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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."
<-Back to WTN Archives Meet Dalai Lama, MPs urge Martin (OT)
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Tuesday, January 14, 2004

1. Meet Dalai Lama, MPs urge Martin (OT)

Justice minister one of 126 MPs to sign letter of support

Bob Harvey
The Ottawa Citizen
January 14, 2004

The Canada Tibet Committee says 126 members of Parliament will be pressing
Prime Minister Paul Martin to meet with the Dalai Lama when the exiled
Tibetan leader visits Ottawa in April.

Thubten Samdup, spokesman for the committee, said the Dalai Lama has met the
heads of state of virtually every western nation, but Canadian leaders have
always refused a meeting.

"If Paul Martin really wants to do something noble, he will listen to the
126 members of Parliament," he said.

Mr. Samdup said the main reason the Dalai Lama is coming to Ottawa is to
thank the 126 MPs from all parties, including Justice Minister Irwin Cotler,
and six other cabinet ministers, he says have signed a letter supporting the
Canada Tibet Committee's campaign for the prime minister to serve as an
honest broker between China and the Dalai Lama.

Mr. Samdup said Canada is in an ideal position to broker negotiations
between the Dalai Lama and China, which occupied Tibet in 1949. The Tibetan
leader and 80,000 other Tibetans fled their country in 1959 after a popular
uprising, and have been living in exile ever since.

The demands by today's Tibetans are relatively modest, said Mr. Samdup.

"The Dalai Lama is on record that he is not asking for independence for
Tibet. All he is asking is genuine autonomy for his people, so they can
practise their religion and culture," he said.

"It is the first time in 10 years that the Dalai Lama has been in Ottawa,
and we are hoping we can provide him with a gift from Canada."

Mr. Samdup said, that, as opposition leader, Jean Chretien met with the
Dalai Lama in 1990, but he refused to meet the Tibetan leader in 1993 when
he was prime minister, for fear of endangering trade with China.

"If he had done it, and pulled it off (freedom of culture and religion for
Tibet), he could have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize," said Mr.

"I'm not looking for a photo op with the prime minister. If Mr. Martin
decides not to meet with the Dalai Lama, that is his loss," he said.

The Dalai Lama is 68, and Mr. Samdup said some Tibetans are beginning to
question his moderate approach to China.

"Young Tibetans are now saying the only thing the world understands is
violence and if that happens, the world community will have failed."

While in Ottawa, the Dalai Lama will meet with business and political
leaders and give a public talk on April 23 at a location that is yet to be

As part of his Canadian tour, the Dalai Lama will participate in an academic
conference in Vancouver from April 19-21, fly to Ottawa on the 21st and then
leave April 24 for Toronto where he will conduct 11 days of intense teaching
at the National Trade Centre on one of Buddhism's most important teachings:
Kalachakra for world peace.

Thousands of Buddhists from North America and around the world are expected
to participate.123

Articles in this Issue:
  1. Meet Dalai Lama, MPs urge Martin (OT)
  2. Jigme Phuntsok (TT)
  3. South African Cardinal pledges Catholic support for Tibet

Other articles this month - WTN Index - Mail the WTN-Editors

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