On 10 December 2021, the ACT Tibetan community and Tibet supporters observed International Human rights day in Canberra, Australia by holding a rally to protest the ongoing human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as well as its efforts to intimidate and coerce dissident voices in Australia.
The protest rally began in front of the Chinese embassy in Canberra, where community members raised slogans demanding human rights not only in Tibet but also in East Turkestan, Hong Kong, and China. The rally was addressed by ACT Tibetan Community’s Media Officer Ms Kelsang Dolkar who highlighted how the Tibetan political prisoners in Canberra had suffered in prison under Chinese authorities, and how many more still continue to be oppressed in Tibet. Ms Claudia Ng from the Hong Kong Canberra Concern also joined the rally and talked about the dire situation faced by Hong Kongers under the CCP. The final speaker at the Chinese embassy was Mr Wu Lebao, who was critical in exposing the growing influence of the CCP in Australia, especially in Australian educational institutions. Mr Lebao’s criticism of CCP has led to him being placed on a list, which also includes His Holiness The Dalai Lama, of people whose names are banned from being printed in China, even for overseas publications.
Tibetans and Tibet supporters raised their slogans to end the oppression in Tibet and demanded human rights for Tibetans, and marched towards Garema Place in the city center. At Garema Place, Mr Lhawang Gyalpo, Executive Secretary of the Tibet Information Office (TIO) read out the statement of the Kashag (Cabinet) on International Human Rights Day, on behalf of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
Mr Kalsang Yonten Tipnak, former President of the ACT Tibetan Community and current President of the Australian National Tibetan Community, talked about the efforts made by many communities and support groups over the past year to pass the Magnitsky law in the Australian Parliament. He highlighted the importance of having that bill finally passed in Parliament since it opened an avenue for Australia to sanction CCP officials responsible for human rights abuses in Tibet.
The third speaker Ms Nurgul Sawut, an Uyghur community leader and human rights activist also talked about the efforts of her community to help pass that bill, and how the world was ignoring the forced slave labour of the Uyghurs event at COP26. She further applauded the efforts of the young Tibetans in Europe who had protested at the Beijing Winter Olympics torch ceremony in Greece and made sure why it was wrong for China to host the Games.
Dr. Songfa Liu, representative of the ACT Falung Dafa community and long-time Tibet supporter spoke about the atrocities faced by the Falung Dafa practitioners in China under the Chinese Communist regime. Finally, Ms Kathryn Allan, Regional Director of Amnesty International ACT/NSW, addressed the rally and listed the human rights violations committed by the CCP against the Tibetans and the efforts of Amnesty International to raise awareness about it and to voice these concerns on the global stage.
The rally was concluded by singing the “Words of Truth” prayer composed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a wish for equal human rights and dignity for all human beings.
-Report filed by Kalsang Tsering, President of ACT Tibetan Community
Tibetan cultural dance during Nobel Peace Prize Day celebration.