News and Views on Tibet

Statements from Canadian MPs for March 10th

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Senator Consiglio DiNino
Co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet

Each year at this time we are reminded of the tragic and unacceptable situation in Tibet. Tibetans are still unable to freely celebrate their culture, practice their religion or enjoy the basic fundamental rights and freedoms we Canadians take for granted. His Holiness has renounced sovereignty for real autonomy and yet the Chinese government refuses to acknowledge this. They still refer to the Dalai Lama as a separatist.

Ladies and gentlemen, Tibetans in and out of Tibet need our strong voice of support to help them keep their flame of hope alive. We must not, indeed we will not, abandon them. Let us all promise to redouble our efforts to join with His Holiness and all of his friends and supporters around the world to pressure the Chinese leadership to fairly and justly resolve this issue of Tibet’s proper place in the world.

Thank you for caring.

Senator Consiglio Di Nino

Alexa McDonough, MP Halifax
NDP Foreign Affairs and International Development Critic

Dear Friends,

I am sorry I cannot join with you in person to mark the 47th Anniversary of the Lhasa Uprising.

As you are aware, New Democrats stand with you in solidarity, in your struggle for peace and autonomy for Tibetans. During his visit to Canada, His Holiness the Dalai Lama called on Canada to step up to the plate and play a peace-bridging role between Tibet and China.

Now more than ever, Canada must step forward. During the last parliament, a majority of parliamentarians wanted the Prime Minister to urge that China resume peaceful dialogue with Tibet. I call on this new government to listen to your call and heed the plea of His Holiness.

As His Holiness has eloquently said, “the Tibetan struggle is not about my personal position or wellbeing, but about the freedom, basic rights and cultural preservation of six million Tibetans, as well as the protection of the Tibetan environment.” I couldn’t agree more.

You can count on the NDP to be there with you and His Holiness in your pursuit of peace and justice for the people of Tibet.


Alexa McDonough, MP Halifax
NDP Foreign Affairs and International Development Critic

David Chernushenko, Green Party of Canada, Deputy Leader

Thank-you for the invitation to speak here today on behalf of The Green Party Of Canada.

The Green Party made a deliberate decision in the last federal election to send out a Press Release on Tibet. Not on the Middle East or Afghanistan Conflicts, but on Tibet. Why? We did this because we felt that the example of peaceful and enduring resistance deserved more of the news and attention than armed conflicts. For if armed conflicts always get the major news and political attention, than armed conflict becomes the way to get the news and political attention. Is this really the kind of political priorities we want to encourage? I think not.

Our Press Release on Tibet was our way of acknowledging and affirming the courage and significance of a longstanding peaceful struggle. And, of saying thank-you for your example to the world on the collective Way of Peace.

We talked about how the Tibet situation was not a marginal issue in the geo-politics of the Pacific Basin, but represented instead an exceptional opportunity for cascading peace into the region.

A mutual satisfactory settlement to the Tibet issue has the potential – especially with the Beijing Olympics fast approaching- to build immense international good will and trust that would counter the impulse behind the new arms race building in the region. An Arms Race that will perversely increase the real security risk to both China and United States by re-directing immense resources from critical environmental and social pressures that are growing more serious every year in both those countries.

The current Oil Wars, the extreme weather events, the toxic spills, the growing riots and social unrest in both China and the U.S. , these are not imaginary, and they will test both those powerful nations to their limits and possibly beyond. Their leaders would be wise indeed to steward resources today for the domestic challenges ahead, instead of dispersing them in yet another wasteful Cold War Arms Race.

But whether the leadership of these powerful nations are pro-active or not in meeting these challenges, change is coming that will alter their reality dramatically. The only question is how well they can and will adjust.

As for the future of Tibet, just when some thought you had the least effect, they will come to realize you had the most.


David Chernushenko, Green Party of Canada, Deputy Leader

Statement from The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Liberal Party
Foreign Affairs Critic, Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition

The Liberal Party of Canada is devoted to the promotion and protection of human rights in China. During several occasions, we have urged the Government of China to respect its international engagements and ends its violations against fundamental rights such as the freedom of religion, expression, association and belief especially in the regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. While we were in power, our government consistently raised the issue of the respect of human rights during our bilateral exchanges between Canada and China – often resulting in positive results at government policy level as well as for the case of individual political prisoners.

In addition, we registered our concerns regarding China’s human rights record in annual public statements at the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. I sincerely hope that the current government continues to follow our example.

Our Party remains concerned about the human rights situation in China. Since 1996, Canada has pursued a policy of engagement with China on human rights and governance issues in the belief that engagement is more effective than isolation. By engaging China and integrating them into world affairs, we hoped to encourage change in China’s domestic political practices, especially on issues related to governance and human rights.

On April 23, 2004, the Right Honourable Paul Martin – Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada – met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and both discussed the issue of human rights specifically in Tibet. This is a first for any Prime Minister of Canada.

The Liberal Party remains committed to pursuing a policy of engagement with China and to promoting the principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

China’s human rights record continues to be a concern for Canada and we encourage the new government to maintain forums for dialogues such as the Canada-China Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Plurilateral Human Rights Symposium.


Stephane Dion

Francine Lalonde, Bloc Quebecois
Foreign Affairs Critic
(translated from French)

I sincerely regret not being able to attend your peaceful rally to mark the 47th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day.

Since 47 years now, the Tibetan people have lived violent oppression from the Chinese government. Despite consistent violations of the basic human rights of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama has never wavered from his approach of tolerance, peace and non-violence. His approach was recognized by the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The Dalai Lama continues to look to establish and maintain a dialogue with Chinese authorities in hopes of a mutually acceptable solution.

Today again, the Dalai Lama has urged the Chinese government to grant the Tibetan people their autonomy – an autonomy that is not equal to separation as he has mentioned several times and which conforms to the Chinese constitution.

The Bloc Quebecois, who understands the struggle of the Tibetan people, supports the appeal made today by the Dalai Lama.

The Bloc Quebecois would also like to remind the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper that during the last visit of the Dalai Lama to Canada, a majority of parliamentarians from all parties asked that Canada serve as an honest broker in the negotiation process between Tibet and China.

Francine Lalonde

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