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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

TRADE MISSION TO CHINA - Miller agrees to speak on human rights, Tibet

April 3, 2008

The Globe and Mail
April 2, 2008

Bowing to calls from activists, Mayor David Miller said yesterday he
will speak up on human rights, and Tibet, on his coming trade mission to

After a meeting with human-rights organizations angry about Chinese's
crackdown on dissidents in Tibet, the mayor told reporters that it is
"reasonable and appropriate" to raise human-rights concerns when he
meets his mayoral counterpart in Chongqing, a major city in a province
that borders Tibet.

Before leaving April 13, Mr. Miller also plans to write to the Chinese
consul-general in Toronto "outlining concerns raised by Torontonians
about the current situation."

Tsering Lama, one of three pro-Tibet activists who met with the mayor,
said his promise to talk specifically about human rights "is a major
victory for us."

Mr. Miller denied a shift in position. "I said from the beginning I
would raise human-rights issues," he said.

But in announcing the trip last month, the mayor emphasized "my mission
is about cementing the relationship between our cities," noting that a
York University professor on the 15-person delegation would lecture on
human rights.

"If there is an opportunity, of course, I'll speak to Canada's
perspective," Mr. Miller said at the time. "But I am the mayor. I'm not
the Prime Minister."

Ms. Lama, national director of Students for Free Tibet, credits the
mayor's stand to behind-the-scenes lobbying by Councillor Gord Perks
(Parkdale-High Park), who represents a west-end community that includes
the largest Tibetan population outside Nepal. She also praised New
Democrats Peggy Nash and Cheri DiNova, respectively the federal and
provincial politicians for Parkdale-High Park, for raising the political
profile of the issue.

Ms. DiNova spoke at a pro-Tibet rally at Nathan Phillips Square yesterday.

Mr. Perks, a first-time councillor and staunch ally of the mayor, was
also there but did not address the protesters.

The usually voluble councillor, a former environmental activist, has
been publicly silent about his views on the mayor's trip. "I'm not
commenting on the mayor's trip to China," he said, but others confirm he
was at the meeting in the mayor's office.

On Monday, Ms. Lama and other activists complained that they had been
unable to speak directly to Mr. Miller to voice their concerns about his
one-week trip, which includes stops in Shanghai and Beijing.

But yesterday, amid calls for him to postpone the trip, Mr. Miller
announced he would meet with the Tibetan activists.
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