On 23 November 2017, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the President of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, gave a briefing and held a discussion with MPs at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. The meeting was hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet (APPGT) and chaired by Tim Loughton MP (Co-Chair of the APPGT).
During the meeting, Dr Sangay covered a range of topics, including the Central Tibetan Administration’s five-fifty strategy. This programme calls for resolving the Tibet issue within the next five years while ensuring that if Tibet needs to sustain the fight for independence for 50 years longer, they are also in a position to do so.
Dr Sangay commended the Indian Government’s refusal to accept a “One-China” policy in their relations with China, which he stressed should serve as a model for other countries. In light of post-Brexit trade arrangements, Dr Sangay also emphasised the need to ensure that trade deals between the UK and China stipulate the primacy of human rights.
During the following discussion MPs raised a number of questions, including the exploitation of Tibet’s natural resources and China’s development of the region. MPs also reiterated that human rights principles must underpin any future trade deals between the UK and China.
The APPGT plays a crucial role in examining and scrutinising the UK Government’s position towards Tibet and ensuring that the human rights of Tibetans are both respected and upheld. Tibet Society is encouraging all members and supporters to send a letter to their local MP, urging them to join the group.
The Chinese authorities have stepped up their efforts to stifle discussions about Tibet at the governmental level. Swedish parliamentarians recently reported that they received threatening telephone calls from the Chinese authorities ahead of their meeting with Dr Sangay, who was visiting Sweden between 13-16 November 2017. Such intimidation tactics must be resisted at all levels and ensuring a greater participation of MPs in the APPGT is an essential way to combat such efforts.