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'Unanimous approval' at Chinese forum on Tibet rejected PDF Print E-mail
[18 August 2014] A forum in Lhasa, organised by the Chinese government and attended by international delegates including Lord Davidson of the UK's Labour Party, ended with a declaration that Tibet enjoys "social harmony" and Tibetans "enjoy a happy life". However, China's claim of unanimous approval for the final declaration has been rejected by a New Zealand politician in attendance.

Forum in LhasaThe Fourth Forum on the Development of Tibet was held in Lhasa on 12-13 August. It was organised by the State Council Information Office of China and the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region and included 100 delegates from 31 countries.

At the end of the forum the 'Lhasa Consensus' was published, which was said to be unanimously accepted by all delegates. The document was essentially a summary of the propaganda regularly disseminated by the Chinese authorities in their attempt to disguise the reality of tensions and unrest in Tibet as Tibetans refuse to accept China's oppressive policies.

The 'Lhasa Consensus' stated that, "Tibet enjoys sound economic growth, social harmony, deep-rooted Tibetan culture and beautiful natural scenery, and the people enjoy a happy life. It also noted that "Tibetan people enjoy religious freedom", that Tibet's environment is mostly "in a natural state", and praised the efforts of the Chinese government to preserve Tibetan culture.

In addition, the statement criticised the Dalai Lama and western media, saying, "Participants unanimously agree that what they have actually seen in Tibet differs radically from what the 14th Dalai and the Dalai clique have said. The Dalai clique's statements on Tibet are distorted and incorrect. Many Western media reports are biased and have led to much misunderstanding."

Sir Bob ParkerHowever, a participant of the Forum, New Zealand politician Sir Bob Parker (pictured right), has rejected China's claim of unanimity on the 'Lhasa Consensus'. In an interview with the BBC, he said, "I'm aware that the statement was made but I certainly haven't signed up to it. I think a number of people who were there were a little surprised to hear about that statement."

Also amongst the international participants was Lord Davidson, who sits on Labour's front bench in the House of Lords. Lord Davidson was quoted by Chinese state media complementing China on its development of Tibet, and saying "people live happily" in Tibet. However, it is not clear whether Lord Davidson's comments have been taken out of context. Since the forum, he has not been available for comment.

The Independent, reporting on the Lhasa Forum and Lord Davidson's controversial remarks, stated that, "The idyllic picture of Tibet painted by the Lhasa Consensus is rather different from reality, where the violent repression of protests at Chinese rule is common." No doubt this is the kind of "biased" reporting to which the Chinese government was referring.

Further reading:
Tibet Society: Lord Davidson tells Chinese media 'people live happily' in Tibet
BBC: New Zealand politician rejects pro-China Tibet document
Independent: Lord Davidson in hot water over Tibet comments made in China
Xinhua: Full text of 'Lhasa Consensus'

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