Chairman’s Note March – April 2017

It was great seeing members on 10th March commemorating Tibet Uprising Day at Auckland Domain. Although there was a really heavy downpour, we were able to hold the service in the band rotunda, which kept us all dry. It was a moving tribute to those Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives in the cause of Tibet. Other branches kept Tibet alive by Wellington branch holding a demonstration outside the Chinese embassy to show China that Tibet has not been forgotten, and in Christchurch members met at the Peace Bell in Hagley Park where the 10th March speech by Dr Lobsang Sangay was read out. Thank you all for your support.

It is with great pleasure that I announce that the Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile, Dr Lobsang Sangay, will be making his first visit to New Zealand from 30th April to 5th May. With the help of others, we have been able to arrange 3 public talks, in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington. Details are on the last page of this Newsletter. Thank you to those who have donated funds in response to my appeal by email. Every dollar helps. Any shortfall will be taken care of between Friends of Tibet (NZ) and the Liaison Office of Tibet (NZ).

I had requested that the Foreign Affairs Select Committee members meet with Dr Sangay. Unfortunately the Committee itself declined to do so, perhaps as a consequence of our Free Trade Agreement with China? However, I am glad to inform you that Green MP Gareth Hughes has kindly offered to host an afternoon tea for Dr Sangay in Parliament. A room has been booked, and he has invited all MPs to attend. I will follow the invitation up to Select Committee members asking them to attend. Our Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has always responded to any letters that I write to him, by saying that New Zealand always brings up the subject of human rights with China. It will be a good opportunity for the Committee to hear from the Tibetan side by meeting with Dr Sangay.

It is with great sadness in my heart to inform members that there has been another self-immolation in Tibet. I have written to Mr McCully about this tragedy, but have yet to receive a reply.

I look forward to seeing you all during Dr Lobsang Sangay’s visit at the public talk in your area.

Best wishes and Tashi Delek

Thuten Kesang,
National Chairman.