(TibetanReview.net, Aug17, 2014) –Sir Bob Parker, the former mayor of Christchurch, New Zealand, has said he had “not at all” endorsed what China calls the “Lhasa consensus” brought out at the end of an Aug 12-13 Fourth Forum on the Development of Tibet. He was one of the 40 overseas “representatives” among the 100 or so people who participated in the forum. The so-called consensus paints a glowing picture of the Chinese rule in Tibet while being highly condemnatory of the region’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and his followers who campaign for genuine autonomy for their occupied homeland.
“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,” bbc.com Aug 15 quoted Sir Bob as saying.
He was still in Tibet, being given a tour of the countryside and other sites of interest as a part of China’s free junket for the forum participants. He was reached by bbc.com by phone.
The supposed consensus claims that the 100 or so conference participants “unanimously agree that what they have actually seen in Tibet differs radically from what the 14th Dalai and the Dalai clique have said.”
“Participants notice,” it furthers says, “that Tibet enjoys sound economic growth, social harmony, deep-rooted Tibetan culture and beautiful natural scenery, and the people enjoy a happy life”.
Given the nature of the discussions that took place curing the forum, the participants seemed to have had no inkling that any such highly political “consensus” would be brought out, and that too without their knowledge. “Certainly the conference that I’ve been attending has been focused on sustainable development and there were no real political themes running through it at all,” Sir Bob has said.
Explaining his presence at the Forum, Sir Bob has said, “I came here as a New Zealander with a unique opportunity to get into Tibet and see some of these unique communities with my own eyes. There seems to be a good degree of openness and happiness in the communities that I’ve been to. But I’m not a Tibet expert, I’m not a global politician, I’m just a citizen who had a chance to come to a very special part of the world to see some of these things with my own eyes.”
He has said he will be making his displeasure clear to the Chinese authorities. “I’m not happy to be included in a document that states some very powerful political perspectives. I don’t actually think that’s fair and I don’t think that’s what I signed up to do by coming here and I will be making that point,” he was quoted as saying.