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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Tibetans before trade: Harper must convey Canada's deep concern over escalating violence

January 26, 2012

CTC calls on Canadians to contact Chinese ambassador

(Montreal, 26 January 2012) – The Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) is calling on the Canadian government to immediately demand that the Chinese government cease its increasingly violent crackdown on Tibetan protesters which has resulted in at least four deaths this week alone and countless injuries.

Reports from inside Tibet indicate that at least four Tibetans have been killed since Monday after Chinese police opened fire on Tibetan protesters.

At least one Tibetan was killed on Tuesday when police fired on protesters in Serthar (Chinese: Seda) in Kardze.

This followed the Chinese New Year's deaths of three Tibetans after police opened fire on Tibetans who had gathered to protest in Drango, Kardze (the Tibetan area of Kham). Several others were injured in the police shooting.

The escalating crackdown in Drango follows the circulation of leaflets in the area saying that Tibetans should not celebrate the New Year in 2012 because of the self-immolations, and declaring an intention by the unnamed author of the leaflets to set fire to themselves at the time of Tibetan New Year (Losar falls on February 22).

Since February 2009, 17 Tibetans have self-immolated, including 15 men and two women. Twelve of the 17 died following their protest. Ten of the 17 were monks or former monks at the Kirti monastery in Ngaba and one was a nun from Mame Dechen Chokorling nunnery in Ngaba.

In addition to calling upon the Chinese government to cease its violent crackdown, the CTC is also calling upon the Prime Minister to make the plight of Tibetans a priority issue when he meets with President Hu Jintao is a little over two weeks.

As the first western leader to visit China since the crackdown began, Harper has a unique opportunity to convey not only Canada's abhorrence at the escalating violence but also the shared revulsion of western governments. The CTC wrote the Prime Minister on January 16th, 2012 (copy below).

The CTC is also calling on Canadians to act today by contacting China's ambassador to Canada at:

Ambassador: Zhang Junsai
Address: 515 ST. Patrick St, Ottawa, ON KIN 5H3
Tel: 613-789-3434 791-0511
Fax: 613-789-1911 789-1414

The Canada Tibet Committee is an independent, non-governmental organization of Tibetans and non-Tibetans living in Canada, concerned with the continuing human rights violations and lack of democratic freedom in Tibet.

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For more information:

Dermod Travis


January 16th CTC letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

As you will soon be visiting China on your second official visit, the Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) would like to take this opportunity to share our concerns and priorities with you.

In your announcement last Wednesday, you stated: “Our Government is committed to moving our relationship with China forward by focusing on deepening economic ties, including opening new markets, and setting the foundation for long-term growth”. It's unfortunate that a reference to Canada's long-standing concerns with the Government of China's human rights practices was omitted from this announcement. It's our position that human rights and trade are not mutually exclusive.

In 2010, former Ambassador Derek Burney wrote: “We do not have to camouflage our differences (with China). Nor do we have to “go along or kowtow to get along.” That is a juvenile concept that has nothing to do with fundamental foreign policy analysis. A more adult approach to the relationship by both countries would allow for honest disagreements on issues such as human rights.”

We agree. Compromising our values is not the Canadian way.

As your government knows, sixteen Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009. On past official visits, US leaders have made a point of worshipping in Beijing. We urge you to do the same. Tibetan monks who have self-immolated as a desperate act of defiance against religious repression deserve no less. Such an act will also provide an auspicious start to your government's new Office of Religious Freedom.

We also urge you to raise Canada's human rights concerns in a public forum before Chinese citizens while you are in Beijing as President Obama and former Australian Prime Minister Howard have both done.

And it is essential that in your meeting with President Hu Jintao that you make the strongest possible representations to President Hu over China’s lack of fair judicial process, religious repression and continued human rights abuses against the Tibetan people.
The CTC favours a transparent, principled, and constructive relationship with China that encompasses all facets of our relationship and that has human rights at the core. We believe that a free, prosperous China is in Canada’s interests. But more importantly, it’s in the interests of Tibetans and Chinese citizens alike.

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