Australia Tibet Council

Enabling everyone in Australia to be part of change in Tibet

2,110 prayer flags in front of Parliament House

Friday, 04 December 2015

Yesterday afternoon 2,110 Tibetan prayer flags fluttered above the Parliament Lawns in Canberra. Each colourful prayer flag represented a Tibetan unjustly imprisoned by the Chinese government for “crimes” ranging from praying for their spiritual leader in exile the Dalai Lama, to flying a Tibetan national flag, to sending information about the situation in Tibet to friends living overseas.

According to the 2014 annual report of Tibetan Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, there are 2,110 known political prisoners in Tibet.

This symbolic action, organised by the Australian Tibetan Community Association and Australia Tibet Council, reminded Australia’s political leaders of the critical situation in Tibet ahead of the International Human Rights Day next week.

Tibetans from Sydney, Canberra and Newcastle travelled to the national capital to be part of this gathering in front of the federal Parliament, sending their prayers to fellow Tibetans in Chinese prisons in Tibet.

Australia is home over 2,000 Tibetan political prisoners, many of whom were among those holding the prayer flags. Tsering Dhondup, a young former political prisoner, shared his personal story and his experience of the reality of life in a Chinese prison.

Key members of the Australian All-Parliamentary Group for Tibet - Michael Danby MP, Melissa Parke MP, Alan Griffin MP and Senator Lisa Singh - joined the gathering. Mr Danby, who is the group co-chair, called on the Chinese leadership to engage in a meaningful discussion with the Dalai Lama and end the oppression in Tibet. Ms Parke said it is time the international community fully recognise the injustice done to the Tibetan people.

Inside Parliament House, Ms Parke shone a spotlight on Tibet’s human rights situation and called on the Australian government to push for change in Tibet.

Lhakpa Tshoko, Representative of the Dalai Lama in Australia, addressed the gathering and urged the Australian parliamentarians to strengthen their support for Tibet.

Later that day, Tibetan community members marched to the Chinese embassy to hold a protest to call on the Chinese leadership to release Tibet's political prisoners.