Ottawa, July 26, 2004: The Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) today called upon the Government of Canada to actively promote the commencement of substantive negotiations between representatives of the Dalai Lama and China to a visiting delegation of officials from the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The visit of the delegation takes place just two months after Prime Minister Martin and opposition leaders met with the Dalai Lama in Ottawa and discussed human rights concerns in Tibet.
The visiting delegation includes several Tibetans from Tibet including the Governor of the TAR, Mr. Chamba Phunstok, the region's highest-ranking Tibetan government official. Accompanied by China's Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Mei Ping, the Tibetan delegation is scheduled to give a talk at the National Press Club in Ottawa at noon on Monday, July 26th to "discuss questions concerning Tibetan relig ion and culture today, and 45 years ago". The delegation most recently spoke at a seminar on July 16th organized by the University of British Columbia.
"The visit of the Tibetan delegation to Canada offers Canadian officials a unique opportunity to promote a peaceful solution to the conflict in Tibet" said Thubten Samdup, President of the Canada Tibet Committee. "Prime Minister Martin should seize the moment and build upon the overwhelming support of the Canadian public as well as the good will established during his private meeting with the Dalai Lama in April."
Prior to recent election, a majority of Members of Parliament has endorsed an appeal letter to Prime Minister of Canada to become an honest broker in the Tibet-China negotiation process. The Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, Canada (PFTC) was formally launched during the visit of the Dalai Lama to Ottawa in April and it expects to pursue this campaign as one of its primary activities.
Dialogue between representatives of the Dalai Lama and China had been stalled for almost a decade since 1993, but two recent delegations to China and Tibet have renewed hope that a formalized negotiation process might soon be possible. Several world leaders have urged Chinese authorities to actively engage in a negotiation process with the Dalai Lama and there is growing sentiment within China that the issue should be resolved sooner rather than later.
This delegation is part of China's effort to woo the Canadian public. A leaked Chinese document on a public relations strategy on Tibet says Chinese officials "should launch our propaganda in whatever country he [the Dalai Lama] goes to." It also says relevant Chinese embassies and consulates should aim at the public opinion and "the activities of the Dalai Clique in the countries they are stationed and utilize speeches, picture exhibitions, special articles and other forms to carry out propaganda work, so as to win over officials and people of those countries." For more information about the Canada Tibet Committee, visit www.tibet.ca.
Contact: Thubten Samdup, President, Cell: 514-867-6770