On December 1, China Daily, a Chinese government-aligned mouthpiece, reported that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei criticised our Supreme Court of Appeals' ruling that declared that our government acted unlawfully in failing to give the Dalai Lama an entry visa last year.
If correctly reported, this statement proves how little the Chinese government understands or appreciates constitutionalism, democracy and national sovereignty. It is unheard of that a foreign government would criticise a judicial decision of another government. Our own government respects the independence of our judiciary and must demand that any foreign government does the same. If the report is correct, we call on our Minister of Foreign Affairs to lodge a formal complaint with the Chinese government for this action of aggression on our constitution and our sovereignty.
The article continues by quoting Yang Lihua, a researcher on African studies at the government-backed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, stating that "the core of the problem is that some civil organizations and people in South Africa have not known enough about the unprecedented development that has taken place in Tibet . If they had been to Tibet, I believe their stance toward the Dalai Lama would have totally changed".
Many members of parliaments from all over the democratic world and I have repeatedly demanded from the Chinese government the opportunity of visiting Tibet for a fact-finding mission and to move around Tibet with the same freedom we move around any democratic country in the world. We want to see and understand for ourselves why about fifty people have burned themselves alive to protest and highlight internationally the human rights violations that are reported to take place there in a systematic way. We want to visit the jails that are reported to host and torture people on account of their race, religion and opinion.
On the strength of the aforesaid reported statement of Yang Lihua, I will be writing to the Chinese Ambassador in South Africa to request that he organizes a trip to Tibet for me and my ten colleagues from the International Parliamentarians' Action Group on Tibet with our staff so as to be able to visit Tibet and move freely in that region. If the Chinese government does not rise to this challenge and does not grant us such opportunity to see for ourselves, people like Yang Lihua and various Chinese government spokesmen and officials would be better served by keeping silent.
Mario GR Oriani-Ambrosini, MP
IFP Spokesman on Tibet
Member of the International Parliamentarians' Action Group on Tibet