By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Apr. 29: The All Party Japanese Parliamentary Support Group for Tibet on Tuesday pledged continuous support for the Tibetan struggle during a virtual meeting with President of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), known also as the Tibetan government-in-exile, Dr. Lobsang Sangay as he completes his two-term tenure as Sikyong.
The head of the Tibetan polity thanked the lawmakers for support, and applauded them for “sending a strong message to the world that Japan stands for human rights and democracy.”
He praised Japan for playing a major role in supporting Tibet, Uyghur, Mongolia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, “[It is] a message that human rights are fundamental and democracy is universal. These values are in contrast with what China says is socialism with Chinese characteristics”.
“Monasteries are being demolished, Tibetan language is discouraged and more than half a million Tibetans are uprooted from the nomadic areas and put them in labour camp-like situations to assimilate Tibet into China. This assimilation drive is threatening the very identity and civilization of Tibetan,” President Sangay told the 98-member group.
The parliamentary support group composed of the former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Vice Defense Minister Yasuhide Nakayama, and many others joined the felicitation event with the CTA President. The former education minister and chairman of the group Shimomura Hakuban expressed his happiness for the opportunity to hold the event with Sikyong and also thanked him for his leadership of the Dharamshala-based Tibetan government-in-exile.
The Chairman of the parliamentary support group for Tibet said that the idea for the organization started ten years ago when he met the exile spiritual leader Dalai Lama in Dharamshala along with Shinzo Abe and Sakurai Yoshiko. It has since grown into the world’s largest parliamentary support group. “We have been making efforts to the Tibetan community through Japan’s ODA (Official Development Assistance) fund,” he said in his address on Tuesday.
The All Party Japanese Parliamentary Group for Tibet was formed on Dec. 14, 2016, with membership of parliamentarians across party lines. The initial membership included 58 MPs from the House of Representatives and 24 MPs from the House of Councillors of the Japanese parliament.