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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Keep It Up, China!

June 13, 2008

By Jeff Davis,
Embassy (Ottawa, Canada)
June 11, 2008


Changing their often-antagonistic tone with China over the ongoing
issue of Tibetan independence, 101 parliamentarians from all federal
parties have signed off on a message of encouragement to Chinese
President Hu Jintao.

The letter thanks Mr. Hu for holding ongoing negotiations with envoys
of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The meetings, which
kicked off May 4, are the first such discussions since 2006.

Relations between the Dalai Lama and Chinese authorities, always
rocky, got even worse recently following a spate of violent rioting
in the Tibetan capital Lhasa in March.

"It seems to us an honourable resolution is attainable," the letter
reads. "Your government is seeking assurances that Tibet will be an
integral part of a sovereign China. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has
accepted this as a condition for declaring the Tibetan Plateau a
genuinely autonomous region where Tibetans can speak their language,
practise their religion and cherish their culture.

"We strongly urge that negotiations begin in earnest with a firm
commitment to reach a settlement within a reasonable timeframe," the
letter continues. "What is now required is trust and goodwill from
each side to craft an agreement that achieves both China's objectives
and the Tibetan people's aspirations."

Among those parliamentarians who signed the letter were the usual
suspects: Conservative MP Rob Anders, Liberal MPs Irwin Cotler and
Marlene Jennings, NDP MPs Alexa McDonough and Paul Dewar, and
Conservative Senator Consiglio Di Nino, chair of the Parliamentary
Friends of Tibet.

Notably, no members of the Cabinet attached their names to the missive.

Also on the Chinese front, word on the street is that Lan Lijun,
currently China's ambassador to Indonesia, will arrive to take the
reins at the Ottawa embassy at the end of the month.
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