile to be the legitimate representatives of the Tibetan People.
The Forum fully supports the Middle Way Policy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the re-opening of official contact between Representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Government of the People's Republic of China to discuss the peaceful resolution of the Tibet issue.
The Forum notes that many of the leaders attending the G8 Summit at Toyako, Japan, including President George Bush, President Nicholas Sarkozy, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda have individually made strong statements of support for the Tibet-China dialogue.
The Forum urges these leaders to jointly re-affirm their support for the dialogue process and calls upon them to urge President Hu Jintao to elevate the dialogue to the level of formal, results-oriented negotiations leading to genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people as soon as possible.
The Forum urgently calls on the Chinese leadership to:
a) Cease the arbitrary arrest and detention of Tibetans and immediately release all those imprisoned for peacefully exercising their basic human right to free expression
b) Allow the United Nations, foreign journalists and other media, diplomats and independent international fact-finding delegations unrestricted access to Tibet
c) Immediately cease the so-called "patriotic education" campaign which has been re-introduced across Tibet
d) Respect the rights of the Tibetan people to engage freely in cultural and religious practices
e) Cease the facilitation of migration by Han Chinese and other non-Tibetans into Tibet
f) Stop the reckless exploitation of Tibetan natural resources which is endangering Tibet's fragile eco-systems and impacting on neighboring countries
g) Transform the Tibet-China dialogue from mere token discussions to transparent, agenda-driven negotiations with the aim of achieving genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people and bringing harmony to both Tibet and China. Tibet House, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, JAPAN. (www.tibethouse.jp)