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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Canada Tibet Committee supports PM’s principled engagement with China

November 16, 2006

Montréal, November 16, 2006 – The Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) welcomes Prime Minister Harper’s statement that Canada will not sell out civil society values when engaging China.

“China’s initial snub of Canada at APEC, and apparent reversal was predictable behavior on the part of Beijing,” according to Luisa Durante of the Canada Tibet Committee. “The Chinese government’s intimidation tactics have caused some governments to knuckle under needlessly in a way that’s compromised their long term diplomacy efforts on issues outside of trade.

“Engaging China on their rights record and on Tibet is not simply a Canadian expectation. It’s one that arises from internationally recognized human rights principles. So far, the Prime Minister has done the right thing in standing firm. We urge him to convey strong Canadian support for a negotiated settlement over the Tibet issue when and if he meets with Hu Jintao. This should be made an integral part of Canada’s foreign relations policy.”

“Those who are concerned about any distancing of relations with Beijing should consider this - it is China’s own conduct, including their illegal occupation of Tibet, that is largely responsible for creating tensions with other members of the international community. Second, advancing a trade agenda to the exclusion of all else will only reinforce China’s expectation that no meaningful criticism will be voiced. That’s not a constructive approach, and would hobble future efforts to veer back to a more balanced policy.”

In the last several years, Parliament has expressed strong support for Tibet across party lines. In 2004, a majority of MPs wrote to the PM in support of a Tibet China negotiations effort, ahead of Paul Martin’s historic meeting with the Dalai Lama. The motion to grant the Dalai Lama honorary citizenship was passed with unanimous consent. Most recently, Minister Mackay strongly condemned the killing of an unarmed Tibetan nun and the detention of children fleeing across the border to Nepal (captured on video).

CTC remains gravely concerned about the situation in Tibet, and of Canadian corporate involvement there. Bombardier, Nortel, and Power Corp were all involved in the Tibet railway which threatens to destroy Tibetan civilization. Meanwhile, the entry of several junior mining companies raises concerns about the ability of local communities to freely consent to and truly benefit from operations. -END-

Luisa Durante Canada Tibet Committee, National Office Phone: (514) 487-0665, (514) 561-9578 E-mail: luisa@tibet.ca website: www.tibet.ca

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CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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