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Russian and Ukrainian Delegation Concludes Dharamsala Visit

December 24, 2008

Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Dharamshala: A delegation consisting of members of Russian Parliament, prime minister of Kalmykia Republic, vice speaker of Kalmykia Parliament and spiritual head of Kalmykia, national and international media from Russia and Ukraine visited Dharamsala from 19 – 22 December.
The officials present in the delegation were Ms Mukabenova Marina, MP, Mr Matkhanov Vladimir, MP, Mr Galchenko Valery, MP, Mr Singleev Vladmir, prime minister of Kalmykia Republic, Mr Elbilov Hongkar, vice speaker of Kalmykia Parliament and Telo Rinpoche, spiritual head of Kalmykia.
During their visit to the Tibetan reception center, the media delegation from Russia and Ukraine met with the director and interviewed some of the newly arrived Tibetan refugees.
The delegations touched issues ranging from the Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet following its crackdown on peaceful protests in Tibet this year, problems faced by Tibetan refugees while crossing the dangerous trek to India and the education of Tibetan refugees.
During the interview, some of the newly arrived refugees narrated the Chinese government’s brutal crackdown on peaceful Tibetan protesters in Tibet since 10 March this year.
A Tibetan, who wished to remain anonymous fearing danger to his family back home in Gonjo county (Chamdo Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region), said he saw an entire Tibetan family killed by Chinese armed personnel during the crackdown.
Concerning restrictions on religious freedom in Tibet, he said those caught for possessing the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama would be sentenced to 4 – 6 years imprisonment.
Another Tibetan, who witnessed and took part in the demonstration in the capital Lhasa, said the peaceful demonstrations by the Tibetan people was a spontaneous and voluntary expression of resentment and dissatisfaction with the Chinese government’s policies on Tibet.
He categorically rejected the Chinese government’s allegations that His Holiness the Dalai Lama instigated the protests.
He said the Chinese security men ruthlessly beat Tibetan detainees while being taken to the detention center. Brutal torture and forced indoctrination in the prison left Tibetan detainees in physically very weak and mentally traumatized, he added.
He said the parents send their children to India for better education and to get blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, both of which are denied in Tibet.
An official from the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy briefed the delegation on the Chinese government’s human rights violations and religious persecution in Tibet and the critical situation following the brutal crackdown on peaceful protests in Tibet in March this year.
The delegation also visited Tibetan educational, cultural and medical institutions in Dharamshala.
They also received an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
They met with the speaker and members of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and were briefed by the secretaries of the Department of Information and International Relations concerning wide-ranging issues on Tibet.
During a dinner reception hosted in honour of the delegations, the speaker of Tibetan Parliament, Mr Penpa Tsering, described their visit as a historic moment for both Russia and Tibet.
He expressed hope that apart from politics, the meeting with the Russian MPs will strengthen relations in the fields of culture and religion.
The speaker emphasised that supporting Tibet is not against China.
Expressing gratitude to Telo Rinpoche for his efforts in organising the visit, he said we pay our respect and hope that you continue to be a bridge between Russia and Tibet.
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