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Canadian trade with China must respect human rights in Tibet - new report

April 30, 2019

Ottawa, May 2, 2019 – In a new report released today, the Canada Tibet Committee is calling on the Government of Canada to assess the impact of its trade and investment policy on human rights in Tibet, and to adopt responsive measures that safeguard Tibet’s cultural identity and emphasize local ownership of the regional economy.

Trade and Human Rights in Tibet: Considerations for a human right sensitive trade policy is the result of a year-long collaborative effort involving civil society, the Tibetan community in Canada, and academia. The paper looks at Canada-China trade through a human rights lens, describes how Tibetans are particularly disadvantaged within the Chinese economy, and highlights specific sectors of concern.

We are not against trade with China” said Sherap Therchin, Executive Director of the Canada Tibet Committee. “But we expect Canada to conduct due diligence and to take action to avoid potential negative human rights impacts in Tibet.”

The paper makes a series of recommendations beginning with the adoption of a “Canada-Tibet Policy Act” to ensure that various Government of Canada policies and programs including trade, reflect Canadian values and do not negatively impact human rights in Tibet. The paper also calls for reciprocal diplomatic access to Tibet before any negotiation of sectoral trade agreements with China [1] and it reiterates the civil society demand for a full human rights impact assessment of any future trade agreement with China. [2]

Release of the paper is accompanied by an online compilation of project resources including workshop reports, survey results, and illustrative impact indicators. [3]

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[1] See Minister Chrystia Freeland response to Order Paper Question Q-1858, June 13, 2018: “The Government of Canada has made multiple and continued requests to the Government of the PRC for the permissions required to visit Tibet. These requests have been for visits to Tibet by diplomatic personnel and by the Ambassador of Canada to China. Since 2016, no visit request has been approved.”


[2] See open letter to PM Justin Trudeau from the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China, November 2017 posted at


[3] The online compilation of project resources is found at

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