Thu, May 05, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Pro-Tibetan groups urge MAC to speak on China’s abuses

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff Reporter

Several Tibetan support groups yesterday visited the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), urging it to take a stronger stand on China’s human rights abuses against Tibetans.

Upset that the council has not done anything following the Chinese government’s bloody crackdown on Tibetan demonstrators in Ngaba (Aba, 阿壩), Sichuan Province, and the subsequent lockdown at the Kirti Monastery that began last month, the Tibet support groups met with Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chao Chien-min (趙健民) and urged the council to take a tougher stance on China’s human rights records as Taipei and Beijing develop closer ties.

These groups included Taiwan Friends of Tibet (TFOT), the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress Taiwan (RTYCT), Students for a Free Tibet Taiwan and the Regional Tibetan Women’s Association Taiwan

“As the Dalai Lama, as well as many governments around the world have demanded, China must show more restrain when handling the Kirti Monastery incident to avoid more casualties and to respect freedom of religion and it must stop illegally arresting monks,” TFOT president Chow Mei-li (周美里) said in a statement to the Taipei Times after the meeting.

The meeting was not open to the media.

TFOT vice president Yiong Cong-ziin (楊長鎮) called on the council to stand firmly behind the values of human rights and freedom, and to call on the Chinese authorities to release arrested monks, end the lockdown at the Kirti Monastery and allow international media outlets to visit the monastery.

TFOT also urged the council to ban Chinese officials with notorious human rights records from visiting Taiwan.

“There’s no Chinese embassy in Taiwan, that’s why we came to the council,” RTYCT president Tenzin Chompel said. “You must help us.”

He pointed out that RTYCT members in other parts of the world, notably India, had started an indefinite hunger strike to protest Chinese repression of the peaceful demonstrations in Ngaba.

Since Taiwan and China are developing closer relations and share a common language, “the call that comes out of here maybe more powerful than the calls coming out of other countries,” Tenzin said.

In response to the Tibetan groups’ demands, Chao said the council is also concerned about human rights issues.

“I believe that now the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are having more exchanges, freedom and democracy in Taiwan is actually having an impact in China,” Chao said.

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