Australian PM Urged to Raise Tibet Issue in China

April 5, 2013 10:44 am

DHARAMSHALA: A Tibet support group has urged prime minister Julia Gillard to raise the issue of human rights in Tibet when she meets China’s top leadership this week. Ms Gillard will meet with president Xi Jinping on Sunday during her six-day visit to China, Sky News reported.

The Australia Tibet Council (ATC) has written to Ms Gillard and Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who is travelling with her, urging them to raise the issue of Chinese government repression in Tibet, the report said.

Since 2009, 114 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans. The international community has urged the Chinese government to address its policies leading to self-immolations, and open up Tibet to fact-finding delegations and the international media to assess the ground reality. But the Chinese government has responded with greater repressive measures.

‘Unfortunately, instead of seeking to address Tibetan grievances, China’s leaders have continued the repressive ‘stability maintenance’ approach, ramped up anti-Dalai Lama propaganda, criminalised protests and introduced harsh new security measures for the Tibetans,’ ATC executive officer Paul Bourke says in the letter.

‘Failure to offer frank advice on the human rights situation in Tibet, and in China at large, will only ensure the continuity of the decades-long repressive policies, undermining basic human values such as freedom, dignity and justice.’

The Sky News quoted a senior government official as saying that human rights will ‘definitely’ feature in the leaders’ talks.