(TibetanReview.net, Sep26, 2018) – Canada had made multiple requests since 2016 for diplomatic visits to Tibet but none was approved while having welcomed at least three official delegations from the Tibet Autonomous Region during the same period, according to a statement from Montreal-based Canada Tibet Committee Sep 24. During visits to Canada, Chinese delegations keep claiming of being welcoming of visits from Canada while criticizing those who speak about the human rights situation in Tibet, saying they had never visited it and were therefore ineligible to talk about it.
Responding to a written question submitted in June by Member of Parliament Randall Garrison, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Christina Alexandra has told parliament on Sep 17 that since 2016 both Canadian diplomatic personnel and Ambassador John McCallum had made multiple requests for the various permits required for anyone wishing to visit Tibet. However, none were approved.
She has said that in the same period, Canada had welcomed at least three official delegations from the Tibet Autonomous Region, including an unprecedented invitation to testify before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (SCFAID) on May 8, 2018.
During the May 8 visit, Mr Baimawangdui, head of the delegation and deputy of the People’s Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region, claimed that “the China-Canada is maintaining a good momentum of development with close contact between the higher levels”. But this clearly did not appear to have been the case.
The statement quoted Sherap Therchin, Executive Director of the Canada Tibet Committee as saying, “Reciprocity is a fundamental principal of diplomatic practice. Continued denial of reciprocal access to Tibet begs the question – what is China hiding?”
This year has been designated as the Canada-China Year of Tourism and is described on the government of Canada website as an opportunity to further “people-to-people exchange and bilateral cooperation”. It remains to be seen whether this opportunity for exchange and bilateral cooperation includes any diplomatic visit to Tibet.