Statement by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet
10 March 2019
The month of March brings with it a painful memory for Tibetans all around the world, the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising of 1959. We remember this day as one when tens of thousands of Tibetans were killed by the Chinese military and Tibet’s spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, fled into exile in India, where he has since remained.
The Tibetan people have survived for the last 60 years on the hope that His Holiness the Dalai Lama would one day return to his homeland. Yet each day, Tibetans wake up to a nation that is less and less free, and a culture that is increasingly under threat.
Larung Gar, the largest and one of the most significant sites in Tibetan Buddhism, is being demolished on orders from Beijing; the reincarnation of Tibetan Lamas is now subject to approval by the Chinese government; and Tibetans face arrest for merely possessing pictures of the Dalai Lama. The Chinese government has shown that it will stop at nothing in its effort to undermine Tibet’s unique culture and way of life. Even today, as Tibetans inside Tibet and Tibet supporters around the world commemorate the 60th anniversary, China has banned foreign travelers from visiting the Tibetan plateau in an effort to conceal the extent of their crackdown in Tibet.
In recent years, Anti-terrorism and Cyber Security laws have been used to target and silence peaceful, legitimate dissent in Tibet. Tibetan bloggers, academics, human rights activists and many others have been subject to arbitrary detention, torture and long, politically motivated prison sentences. The sentencing of Tibetan language advocate, Tashi Wangchuk, to 5 years in prison for calling for Tibetan language instruction in schools, exemplifies the severity of this repression.
Despite a stifling set of constraints, Tibetans both inside and outside of Tibet continue to courageously resist the indignities of Chinese rule every day. They have surprised the world with their non-violent struggle for justice and their dedication to peace. At least 150 Tibetans, young and old, monks and nuns, have self-immolated since 2009 in a desperate cry to the international community to pay attention. UN experts, who desperately want to assess the human rights situation on the ground, continue to be denied entry into Tibet.
After 60 years in exile, the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan community remain committed to fighting tirelessly for the human rights of the Tibetan people, and we in APPGT share that commitment. It is time that the UK Government and the international community takes urgent action to compel China to respect its international legal obligations and to seek a just solution for the people of Tibet, by calling on the Chinese authorities to engage with the Dalai Lama or his representatives.
Signed on behalf of the co-chairs of the group,
Chris Law MP
Tim Loughton Mp