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Australian Parliamentary Delegation visits Dharamsala – 9-13 March 2024

Australia Tibet Council 2 mins read

DHARAMSALA, INDIA - Sunday 10 March: Australian Parliamentarians travelled to India this week to meet with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in a display of solidarity with Tibetans living in exile.

During the four-day visit to the Dharamsala-based headquarters of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, the four-member delegation will attend the official commemoration function of the 65th Tibetan National Uprising Day.

The delegation comprises Senator Dean Smith, Co-Chair of the Australian All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet and member of the Liberal party, Hon. Michael McCormack MP, former Deputy Prime Minister and member of the National Party, and Senator Deborah O’ Neill and MP David Smith, both members of the Labor party.

Representative Karma Singey of the Canberra-based Tibet Information Office (also known as Office of Tibet) and Executive Officer, Dr. Zoe Beford of the Australia Tibet Council have accompanied the delegation.

10th March 2024 is the 65th anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising of 1959 when tens of thousands of Tibetans took to the streets of Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, rising up against China’s illegal invasion and occupation of their homeland.

“Tens of thousands were killed when Chinese soldiers opened fire but the Tibetans refused to surrender, and many risked their lives to ensure the success of the Dalai Lama’s escape into exile, where he has been a tireless advocate for his people," said Mr Kalsang Tsering, Board Member, Australia Tibet Council.

“Since China illegally invaded Tibet in 1949/1950 the authorities have failed to win Tibetan hearts and minds, weaken the influence of the exiled Dalai Lama, or assimilate Tibet into mainland China,” Mr Tsering said.

The recent mass arrest of over 1,000 Tibetans for peaceful protest last month demonstrates the extreme oppression governing Tibetan lives since Chinese occupation.

Chinese authorities last month arrested over 1,000 Tibetans in a mass arrest that included Buddhist monks and ordinary Tibetans. They were peacefully protesting the destruction of their village and centuries old Buddhist monasteries to build a Hydropower dam project.

Tibetans in Wonpotod (Tibetan: དབོན་པོ་སྟོད, Chinese: Wangbuding) township, Derge (Chinese: Dege) County in Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan have been protesting since 14 February against the planned construction of the 2,240-megawatt Kamtok (Gangtuo) Hydropower station on the Drichu (Jinsha) River, located on the upper reaches of the Yangtze.

“Tibetans over the decades have rejected and continue to actively resist Chinese rule, through protests, non-violent direct action, or by fleeing into exile," said Dr Zoe Bedford, Executive Officer, Australia Tibet Council.

The human rights situation in Tibet has declined dramatically in recent years, in January, China received a dressing down at the UN’s Human Rights Council with the Australian Government expressing concern about reports detailing China’s assimilationist policies, including forced labour transfer programs and the coerced separation of Tibetan children from their families through state-run boarding schools.

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ENDS

 

 

Key Facts:

Australia Tibet Council campaigns for the freedom and human rights of Tibetans.


Contact details:
Dr Zoë Bedford
Executive Officer, Australia Tibet Council
0408 262 576
zoe.bedford@atc.org.au
 
Mr Kalsang Tsering
Board Member, Australia Tibet Council
0447 053 599
Kalsang.Tsering@atc.org.au

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