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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."

Canada Tibet Committee commends Canadian response

March 13, 2008

News Release
For Immediate Release
Canada Tibet Committee commends Canadian response
Denounces Beijing siege of Tibetan monasteries
(Montreal, Thursday, 13 March 2008) – The Canada Tibet Committee commends the response of Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Maxime Bernier to a question in the House of Commons today on the escalating repression against courageous demonstrations by Buddhist monks this week in Tibet.
According to Mr. Bernier, the Government of Canada finds the reaction of Chinese authorities to the demonstrations as “very troubling” and that the government has “serious concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet.” Mr. Bernier urges the Government of China to “respect the rights of Tibetans.”
“What is happening today in Tibet is both a human and political tragedy,” said Dermod Travis, Executive Director of the Canada Tibet Committee. “It is a human tragedy when it was reported earlier today that two Buddhist monks on the outskirts of Lhasa are in critical condition after slitting their wrists amid mounting crackdowns, and it’s a political tragedy because once again the Government of China has ‘thumbed its nose’ at world opinion and its own international commitments.”
Minister Bernier’s comments follow on yesterday’s statement from U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi who stated in part “The violent response by Chinese police forces to peaceful protesters in Tibet is disgraceful. It must be met with strong condemnation by the United States government and the international community. The Chinese government should immediately provide information on the welfare and whereabouts of the detained Buddhist monks and facilitate access by international human rights monitors and journalists to Tibetan areas.” 
Recent news reports from Tibet indicate that Chinese authorities are intensifying their crackdown. The Times in London is reporting that “Beijing laid siege to at least three monasteries in Tibet today, leaving monks trapped with dwindling food supplies, as the biggest anti-Chinese demonstrations in nearly two decades intensified. Monks at Ganden monastery, located on a hilltop near the regional capital Lhasa, were reported to have started a hunger strike to protest against the deployment of armed paramilitary police, who continued to surround them today after being sent in to restore order yesterday. “
Radio Free Asia is reporting that “Two Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung monastery on the outskirts of Lhasa are in critical condition after slitting their wrists amid mounting anti-Chinese protests in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.Monks at another major Lhasa monastery have meanwhile launched a hunger strike aimed at pressuring the Chinese authorities as protests against China's heavy-handed presence in the region spread to other Tibetan Buddhist convents and monasteries, according to sources who declined to be identified.”
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For more information:
Dermod Travis
Executive Director
Canada Tibet Committee

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