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Foreign Affairs Trade, Government Federal

Don’t Trade Away our Human Rights: Communities remind Penny Wong ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to Canberra

Australia Tibet Council 2 mins read

CANBERRA, ACT (20 March 2024) – Tibetan communities across Australia will join for a rally in Australia's capital today in response to Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi's Australian visit.

Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Chinese democracy activists and human rights defenders will send a strong message to China and the Australian Government: Human Rights are Not for Sale.

In February Chinese Authorities shut down peaceful protest by mass arresting over 1,000 Tibetans from Derge county.

The Tibetan protestors, including Buddhist monks, were trying to save their homes and centuries-old monasteries from being destroyed by yet another Chinese Hydro-power dam project.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIMgL38mBHc

“We believe that Australians expect the Foreign Minister to put Human Rights above trade”, said Mr Choezin, President of Australia’s Tibetan community associations.

“When dealing with China, the Australian government has vowed to keep raising human rights concerns "at the highest levels'' - so our expectations are that human rights violations in Tibet will be a part of the discussion on Wednesday,” Mr Choezin said.

“The Australian Government cannot overlook that China is an authoritarian state and cannot ignore its continuing human rights atrocities against Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Chinese activists and detained Australian citizens," said Tsewang Thupten, Spokesperson for the Tibetan Community.

“The relationship must not return to “business as usual” just because China is ready to trade again,” Mr Thupten added. 

"There is no freedom in Tibet and yet the Australian Government is rewarding the Chinese Government with trade deals," said Dr Zoe Bedford, Executive Officer, Australia Tibet Council.

“Today we are asking the Australian Government to put human rights above trade and hold the Chinese leadership to account for its atrocities in Tibet. We believe the Australian Government should be issuing Magnitsky Sanctions."

Background

China’s military occupation of Tibet since 1950 is at a critical stage as nearly one million children, roughly 80 per cent of the children’s population in Tibet, are forcibly removed from their families and culture into a vast network of Chinese colonial boarding schools.

Over the past year, multiple UN human rights experts have found the colonial school system for Tibetan children contrary to international human rights standards.

Tibet has been consistently ranked one of the least places in the world by the independent think tank, Freedom House (Freedom in the World Report, 2024).

Up to 70 per cent of Australians want to see stronger accountability on human rights according to last year’s Essential Media poll.

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ENDS

RALLY DETAILS

Wednesday 20 March 2024
9:00am - 1:00pm
Parliament House lawns, Canberra, ACT


About us:

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


Contact details:

Dr Zoe Bedford
Executive Officer, Australia Tibet Council
0408 262 576
zoe.bedford@atc.org.au

Mr Tsewang Thupten
Spokesperson for the Australian Tibetan Community
0423 932 495 tsewangthupten@gmail.com

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