Australia Tibet Council

Enabling everyone in Australia to be part of change in Tibet

Tibet Advocacy Project

Australia can play a constructive role in the resolution of the Tibet-China conflict. ATC is committed to making Tibet an important part of a deepening Australia-China relationship and in leveraging Australia’s growing importance as the global power shifts from the west to the east.

Our strength in building political support comes from our movement of 20,000-strong Australians.

Translating our strong public support into real political action for Tibet is a key goal at ATC.

Tibet in the Australian parliament

parliament1We work closely with the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet in Canberra, a cross-party group of members from both houses of the Parliament. They keep the Tibet issue on the parliamentary agenda through motions and statements and raise the issue with the government through questions to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and meetings with the foreign minister. Members also participate in meetings with visiting Tibetan leaders including the Dalai Lama in the Parliament, take part in parliamentary delegations to Dharamsala and speak at rallies and public forums across the country.

Tibet Advocacy Day

TAP1The Tibet Advocacy Day is our annual lobbying initiative for Tibet in the Parliament. Members of Australia’s Tibetan community visit Parliament House every March, brief parliamentarians on the latest situation in Tibet and call for stronger political support.

2015 saw the fourth Tibet Advocacy Day in Australia in the backdrop of an increasing number of self-immolations by Tibetans. A group of 12 young Tibetans from across Australia, led by the ATC team and backed by thousands of our members, lobbied in the Parliament on 23 March and called for the release of political prisoners Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Runggye Adak. 

Australian visits by Tibetan leaders

ktls tt sydAlong with Tibet Information Office, we work towards building political support for the Dalai Lama and the democratically elected Tibetan leadership in exile.

Australian politicians, media and the public gave a strong endorsement to Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay as he visited Australia in August 2012 for the first time since taking over Tibet's political leadership from the Dalai Lama.

Parliamentary delegations to Dharamsala 

delegation2012A parliamentary delegation to Dharamsala is an important step in Australia’s support for Tibet. We have been involved in organising two parliamentary delegations to the Tibetan exile capital in India, the most recent in July 2012.

After meeting with Tibetan political and community leaders, students, former political prisoners and artists in Dharamsala, politicians have invariably returned with a deeper appreciation of the Tibet issue. Back in Australia, they become strong voices for Tibet in the Parliament. 


Many politicians are aware of China’s human rights record in Tibet. On our 5th Tibet Advocacy Day, we opened their eyes to the global consequences of China’s occupation of Tibet and its flawed policies on the Tibetan environment.

We are inspired by what we have achieved on Tibet Advocacy Day:

  1. The Australian parliament debated on the first motion on the Tibetan environment
  2. Four politicians from the two major parties spoke out on this important issue in both houses
  3. Over 20 politicians added their names to a joint letter to the Chinese Ambassador, calling on China to end the forced removal of Tibetan nomads from their grasslands

So what’s next?  We'll be organising awareness-raising activities to building new alliances with experts and leaders in the environment movement, and engaging the broader Australian community on why Tibet matters in today’s world.

In April, we're heading to Brisbane to host an exciting panel discussion at the popular Festival of Tibet.

Tibet, Climate change and our common future

Tibetans and Tibet experts, indigenous Australian environmentalists, scientists and politicians will discuss climate change in Tibet and how we can create a just and sustainable future, not only for Tibetans but for the whole region.

Join us at the panel discussion at the Festival of Tibet in Brisbane.

DATE
Saturday, 23 April
11.30 am - 1 pm
VENUE
Turbine Platform, Brisbane Powerhouse
119 Lamington St, New Farm

Donate EnvironmentCampaign

 

Tibet Advocacy Day 2016 - Update

Published in Tibet Advocacy Project
Thursday, 03 March 2016

TAD2016 groupThe fifth Tibet Advocacy Day in the Australian Parliament this week was a huge success! A big "Thank you" to all the donors who through their support have enabled us to take the Tibetan voice to Canberra.

A group of 15 Tibetans from across Australia, including former political prisoners, community leaders and youth activists, met with around 30 politicians from all sides of politics and presented a compelling case for Tibet.

“The Tibetan environment is not a remote issue, it has global impact and Australia cannot afford to ignore Tibet”.

Together they briefed politicians about the global significance of the Tibetan plateau - the World’s Third Pole, the impacts of climate change in Tibet and China’s misguided policies on environment and development. They asked the politicians to add their names to a joint letter to the Chinese Ambassador, calling on China to end these failed policies in Tibet.

The four former political prisoners who were part of our delegation also held an hour-long meeting with the directors of the China and Human Rights sections of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to discuss China’s policies in Tibet.

This heartfelt call by the Tibetans was strongly supported by our politicians. For the first time, a motion on Tibet’s environment was debated in the Australian parliament. In the House, three parliamentarians - Warren Entsch MP, Michael Danby MP and Melissa Parke MP - spoke to this motion. Later in the Senate, Senator Lisa Singh made a passionate speech about the global importance of Tibet’s environment.

LIST OF POLITICIANS WHO MET OUR DELEGATION:

Liberal: Senator Linda Reynolds, Senator Dean Smith, Andrew Hastie MP, Teresa Gambaro MP, Craig Kelly MP, Kevin Andrews MP, Sharman Stone MP, Warren Entsch MP, Ann Sudmalis MP

Labor: Gai Brodtmann MP, Senator Catryna Bilyk, Senator Joseph Bullock, Graham Perrett MP, Dr Mike Kelly (Chief of Staff of Bill Shorten MP), David Feenay MP, Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Alannah MacTiernan MP, Mark Dreyfus, Senator Lisa Singh, Laurie Ferguson MP, Michael Danby MP, Melissa Parke MP

Greens: Senator Larissa Waters, Senator Nick McKim

Independent: Andrew Wilkie MP

Click on images to enlarge

Tibet Advocacy Day 2016

Published in Tibet Advocacy Project
Wednesday, 17 February 2016

On 1 March, we will be back in Parliament House for our fifth Tibet Advocacy Day. And we are determined to make an even greater impact.

Every March, for four years ATC has taken a team of Tibetans to Canberra for Tibet Advocacy Day. They are young and inspiring student activists, community leaders and former political prisoners. Their personal stories of resistance against China’s occupation of Tibet, their journey into exile and their hopes for Tibet’s future have deeply moved politicians - some even to tears.

DonatetoTAD buttonPoliticians have heard much about the human rights abuses in Tibet and how Tibetans continue to suffer under China’s rule. Many of these politicians sympathise with our situation. But sympathy alone is not enough. For any parliament and government to take strong action on the Tibet issue, they must be convinced that it is urgent and is in their nation’s interest.

Here is the inspiring Tenzin Chokey sharing her experience of taking part in last year’s Tibet Advocacy Day.

On our fifth Tibet Advocacy Day, our group of Tibetan delegates will present the compelling case for Tibet. They will speak about the environmental crisis in Tibet and the importance of the Tibetan plateau to the current global challenges of climate change, water and stability in Asia. And how a resolution of the Tibet issue will benefit many countries, including Australia.

Please make a donation to support Tibet Advocacy Day 2016 and help our Tibetan delegation travel to Canberra and share their Tibet story.

TAD2016 team colourMeet the Tibet Advocacy Day 2016 team.

We have identified some of the country’s leading parliamentarians from across the parties and in the coming weeks, we’ll ask them to meet the Tibetans. They are the influential, up and coming parliamentarians, and they have a strong interest in China, human rights, foreign policy and geo-strategic issues. We’ll be aiming to meet 40 of these important MPs and Senators on Tibet Advocacy Day.

Before heading to Parliament House, the Tibetans will receive two days of intensive  training in lobbying, media skills and campaign strategy and become more effective spokespersons.

Read more about our past Tibet Advocacy Days.

 

 


OUR DELEGATES

Dhondup

I was born in Tibet in 1984. As a young boy, I left school and joined our local monastery. At school, we were taught mainly in Mandarin. My parents were DhondupTseringconcerned that I would forget my Tibetan culture and language if I continue to stay there. They hoped that the monastery would gave me the opportunity to study not only Buddhist philosophy but also Tibetan language and history. However in the late 1990s, the Chinese government launched the Patriotic Education campaign in Tibet. It was a campaign to force Tibetans, in particular the monks and nuns, to renounce the teachings of our leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and pledge our loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party. All the monks were told to add their signature to a document that shows our commitment to the CCP. Along with other monks, I protested against this campaign. I was 17 years old. The Chinese government put me in prison for two years.

After finishing my prison sentence, I fled into exile and started my new life at a Tibetan school in India. After schooling, I went to Delhi University and did my honours degree in political science. I joined the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress in New Delhi and served as its public relations officer and education officer. I was also the president of the Tibetan College Students Council in Delhi. I organised a wide range of campaigns for Tibet during those years.

I came to Australia as part of the Australian government’s humanitarian program in 2015. As a former political prisoner living in a free, democratic country, it is my duty to speak on behalf of the Tibetans inside Tibet. I look forward to taking part in Tibet Advocacy Day 2016.

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Kungam

kungamI am a writer, activist and a journalist. I was born in Ngaba in Tibet’s Amdo province. This is the town where many self-immolations had taken place in recent years. My father, mother, two sisters and I have all been to Chinese prisons for our political activities. They include distributing pro-Tibet flyers and sending information about the situation in Tibet including the self-immolations to Tibetans overseas. One of my sisters is still in prison. She was imprisoned in 2013. Her crime was “helping a self-immolation protest”.

I went to study Buddhist philosophy at Kirti Monastery in Ngaba in 1992. In 1998, I was one of the key monks protesting against China’s Patriotic Education campaign. I was imprisoned for that.

In 2000, I went to India and joined the Dharamsala-based Kirti Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. Over the years, I have written, edited and published many articles and books in Tibetan language, literature, politics and culture. In 2008, I was instrumental in collecting information about the uprising in Tibet and sharing them with various media outlets around the world. In 2010, I founded a newspaper called Kalon Tripa (meaning Prime Minister) in the lead up to the Tibetan general elections. In 2011, I was elected to be the director of Ngaba Trust for Universal Education and vice president of Regional National Democratic Party of Tibet. In 2012, I became the external coordinator of Regional Amdo Association.

Before coming to Australia in 2015, I was the general secretary at Chu Sum Movement of Tibet (Ex-political prisoners’ association) in Dharamsala. I am also the head of Donme Editorial Committee and a research assistant of Dr Tamara Relis on his research project on the Tibet issue. Currently I am also doing research on Tibetan media.

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Lhazom Zimwock

I am 20 years old. Having been born and raised within a tight-knit Tibetan community in Switzerland, I have participated in rallies and demonstrations since

LhazomWimwock early childhood. In the years following my move to Australia, I continued attending community events. However, my most monumental experience in this journey was attending the first SFT Action Camp in Australia last June. Lessons taught at the camp covered vital aspects of advocacy such as public speaking, tabling, establishing grassroot organisations and so forth. Soon after the action camp, my friend Tenzin Choedon and I co-founded the Melbourne chapter of SFT. I hope to implement my new skills at the upcoming Tibet Advocacy Day in Canberra.

As a Tibetan, I was born with a deep-rooted passion for social justice and human rights. My biggest step toward this passion was enrolling in my current university course of law and international relations. I am passionate about our cause. Anything to help in the quality of life for our brothers and sisters in Tibet is a cause worth advocating for.

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Tsering Dorje

I am from Amdo province of Tibet. I studied Tibetan literature from Qinghai Normal University in Xining. In 1999, I was partTseringDorjee of a Tibetan campaign against World Bank’s plan to sponsor a controversial Chinese government project which involved a massive population transfer into Tibet. The World Bank could not go ahead with its plan. I was imprisoned for my involvement in the campaign.

A few years later, I fled into exile in India. In Dharamsala, I worked as a senior human rights researcher at Tibet Watch from 2007 to 2014. I documented China’s human rights violations in Tibet by interviewing newly arrived refugees, analysing Chinese policies in Tibet, and sharing my research work with various human right watch groups, organisations and world governments and parliament.

I moved to Australia two years ago. I live in Melbourne with my family. I am passionate about preserving our Tibetan language and identity, and I work hard to ensure that my children do not forget their Tibetan roots. Today I am the president of the Tibetan Community of Victoria. I look forward to visiting the Australian parliament for the first time in March.

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Tenzin Choedon

I am 18 years old. I came to Australia at the age of ten. I am studying psychological science at La Trobe University.TenzinChoedon

I am the co-founder of Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) chapter in Melbourne. Last year, I attended SFT’s first action camp in Australia during which I learnt a great deal about youth activism and campaigning. Energised by the experience from the action camp, I co-founded the Melbourne chapter with my friend Lhazom Zimwock. Both of us are excited about joining Tibet Advocacy Day 2016.

From a young age, I have always felt strongly about putting Tibet back on the map and have always tried to educate people on the situation in Tibet. On Tibet Advocacy Day, I hope to educate Australian politicians and build stronger political support for Tibet. I think through this great initiative, we can speak for the Tibetan people inside Tibet. I am also looking forward to meeting other young Tibetans and sharing our experiences with each other.

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Tenzin Lobsang

I am joining Tibet Advocacy Day in Canberra for the fourth time.

I am a Tibetan born in India. I did my schooling from TibetanTenzinLobsang Village and my Bachelor and Masters degrees in economics at Baroda University. I moved to Australia in 2008 and did a Graduate Diploma in Information System from La Trobe University and a Master of Business at Victoria University. I have worked in IT sector for some time. Currently I am working as a Tibetan interpreter with Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Being Tibetan and Buddhist, I am deeply committed to fighting for my country’s freedom through non-violent actions. I do this by keeping the interest of the Tibetan people in my heart and the teachings of His Holiness in my mind.

While attending university in India, I was the president of Regional Tibetan Youth Congress - Baroda. Since moving to Melbourne, I have continued to be an active member of our community. I was the vice-president of Tibetan Community of Victoria from 2012 to 2014. I started Lhakar activities in Melbourne in 2012. Every Wednesday (soul day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama), I would organise meetings in our community to talk about Tibetan culture, politics and identity. I was also able to organise the first Festival of Tibet in Melbourne in 2013.

I am a co-founder of Australia New Zealand Tibetan Youth. Our group is currently sponsoring two semi-orphans from TCV School and making annual donation to orphanages in Tibet. I dedicate a lot of my time and energy in helping new Tibetan refugees settle into their new lives in Australia. I was a finalist in the Fair Go category for 2015 Pride of Australia Medal by Herald Sun and the Cohealth Frank Fisher Award 2015.

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Pema Dolkar

I was born in Tibet in 1991. I escaped to India when I was seven years old. I have since not seen my family. These days we keep in touch through phone. MyPemaDolkar dad has been a Tibetan teacher for over 30 years. His view is that Tibetan language is our priority if we want to survive as a nation.

I did my schooling in India. I came to Australia in 2014. I am currently studying media and communications at University of Sydney. I am also doing a double major in government and international relations and marketing.

My biggest hope is that the Tibet issue will be resolved soon so that all separated families like mine can reunite and no children have to grow up without their parents. I want to use my education to make whatever difference I can for Tibet. I took part in Tibet Advocacy Day last year. I am going back to Canberra this March because I have seen how effective the advocacy day was in amplifying our Tibetan voice in the parliament.

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Tsundu Oser

TsunduWoserI am 35 years old. I was born in Minyak in Kham province of Tibet, a beautiful place known for its holy mountains. Most families were nomads and farmers.

Every Tibetan wishes to see the Dalai Lama in their lifetime and at 17, I escaped to India to see His Holiness. I moved to Australia in 2005 and worked as a carer with the disabled for the NSW Ageing And Disability Department. For the last 10 years, I have organised many activities in Sydney to raise awareness of the Tibet issue. In 2008 in the lead up to the Beijing Olympics, I scaled a huge billboard in the busy Kings Cross area to protest against China’s human rights abuses. I have also served as the president of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress Sydney. Most recently on the first day of Losar (Tibetan New Year), I paid my respects to the over 140 Tibetan self-immolators and stood in solidarity with their families. My activist friend Tenpa Dargyal and I were at Sydney Town Hall distributing flyers and displaying portraits of these brave Tibetans who sacrificed their lives for Tibet’s freedom.

I took part in last year’s Tibet Advocacy Day. I would like to meet Australian parliamentarians again this year and brief them on the environmental crisis unfolding in Tibet. As a son of nomadic parents, I know how Tibet’s fragile environment and our unique traditional way of life are today destroyed under China’s rule.

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Mingyur Samkhar

I was born in Tibet. As a young boy in the 1950s, I fled into exile in India with my family. After completing university, I worked in the Central Tibetan MigyurSamkharAdministration in Dharamsala. I moved to Australia in 1992. The Tibetan community was very small then. I assisted in the founding of the Tibetan Community Association in New South Wales and served as its first president. A year later, I moved to Canberra to work at the Tibet Information Office as its first executive secretary. During my time there, I had the honour of working alongside many important parliamentarians and Tibet supporters including the key leaders at ATC. Together we had established the Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet and built our initial contacts with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Over the last few years, I have been working in the Australian government. I am delighted to be able to join this year’s Tibet Advocacy Day in Parliament House.

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Pema Pelmo

PemaPelmoI was born in Tibet. I left my family at a young age in pursuit of a strong education in India. 

While studying at university in the south Indian city of Madras, I was an active member of Tibetan Students’ Association Madras. TSAM is one of the most active body of Tibetan students studying in universities across India. I was the sports secretary, and was part of a wide range of campaign activities for Tibet. It was a great learning experience.

I came to Australia last year to study at Australian National University. For me, Tibet Advocacy Day is one of the most important events organised by ATC. Unlike events like marches and protests, on this day we will communicate directly to the country’s decision makers. I look forward to my first Tibet Advocacy Day in Australia.

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Tsering Wangchuk

I was born in Darjeeling in India. I have never been to Tibet, but I grew up listening to many fascinating stories from my TseringWangchukdad. My greatest dream is to go to Tibet and to see the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to our homeland.

I finished my high school from Central School for Tibetans in Mussoorie in 1999. I then went to Darjeeling Government College to do Bachelor of Commerce. I married my Australian wife Anja in 2004 and moved to Australia a year later. In 2013, I completed a Bachelor of Commerce from University of the Sunshine Coast. Currently I live in the Sunshine Coast with my wife and my little daughter. I work at Coles as a grocery team leader and hope to become a departmental manager in the near future.

I am part of the small and active Tibetan community in Queensland, having served as its president for two years. During that period, I had the opportunity to organise many rallies and vigils to raise awareness of our issue. When I participated in the first Tibet Advocacy Day in 2012, I felt very empowered. I joined the team again last year. I am excited to go back to Canberra in March. My experience has shown that lobbying politicians is the most powerful action I can take for Tibet in Australia.

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Lobsang Lungtok

LobsangLungtokAs a young boy growing up in Rebkong in Tibet’s Amdo province, I developed a strong sense of nationalism when I saw my brother arrested for distributing posters on Tibetan freedom. At 15, I joined Rongpo monastery. In 1995 after hearing on the radio that Tibetans in India were organising a peace march to Tibet, I wrote a poem in support of the march and pasted posters on school and monastery buildings. I was convicted for “counter-revolutionary propaganda” and spent the next two years in prison.

Soon after my term, I fled into exile in India seeking freedom and education. In Dharamsala, I worked as a researcher with Tibet Information Network. I moved to Australia with my young family in 2002.

China is over 7000 kms away, but the Chinese government still tries to intimidate me to not engage in political action for Tibet. For the last five years I have taken part in Tibet Advocacy Day and lobbied Australian politicians to call for stronger support for Tibet. The Chinese embassy in Canberra monitors the activities of Tibetan-Australians. In the first year, I got a phone call from the Chinese embassy, coaxing me not to take part in this project. The strong spirit of the Tibetan people inside Tibet keeps me motivated.

I am today the president of the Australian Tibetan Community Association. I look forward to joining Tibet Advocacy Day 2016.

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OUR MENTORS

Yeshi Tsomo

I was born in central Tibet. I went into exile in India as a young girl so that I could get better education. I am forever grateful for the opportunity given byYeshiTsomo Tibetan Children’s Village. After completing my university, I went to work as a researcher at Department of Information and International Relations in Central Tibetan Administration. As part of my role, I attended international conferences on human rights where I was able to discuss Tibet’s political situation with people from all parts of the world.

I came to Australia in 2012 to do my Masters degree in human rights at Sydney University. I later studied social work. I now live in Newcastle and work in the community services sector.

I was part of the Tibet Advocacy Day delegation in 2014. Being able to talk to politicians directly, raising the Tibet issue and calling on them for stronger action was an empowering experience for me. As a Tibetan living in a free country, I believe we have an important responsibility to speak on behalf of those inside Tibet.

This year, I am honoured to be joining Tibet Advocacy Day as a mentor and learning from each other’s experience. We have a great team of Tibetans from different age groups and backgrounds, all determined to make a strong case for Tibet in the Australian parliament.

Shenphen Ringpapontsang

ShenphenI was born in Nepal. I spent some of my childhood years in Hungary where my father worked at the Office of Tibet based in Budapest. When he became the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Australia, my brothers and my mother travelled with him to Canberra. I have called Australia home for nearly 20 years.

I did most of my schooling in Canberra, and went on to study both law and accounting at Australian National University. I am a professional in auditing and risk management.

I have been part of ATC’s Tibet Advocacy Day on two previous occasions. I am delighted to join the team this year again as a mentor. It gives me great pleasure to meet other young Tibetans and work together in amplifying our voice in the federal parliament.

Sonam Paljor

I was born and raised in India. After completing my university, I went to work in the Central Tibetan Administration’s healthSonamPaljor department. I moved to Australia in 1999, and did a Masters degree in public health from Sydney University. I have been working in the NSW government for a number of years.

In 2012, I travelled to Canberra as a delegate on the first Tibet Advocacy Day. Since then, I have been returning to be a mentor for our delegates, accompanying them through their training and on their meetings with politicians. Along this journey I have seen the impact of Tibet Advocacy Day on myself and many young Tibetans, as we’ve learned new skills in lobbying and strategic campaigning. We’ve gained confidence as spokespersons over the years, holding many meetings with Australian politicians to inform them of the real situation inside Tibet and ask them for stronger action. The Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet is now larger and more active than it has ever been. This is in large part due to our collective work on the annual Advocacy Day.

I am one of the two Tibetans serving as Board members of the Australia Tibet Council. 

Make a donation to show your support to the whole team