Dharamshala: Earlier this week Canada’s Conservative Party Senator Hon Thanh Hai Ngo moved a motion in the Senate to raise awareness of the serious and recurring human rights abuses in Tibet and to urge the Government of Canada to take stronger action with China in support of genuine autonomy for Tibet.
Speaking at the Senate debate on Tuesday, Sen Ngo expressed he was “deeply distraught” at how restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms including freedom of expression, religion, movement, and conscience remain severely curtailed and increasingly repressive in Tibet.
“We, as parliamentarians, cannot stand idle on this issue. The time has come for the Government of Canada to do more,” the Senator said.
“The fundamental rights and freedoms that we have been granted and continue to protect here in Canada, including freedom of expression, religion, movement and conscience, are severely restricted and increasingly repressive in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, TAR, and in greater Tibet. The Tibetan people are subjected to these restrictions at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party and continue to suffer because of this.”
Especially at a time when the Canadian Government is increasingly focused on strengthening its trade and economic ties with China, Sen Ngo stressed that China must remember to voice its concerns about violations of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Tibetans with the Chinese authorities at high-level meetings and in bilateral or multilateral statements.
He recalled the testimony of CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay at the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights joint hearing on 12 June last year.
“On June 12, 2018, the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights held a special joint meeting with Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the first elected President of the Central Tibetan Administration, also known as the Tibetan government in exile.”
“At that meeting, Mr. Sangay indicated that, by adopting a motion on Tibet, the Government of Canada could actively support the initiation of a dialogue between China and Tibet, without preconditions, in the spirit of the middle way approach proposed by the Dalai Lama. The middle way approach would provide for genuine autonomy for Tibet within the framework of China’s constitution and laws.”
Further quoting President Dr Sangay, Senator continued, “As Dr. Lobsang Sangay affirmed during his testimony, China has implemented highly intrusive surveillance systems within Tibet to restrict travel and track the movement of individuals in an effort to curb any form of dissent. For instance, Tibetans in their daily lives are searched and required to present their identification at numerous check points and are often denied a passport for international travel. Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2017 report on Tibet not only outlines the restrictions on freedom but gave the Tibetan Autonomous Region the worst possible rating for both political rights and civil liberties — worse than even Syria.”
Attesting to President Dr Sangay’s recommendation that Canada demands reciprocity in access to Tibet for Canadian government representatives and parliamentarians, Senator said this is precisely what Canada should and must do.
Below is the text of the Motion on Tibet moved in the Canadian Senate on 14 May and introduced on 21 March 2019.
That the Senate urge the Government of Canada to actively support the genuine autonomy of Tibet and, consequently, to also call for the People’s Republic of China to:
(a) renew the Sino-Tibetan dialogue in good faith and based on the Middle Way Approach;
(b) respect the linguistics rights, freedom of movement, thought, conscience and religion of the people in Tibet;
(c) free all Tibetan political prisoners, and cease all arbitrary detention of dissidents; and
(d) grant Canada reciprocal diplomatic access to Tibet without limitations;
That the Senate also urge the Government of Canada to acknowledge the Dalai Lama’s appointment of Gendhun Choekyi Nyima as the official eleventh Panchen Lama; and
That a message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint it with the foregoing.