One hundred and six Canadian Members of Parliament, out of a total of 300, have signed a petition to Prime Minister Jean Chretien urging Canada to use its “special relationship with China” to facilitate negotiations on the issue of Tibet between representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Government. The petition campaign was launched by the Canada Tibet Committee.
The petition says, “…we are asking you to convene face-to-face negotiations between representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Government of China. Although several world leaders have voiced their support for these negotiations, none has taken the steps necessary to ensure that they actually take place.”
The petition continues, “…with our special relationship with China, we are in a unique position to step forward and make a difference.”
“We must use our friendship with the Chinese and the Tibetan peoples to convene the negotiating process between them,” it adds.
Among the signatories are MPs from all major political parties, including Canadian Alliance, Bloc Quebecois, New Democratic Party, Progressive Conservative Party, Liberal Party as well as three independents.
In his introduction to the initiative, Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) National President Thubten Samdup said, “We have reached a critical crossroad in Tibet’s history. The message of peace and reconciliation that has characterised the Dalai Lama’s actions for more than fifty (50) years is one that merits unwavering support from the Canadian people and their government.”
“Since 2000, CTC members have been approaching individual Members of Parliament, requesting that they sign a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to actively encourage negotiations without preconditions,” Samdup added.
CTC is urging Canadian citizens to “phone or meet with your MP to encourage her/him to sign the Campaign letter to the Prime Minister.”
Information on the petition and how you can help is available at CTC’s website. The Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit Canada in April 2004 and the organizers of the campaign hope to continue urging additional MPs to sign the petition.
Following is the text of the petition:
The Right Hon. Jean Chretien, PC, MP,
Room 309-S, Centre Block
House of Commons
Dear Prime Minister,
We are profoundly concerned about the current situation in Tibet. Therefore, we are asking you convene face-to-face negotiations between representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Government of China. Although several world leaders have voiced their support for these negotiations, none has taken the steps necessary to ensure that they actually take place.
The Dalai Lama is committed to a peaceful solution to the conflict in Tibet. It was his stature as a political statesman and tireless advocate for non-violence that inspired the Nobel Committee to award him their Peace Prize in 1989. It is these same qualities, which have won him, and his cause, the respect and admiration of people around the world. Despite repeated overtures from the Dalai Lama, Beijing has so far refused to enter into a dialogue with his representatives. The future of the Tibetan people and their culture, therefore, remains in peril.
Tibet provides an opportunity to highlight Canada’s international reputation as peacemaker and defender of human rights. Moreover, with our special relationship with China, we are in a unique position to step forward and make a difference. We must use our friendship with the Chinese and the Tibetan peoples to convene the negotiating process between them.
As time is running out for the Tibetan people, we urge you to act now.