Head of Tibet’s government-in-exile meets with Canadian lawmakers

Sikyong Penpa Tsering urges them to boost their support for Tibet.
Reported by Ugen for RFA Tibetan
2023.11.28
Head of Tibet’s government-in-exile meets with Canadian lawmakers Sikyong Penpa Tsering (C) of the Central Tibetan Administration met with Canadian lawmakers James Maloney (3rd from R), Julie Vignola (3rd from L) and John McKay (2nd from R) – and others – during his four-day visit to Ottawa in November.
Central Tibetan Administration

The leader of Tibet’s government-in-exile has met with Canadian lawmakers, government officials and Tibet supporters in Ottawa to urge their continued support for Tibetan causes, including their “freedom struggle,” and raising the issue of China’s human rights violations in the region 

Sikyong Penpa Tsering, executive head of the Central Tibetan Administration, or CTA, headquartered in Dharamsala, India, visited Ottawa on Nov. 20-23, following the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Nov. 17-19, where he spoke to some of the hundreds of delegates from more than 70 countries.

The Halifax International Security Forum is an annual security summit for government and military officials, academic experts, and global industry leaders, journalists and human rights defenders from around the world.

During his meetings with Canadian lawmakers in Ottawa, Tsering urged them to “adopt resolutions and take a principled stand on Tibet in light of systematic repression by the People's Republic of China,” said Namgyal Choedup, the representative of the Office of Tibet in Washington who accompanied Tsering on his visit.

“More specifically, he urged the lawmakers to adopt legislation in concurrence with the U.S. on the issue of Dalai Lama’s succession as enacted in Tibet Policy and Support Act of 2020,” he said. 

The act, signed into law in December 2020, makes it official American policy that Tibetan Buddhists would decide the succession of Tibetan Buddhist leaders, including that of the Dalai Lama, their spiritual leader, without interference from the Chinese government. Those who interfere in the selection process will be subject to sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act, including the denial of entry into the United States. 

Tsering’s visit comes at a time when Chinese authorities are increasing their grip on Tibet with policies that seek to eliminate Tibet’s linguistic, cultural and religious traditions, especially among younger generations of Tibetans. 

Authorities have eliminated the teaching of subjects in the Tibetan language in schools in the Tibetan Autonomous Region as well as in those in Tibetan-populated areas in China’s western provinces. They also have forcibly assimilated more than 1 million Tibetan children into state-run boarding schools. 

In Ottawa, Tsering had back-to-back meetings with 32 lawmakers from different political parties, including four cabinet ministers, the co-chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, and the parliamentary secretaries to the foreign affairs and international development ministers, according to information issued by the CTA.

He also met with Speaker of the House Greg Fargus and held discussions with officials from Canada’s Foreign Ministry on the human rights situation in Tibet, including the forced separation of Tibetan children into boarding schools and concerns about religious freedom.

“In addition to political support for the Tibetan people’s basic fundamental rights, Sikyong discussed support for the Central Tibetan Administration's preservation of Tibetan language, culture and religion in India, Nepal and Bhutan, and the lawmakers have agreed to continue to give their support,” Namgyal Choedup said. 

James Maloney, a Liberal Party caucus member who also serves as parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice and attorney general, called Tsering “the voice of the Tibetans around the world and in Canada” while extending him a cordial welcome to the House of Commons, the lower house of the Canadian Parliament.

Translated by Tenzin Dickyi for RFA Tibetan. Edited by Roseanne Gerin and Malcolm Foster.

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