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[29 November 2011] Foreign Secretary William Hague responded to three questions on Tibet raised in Parliament. The questions related to the recent self-immolations, repression in Tibet and genuine autonomy.

Parliament logoIn response to a question from Nic Dakin MP, one of the five MPs who went on the recent MP exchange programme to Dharamsala, the Foreign Secretary said the British government was "seriously concerned" about the self-immolations and encourages "the resolution of grievances that have led to that situation". William Hague also noted that concerns regarding the self-immolations had been raised with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister and with the Chinese embassy in London.

However, Tibet Society finds it disappointing that the Foreign Secretary failed to take the opportunity to make a strong public statement.

In responses to further questions regarding autonomy for Tibet from Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP and respecting the aspirations of the Tibetan people from Martin Horwood MP, the Foreign Secretary reiterated the British government's position on calling for meaningful dialogue between the representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities.

Click here to read the full text of the parliamentary questions and answers.

Contact your MP and ask him/her to:

call on the British government and the Foreign Secretary to make a strong and robust public statement of concern on China's repressive policies in Tibet which, since March this year, has led to nine monks and two nuns undertaking the desperate act of self-immolation.

attend the parliamentary debate on Tibet on Wednesday 7 December at 4pm and show support for Tibetan freedom and justice.

sign Early Day Motion 2327: Self-immolations in Tibet which condemns China's ongoing repression in Tibet and calls for the Prime Minister to make a public statement of concern.

Click here to read the text of EDM 2327
Click here to find out if your MP has signed the EDM
To find your MP go to www.writetothem.com or findyourmp.parliament.uk.

29 November 2011: House of Commons Hansard Oral Answers to Questions: Foreign & Commonwealth Office: Tibet

Nic Dakin (Scunthorpe) (Lab): What representations he has made to the Chinese Government following recent self-immolations in Tibet.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne), raised our concerns about the increasing number of self-immolations in Tibetan areas with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister in Beijing earlier this month.

Nic Dakin: I advise the House of my entry in the Register of Members Financial Interests.

Recently, I met the Dalai Lama, who made clear his concern that all involved should work for a peaceful solution in line with the middle way. Does he share that approach?

Mr Hague: We are seriously concerned about recent reports that young monks and nuns in Tibetan areas of Szechuan province have immolated themselves. As I said, we have taken that up with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, and with the Chinese embassy in London. We encourage, of course, the resolution of grievances that have led to that situation. We will continue to encourage the Chinese Government to take that constructive approach.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Kensington) (Con):
As the Chinese Government have been able to recognise and respect the autonomy of both Hong Kong and Macau in the Peoples Republic, should they not allow autonomy for Tibet, to ensure that, within the Peoples Republic, its unique culture and identity are properly respected and recognised, and will the Government try to encourage it to do so?

Mr Hague: My right hon. and learned Friend makes a very fair point indeed. As he knows, we recognise Tibet as part of the Peoples Republic of China, but we call for meaningful dialogue between the representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities in the interests of autonomy in future. Of course, we always call for respect for human rights.

Martin Horwood (Cheltenham) (LD): I am sure that the Foreign Secretary welcomed Chinas recent recognition of the aspirations and rightful demands of the Syrian people. Does he think that that is a positive development, as China may be beginning to realise that repression does not deliver genuine stability, and it should have the confidence to recognise the aspirations and rightful demands of the Tibetan people, too?

Mr Hague:
Such language is positive and I continue to believe, as I said in the House yesterday, that the veto of our proposed UN resolution on Syria by Russia and China was a mistake and did not take into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria. On the question of Tibet, we encourage the meaningful dialogue of which I spoke a moment ago.

Click here to read further occasions of when Tibet has been raised in parliament during this current parliamentary session.

Tibet Society, the worlds first Tibet support group, was founded in 1959. Funded by its members, it has been working for over 50 years to seek justice for Tibet through parliamentary lobbying, campaigns and actions. Help keep Tibet alive by joining Tibet Society today. (Annual membership 24; Overseas 36; Life 500).

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