(TibetanReview.net, Dec11, 2017) – A press conference was held on Dec 8 in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius to announce the launch of a Tibet supporting group in the country’s parliament. Mr Chonpel Tsering, representative of the Dalai Lama and of the India-base Tibetan administration in exile for Northern Europe, the Baltic States and Poland called the setting of the group an act of solidarity, reported baltictimes.com Sep 9.
The report cited Andrius Navickas, conservative MP who heads the group meant to show solidarity with Tibet, as saying the main objective was to keep the Tibetan issue on the agenda.
The report said Lithuania’s parliamentarians wanted to set up a group for parliamentary relations with Tibet. However, they did not get the green light from the Seimas leadership for the reason that Vilnius considered Tibet to be part of China. Hence an ad hoc group of supporters was established, as this did not need an official go-ahead from leaders of the parliament.
Mr Chonpel Tsering has said the name was irrelevant while emphasizing the point that what really mattered was the determination and support of the parliamentarians. He has made it clear that Tibet was not seeking to regain its independence from China, but only asking for autonomy that would ensure freedom of culture, religion and speech. The Tibetan envoy has said the situation today was such that even possessing a photograph of the Dalai Lama could land a Tibetan in prison for years.
During the press conference, leaders of the group described the situation in Tibet today as one resembling the Soviet era.
Lithuania’s relation with China suffered a setback in 2013 after its President Dalia Grybauskaite met with the Dalai Lama in Vilnius. Negotiations with China on various issues stalled until Beijing issued a statement in Feb 2015, stating its willingness to develop good ties, the report said.