Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile delivering the inaugural remarks of the 5th session of the 16th Tibetan Parliament on Dharamshala, India, on March 14, 2018. Photo: TPI/Chonyi Sangpo

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Dharamshala, India — The fifth session of the 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, the budget session for the financial year 2017-2018, began on Wednesday.

In his opening remarks, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament, said China should restore human and language rights in Tibet, allow freedom of the press and resume dialogue with Tibetan representatives in earnest.

The Speaker also spoke about the Middle Way Approach and China’s growing disregard for the rights of its ethnic minorities including the Tibetan people, and urged the Chinese government to resume the dialogue process to find a lasting solution to the Tibet issue.

“The Central Tibetan Administration has proposed the mutually-beneficial Middle Way Approach and has presented the proposal in both verbal and written documents to the Chinese representatives. However, the dialogue has been stalled for some time now since 2010,” he said.

“China is now one of the most important players in global politics. Therefore, it should respect the rights of the ethnic minorities in China including the Tibetan people. It should restore human and language rights in Tibet, allow freedom of the press and resume dialogue with Tibetan representatives in earnest,” he added.

He spoke about the profound political changes taking place in the world particularly in China and said that although it’s difficult to say with certainty the impact of these changes, the Tibet issue will continue to stay relevant.

“Since the occupation of Tibet by China, Tibetans have staged numerous peaceful protests against China in the last 60 years prominent among them were the 2008 pan-Tibet uprising and the wave of self-immolation protests that have swept Tibet since 2009,” he said.

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