Rome, 19 November: Yesterday, Matteo Mecacci, the President of the Italian Parliamentary Inter-Group for Tibet, Gianni Vernetti, the Vice-President of the Italian Parliamentary Group for Tibet and the former under secretary of State of the Italian government and Gianni Alemanno, the Mayor of Rome, welcomed His Holiness the Dalai Lama and around 200 parliamentarians from around the world to participate in the 5th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet.
Matteo Macacci said, “I welcome you to the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament on the occasion of the 5th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet. I am doing this because in the past, the Italian Parliament expressed full support for the Tibetan people’s struggle for human rights. Human rights is an inalienable right of all people. As we say in Italy, if constant and consistent, a drop of water can dig a hole in a stone.”
Gianni Vernetti in his address said, “This conference is made possible because there is an extraordinary institution, the Tibetan Parliament in exile. I have been to Dharamsala twice. I saw its functioning. The Tibetan people have chosen the ballot over bullets. Tibetan have been able to achieve this because of India, perhaps the greatest democracy in the world. Because of this, the Tibetans have achieved what they have achieved in exile. This is to inform you that the Italian Parliament has passed several resolutions on Tibet in the last 10 years and supported the Middle-Way Approach of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
In his address, Penpa Tsering, the speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, said, “There are 200 participants from 29 countries, including members of the Italian Parliament. I see that the number of participants has risen. The Chinese government has put pressure on individual members of parliaments around the world to stop them from attending this convention. This is not a meeting of anti-Chinese forces. It is a meeting of peace and how the issue of Tibet could be resolved peacefully. We look forward to an action-oriented conference.”
In response, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “At a time when we are passing through a difficult period, there are many people who show concern and express the willingness to do something. I appreciate the efforts of all people who come here to discuss ways and means to discuss the Tibet problem.
“Yesterday, I visited two autonomous regions in Italy. These autonomous regions have full freedom but yet remain within Italy. The Chinese constitution provides certain freedoms. If these freedoms are fully implemented, then conditions will improve.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama explained and said, “We have two hands. Our right hand is always there to reach out to the Chinese government. Then there is our left hand. There are many people who want to help. To them, we extend our left hand.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “I have nothing to personally ask of the Chinese government. Even the continued existence of the institution of the Dalai Lama must be decided by the Tibetan people. The issue of Tibet is the issue of the six million Tibetans. Whether the Chinese government likes it or not, there is a problem in Tibet. If the CCP reduces censorship, things can be solved. If things become transparent, there will be less problems.”
Later in the day, His Holiness the Dalai Lama at a pace press conference explained his three commitments: promotion of human values, inter-faith harmony and resolving the Tibetan issue. After this short presentation, His Holiness the Dalai Lama fielded questions from the members of the international media.
At the plenary session, there was a recorded message screened fro the participants from Vaclav Havel, the first president of Czechoslavia and later of the Czech Republic.
Richard Gere, the Hollywood actor and an important friend of Tibet and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, read out a message of support from Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US Congress.