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

Community Profile


Chronology of Canada and Tibet Relations

• In 1895, Canadian missionary Dr. Susie Rijnhart became the first western woman to enter Tibet. Her attempt to reach Lhasa ended in failure with the death of her husband and infant son. Years later, she died in Tibet.
 
• In 1960, 1961 and 1965, Canada voted for United Nations General Assembly Resolutions 1353, 1723 and 2079, which called for the end of practices that deprive the Tibetan people of their human rights and freedoms.
 
• In 1971 and 1972, over two hundred Tibetan refugees were admitted to Canada from India under a new government program.
 
• In 1980, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Canada for the first time. He was met by the Governor General.
 
• In 1990, five representatives from the Canadian House of Commons and the Senate issued a joint invitation for the Dalai Lama to visit Ottawa in the fall of 1990. These five representatives then formed the Canadian Parliamentary Friends of Tibet (PFT).
 
• On 28 May 1990, Canadian Ambassador to China (Diller) became the first representative of a foreign power to visit Tibet since the imposition of martial law. The visit included the signing of agreements for Canadian assistance to Tibet.
 
• In October 1990, the Dalai Lama visited Ottawa for the first time. Secretary of State for Multiculturalism Gerry Weiner greeted the Dalai Lama on the government’s behalf. During thevisit, His Holiness was invited to speak to the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs and International Trade, at which time his Five Point Peace Plan was tabled.
 
• After the 1990visit, Canada's position on Tibet's political status was amended to: “In 1970 when Canada established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, it recognized the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China. Canada takes no position with regard to specific Chinese territorial claims; it neither challenges nor endorses them.”
 
• On 12 May 1993, the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Human Rights and Development held a hearing on the current situation in Tibet.
 
• In June 1993, the Dalai Lama visited Montreal and Vancouver where he offered Buddhist teachings. He was met by Canada's Minister of External Relations Barbara McDougall.
 
• On 14 June 1995, the Senate of Canada passed a resolution on the situation in Tibet, urging Canada to encourage negotiations between China and representatives of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.
 
• In 1996, Canada de-linked the promotion of human rights from its trade promotion initiatives, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade stating “the recent Canadian government decision is not to tie its economic relationship with China to the question of human rights”.
 
• In 1997, with the establishment of Canada’s Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue with China agreement, the one-China policy was emphasized: "When Canada established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China in 1970, we recognized the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China. Canada does not recognize the Tibetan Government-in-Exile led by the Dalai Lama based in Dharmsala, India."
 
• In November 1999, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) conducted its first official visit to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
 
• In December 1999, CIDA announced its first bilateral development assistance project in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The Tibetan Government-in-Exile was not consulted.
 
• In June 2000,DFAIT Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific Raymond Chan made an official visit to Tibet, the first ever by a Canadian official at the ministerial level.
 
• On 30 January 2001, more than 80 members of Parliament wrote to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien asking that his office intervene with China in an effort to convene negotiations with representatives of the Dalai Lama regarding Tibet.
 
• In September 2002, while the Dalai Lama's Envoys were in Beijing to re-open the stalled Tibet-China dialogue, Prime Minister Chrétien endorsed "China's Tibet Cultural Week,” an event mounted by the Central Government's External Propaganda Department. Promotional materials referred to the Dalai Lama as a man "who engages in terrorist activities" and has "organized armed forces".
 
• In January 2003, the Government of Canada, via its embassy in Beijing, submitted a formal expression of concern to Chinese authorities following the execution of Lobsang Dhondup and death sentence of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.
 
•In 2004, CIDA announced that as part of its China Country Development Programming Framework (2005–2010), poverty reduction would be phased out and future programming would focus exclusively on human rights, democratic development, good governance, and environment issues of critical importance to Canadians. Ethnic minority issues were included as aspects to be specifically considered in programming approaches.

• In March 2004, the Canada Tibet Committee launched a letter writing campaign to the Prime Minister of Canada to be signed by Members in the House of Commons to support an active Canadian role for the Tibet/China negotiations. The majority of MPs (159) sign on.
 
• On 22 April 2004, the Dalai Lama visits Parliament Hill. Prime Minister Paul Martin becomes the first Canadian Prime Minister to meet His Holiness.

• On 12 May 2004, Geshe Lobsang Tempa testified before the Subcommittee of Human Rights and International Trade.

• In May 2004, the Canada Tibet Committee made presentations to the Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Trade of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

• On 26 July 2004, at the National Press Club in Ottawa, Champa Phuntsok, Governor of Tibet Autonomous Region, extended an invitation to PFT Co-chair Hon. David Kilgour for a Canadian Parliamentary Delegation to travel to Tibet with unrestricted access.

• In September 2004, Tibet Representatives and Jared Genser of Freedom Now (Washington, D.C.) made presentations to the Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Trade.

• On 30 November 2004, PFT adopt a constitution.

• On 2 December 2004, adoption of motions in the Senate and at the Subcommittee of Human Rights and International Trade requesting that “Canada uses its friendly relations with China to urge it to enter into meaningful negotiations, without preconditions, with representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to peacefully resolve the issue of Tibet.”

• In December 2004, The Hon. Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of Foreign Affairs, makes a public statement requesting China stop the execution of Tibetan Monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.

• On 10 March 2005, statements were read in the House of Commons and Senate concerning Tibet.

• On 21 April 2005, more than 200 Members of Parliament wore Tibetan scarves (Khatas) in the House of Commons to celebrate the anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 2004 visit to Canada.

• In June 2005, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs passed a motion to request Ministers Pierre Pettigrew and David Emerson and officials of Bombardier to appear at Committee hearings concerning the Tibetan Railway Project.

• In September 2005, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, in a joint Press Conference with President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China, raised the issue of Tibet and specifically encouraged talks between representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and China.
 
In June 2006, the House of Commons and the Senate unanimously passed motions bestowing honourary Canadian citizenship upon the Dalai Lama.
 
In October 2006, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter MacKay, condemned the shooting of unarmed Tibetan refugees attempting to flee Tibet into Nepal by Chinese soldiers.
 
• In September 2006, the Dalai Lama visited Vancouver to host Vancouver Dialogues 2006 – the first in a series of dialogues sponsored by the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education. He is welcomed to the city by Mayor Sam Sullivan, and is given a copy of the motion bestowing him honourary Canadian citizenship by Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Monte Solberg at GM Place. He meets with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Jason Kenney, who delivers greetings from Prime Minister Harper, and has a private audience with several members of the PFT.
 
• In November 2006, the Dalai Lama's Special Envoy, Mr. Lodi Gyari, and the Dalai Lama's representative to the Americas, Mr. Tashi Wangdi, visit Ottawa for meetings with officials and parliamentarians. Gyari and Wangdi testify before the House Subcommittee on International Human Rights.
 
• On November 28 2006, the Canada Tibet Committee makes presentations at the House Subcommittee on International Human Rights.
 
• February 2007, the House of Common’s unanimously passed a motion to “urge the Government of the People's Republic of China and representatives of Tibet's government in exile, notwithstanding their differences on Tibet's historical relationship with China, to continue their dialogue in a forward-looking manner that will lead to pragmatic solutions that respect the Chinese constitutional framework, the territorial integrity of China and fulfill the aspirations of the Tibetan people for a unified and genuinely autonomous Tibet.”
 

 

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