Tibetans visit Canberra to call for first-ever Australian legislation on Tibet

Sep 5, 2019

A delegation representing Australia Tibet Council and the Australian Tibetan community is visiting Parliament House next Tuesday, 10 September, to garner support for a new bill about gaining reciprocal access to Tibet. They are meeting close to 50 Members of Parliament from all sides of politics.

Similar to legislation enacted in the United States, and put before the British Parliament, the proposed bill aims to end China’s isolation of Tibet from the outside world by calling on the Chinese government to grant Australian journalists, diplomats and tourists unrestricted access to Tibet, just as their Chinese counterparts are able to travel to Australia.

This year marks 60 years of Tibetan resistance against China’s occupation of Tibet. The upcoming Tibet Lobby Day will take place in the backdrop of increasing resistance by Tibetans, Uyghurs and the people of Hong Kong. It also coincides with the growing security concerns over China’s influence in Australia.

Executive Officer of Australia Tibet Council Kyinzom Dhongdue said, 

“China’s growing clout in Australia enables Chinese government representatives and media to present Members of Parliament with their unchallenged perspectives on Tibet and related issues. Our delegation’s visit offers a unique opportunity to understand the real Tibet story.”

Members of the delegation are local community leaders and young activists who were imprisoned by the Chinese government or are children of former political prisoners from Tibet.

Kyinzom Dhongdue said, 

“For Tibetans inside Tibet, their homeland has turned into a prison. They can’t get out of their country. The international community cannot see what is happening inside this prison as Tibet has remained largely closed over the past decade. The few who do get in are chaperoned around in Chinese government-approved tours. The Reciprocal Access to Tibet legislation will allow Australian diplomats and journalists to witness the full extent of China’s human rights abuses”.

For over four years, a group of Australian parliamentarians have tried to visit Tibet, but China has repeatedly ignored their requests for visas. The situation is worse for Tibetan-Australians, many of whom have families back in Tibet. They are not able to visit their ailing parents or have to wait for many months or even years to get a visa.

Media contact:

Kyinzom Dhongdue                    0416 695 590
Executive Officer                    kyinzom.dhongdue@atc.org.au
Australia Tibet Council