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

Axworthy Confused About Human Rights

April 14, 1999

Montreal: By apologizing for the Tibetan "flag flap" to Chinese officials, Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy has shown us once again that the rights of Canadians come second to the sensibilities of foreign dictators. In 1997, RCMP officers forced the removal of a Tibetan flag at the University of British Columbia during the APEC Leaders' Meeting.

According to media reports today, Axworthy apologized to Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji for the city of St. John's decision to fly the Tibetan flag on its City Hall, adding that there are better ways to promote human rights than flag flying

"That's a strange comment from a government that has spent millions of dollars promoting the maple leaf", said Thubten Samdup, President of the Canada Tibet Committee. "Canadians enjoy civil and political rights and those include the right to non-violent protest, such as flag flying".

Samdup noted that Canadians are often told that increased trade with China will lead to an improvement in human rights in that country. But instead it appears that Canada is lowering its human rights standards to ensure that trade is not threatened.

"I have nothing but admiration for St. John's Mayor Andy Wells. He took a stand for truth and justice and he defended his position proudly and openly. That's something we don't often see in today's world."

For more information, contact: Thubten Samdup (514) 867-6770

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