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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Canadian MPs visit Tibetan areas of China, discuss trade and cultural exchange

August 28, 2017

Canada Tibet Committee, August 28, 2017 – A delegation of Members of Parliament and Senators, representatives of the Canada-China Legislative Association, have concluded a visit to China that included the Tibetan provinces of Amdo (Ch: Qinghai) and Kham (Ch: Sichuan). 

According to posts on a parliamentary Twitter account, the purpose of the visit was to “discuss trade, governance, and people-to-people links, notably through education, tourism, and cultural exchanges”.

In Qinghai, the delegation also met with representatives of the Qinghai Peoples’ Congress to “enhance relations” and discuss “the benefits of exchanges” with China’s western regions.

Both Qinghai and Sichuan have witnessed a harsh crackdown on human rights during the past year.  A series of demolitions and forced evictions at Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Sichuan’s Serthar County have been widely condemned by the international community.  Last week - even as the Canadian MPs were visiting - authorities announced that the religious centre will be placed under the management of communist party officials.

In May 2017, Jamyang Losel, a monk in his twenties, became the 150th Tibetan to self-immolate in protest of China’s harsh policies in Tibet.  The protest took place in Malho (Ch: Huangnan), Qinghai. Tibetans in Qinghai also stage regular protests related to land seizures and the removal of nomadic communities from their traditional land and livelihoods.

It is unclear if human rights concerns were addressed during the parliamentary delegation’s visit, or if the denial of travel documents to Tibetans figured in talks about tourism and cultural exchange between Canada and China. In a written statement submitted to the Government of Canada trade consultations in May, the Canada Tibet Committee urged negotiators to require the immediate lifting of discriminatory travel restrictions on Tibetans as prerequisite of the Canada-China Free Trade Agreement.

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