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Tibet Parliamentary Group: Testimonies on the oppression of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet

Berne, September 19, 2022:

The Tibet Parliamentary Group today heard testimonies about culture-based violence and oppression in Tibet under the PRC government, as well as the oppression of Tibetans in the diaspora.

Fanny Iona Morel, author of Whispers from the Land of Snows: Culture-based Violence in Tibet, and Thinlay Chukki, representative of the Tibet Bureau Geneva, reported extensively on the ongoing oppression of Tibetans in Tibet, as well as on the cross-border repression of the PRC against Tibetan exiles.

The Co-Presidents of the Tibet Parliamentary Group, Nicolas Walder and Nik Gugger, and the members Prisca Birrer-Heimo, Laurence Fehlmann Rielle, Claudia Friedl and Martina Munz were present at the meeting, as were the President and Vice-President of the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Society GSTF, Thomas Büchli and Lhawang Ngorkhangsar.

Ms. Morel, who has also visited Tibet, said, "I would also like to share a personal experience I had in Lhasa. Tibetans are not the only ones under surveillance. Personally, I have been followed on several occasions by police officers who have been very attentive to my movements without being discreet. I was also very concerned about intimidation by the Chinese and military police forces. In Lhasa, the Jokhang Temple and its Kora are a good example of such intimidation. In addition to the countless surveillance cameras on the closed and secured streets, the police and military presence is overwhelming. Armed soldiers in riot gear are posted throughout the neighborhood, in the streets and on rooftops, and regularly patrol the pilgrims. Fire extinguishers and the metal air-termination rods."

During her testimony, she further noted that "what should be considered genocide in Tibet, as declared by the Legal Committee investigating the Tibetan issue in 1960, is continuing with dramatic consequences for the security of Tibetans and their hopes for peace from dwindling day by day."

Regarding the issue of the PRC government's persecution of Tibetan religion and culture, she stated: "By claiming that the reincarnation of the Tibetan spiritual leader is an internal Chinese matter, the CCP once again ignores the fact that the Dalai Lama is an outstanding spiritual leader is a personality that is internationally recognized and inspires people around the world, far beyond the borders of Tibet and the Tibetan diaspora. His succession is central to Tibetan Buddhism, which is practiced in many countries. If the CCP goes ahead and imposes a 15th Dalai Lama on Tibetans based on its own laws, rules and interests, it will only exacerbate the conflict in Tibet and put Tibetans further in danger."

In support of Ms. Morel's statement, MP Thinlay shared the latest Kashag briefing paper on the current situation in Tibet, noting that Tibetans continue to suffer from Chinese repressive policies. "The report of the Special Rapporteur on Slavery clearly draws a parallel between East Turkestan (CHN: Xinjiang) and Tibet, noting that forced labor camps similar to those in Xinjiang are being set up in Tibet and that there is sufficient evidence to allow independent investigations into crimes against humanity support financially. It is therefore time for the international community, including the Swiss Parliament, to join the UN experts' calls for an independent investigation into the human rights situation in China, particularly in Tibet, East Turkestan and Hong Kong."

Members of Parliament expressed their grave concern about the situation in Tibet and noted that they were closely monitoring the situation. They pledged their continued support and solidarity for Tibet and Tibetans.

Members of the Tibet Parliamentary Group, Thinlay Chukki, Thomas Büchli and Fanny Morel

Read here the original report of the Tibet Bureau Geneva in English.

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