Australia Tibet Council

Enabling everyone in Australia to be part of change in Tibet

Statement on Prayer Flags for Tibet's Political Prisoners action

Wednesday, 02 December 2015

Melissa Parke MP: 

Today at midday, 2,110 prayer flags fluttered in front of Parliament House. This symbolic action by the Australia Tibet Council and the Tibetan Community of Australia ahead of International Human Rights Day on 10 December is dedicated to the 2,110 known political prisoners in Tibet. Each flag represents a Tibetan unjustly imprisoned by the Chinese government for 'crimes' ranging from praying for their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to flying a Tibetan national flag to sending information about the situation in Tibet to friends overseas.

Tibetan prisoners are subjected to torture and are denied proper medical care, according to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. In July, we heard of the tragic death of prominent Tibetan lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche in Chinese custody while serving a 20-year sentence. Yet, while facing a review of its human rights record at the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva last week, the Chinese government said 'there are no political prisoners in China'. When grilled about the use of electric shocks and the notorious rigid interrogation chairs, also known as tiger chairs, the Chinese officials said these chairs are for the safety and comfort of the detainees.

Australia is home to around 2,000 Tibetans, many of whom are former political prisoners, and a number of them were part of the gathering in front of Parliament House today, sending prayers to their fellow Tibetans languishing in Chinese jails.

For China to gain genuine respect in the international community, it must start respecting the basic human rights of the Tibetan people and its own citizens. As a country that enjoys a strong relationship with China, Australia is in a good position to encourage China to do the right thing.

Source: Hansard