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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Canadian Foreign Minister requests permission from China to visit Tibet's Panchen Lama

January 30, 2018

Ottawa, January 30, 2018 – Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a written statement issued Monday that Canada has requested permission from Chinese authorities to visit Tibet’s Panchen Lama, Gendhun Choekyi Nyima, in order to ascertain his well-being.  According to the Minister's statement, the request was made on November 28, 2017.  Freeland's statement came in response to a petition submitted to the House of Commons by MP Randall Garrison.[1]

The statement also provides details about Canada's intervention on behalf of imprisoned Tibetans, Shokjang (Druklo) and Tashi Wangchuk, who were jailed by Chinese authorities following their efforts to promote Tibetan culture and language.

"We welcome this important support from the Government of Canada" said Sherap Therchin, Executive Director of the Canada Tibet Committee. "We call upon Chinese authorities to release all Tibetan prisoners of conscience jailed for the non-violent expression of opinion or the practice of their religion."

In her statement, Freeland also reaffirmed Canada's long-standing commitment to the Panchen Lama who was taken by authorities in 1995 when he was only 6 years old. [2]  Neither the boy nor his family have been seen since they were detained. [2]

In November 2017, Senator Denis Patterson led an inquiry in the Canadian Senate requesting stronger Canadian support for Tibetan prisoners of conscience including the Panchen Lama, Shokjang, and Tashi Wangchuk. [4]  

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[1] Minister Freeland's statement is found here: http://www.ourcommons.ca/Content/ePetitions/Responses/421/e-1162/421-01868_GAC_E.pdf 

[2] See for example, http://tibet.ca/en/library/wtn/13837

[3] For background information about the Panchen Lama see, http://tibet.ca/_media/PDF/en/Backgrounder_Panchen_Lama_eng.pdf

[4] The Senate Inquiry transcript is available at https://sencanada.ca/en/content/sen/chamber/421/debates/161db_2017-11-23-e#75

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