Australia Tibet Council

Enabling everyone in Australia to be part of change in Tibet

Tibetan-Australians seek political support for a new approach on Tibet

Sunday, 17 March 2013

A delegation of Tibetan-Australians is meeting with close to 40 parliamentarians on Monday 18 March to lobby for stronger government action to address the escalating human rights crisis in Tibet.

The delegation's visit to Parliament House comes in the wake of the 108th self-immolation this Saturday in protest against China’s policies in Tibet. It follows Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s February announcement that, despite repeated requests, China refuses to allow Australia’s Ambassador in Beijing to visit Tibetan areas affected by these drastic protests.

Kyinzom Dhongdue, Australia Tibet Council’s media spokesperson and delegation leader, said: “The situation in Tibet warrants a new approach. We urge the Australian government to coordinate their efforts with other like-minded governments to call on the Chinese leadership to address the current crisis in Tibet.”

The 12 delegates, representing the Tibetan communities from NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and ACT, are backed by thousands of members of Australia Tibet Council, the national Tibet support group. Many of the delegates are either former political prisoners or have a parent who had been imprisoned in Tibet.

Sustained international pressure is critical to help create the conditions for positive change in Tibet. It is even more justified now as the Chinese government continues to seal off Tibet from international scrutiny. “Our delegation is visiting Canberra days just after Xi Jinping has been formally appointed China’s President. The time is right for governments to speak with one voice on the Tibet issue and call on Xi and his colleagues in the Chinese Communist Party to reassess the policies that threaten the culture and identity of the Tibetan people and give rise to the self-immolations.”

Tibet remains closed to foreign media, tourists and diplomats. The large majority of the 107 self-immolations took place over the last six months at the time of the leadership transition in Beijing. Tibetans seem desperate to send a strong message to China’s new leaders that they must find a lasting solution to the Tibet issue.

Also happening on the day:

1. Tabling of “Stand up for Tibet” petition
– By Hon Warren Entsch MP, Federation Chamber, 10.30am to 11 am

2. Visual event to highlight the 107 self-immolations in Tibet
– Rally at Parliament lawn, 1pm to 1.15pm
(Speakers include Greens spokesperson on Tibet Senator Hanson-Young, Other speakers - TBC)