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pema-chhinjor-australiaBrisbane: - Mr Pema Chhinjor Kalon or minister of the Department of Religion and Culture, who is a visit to Australia from 6 – 13 March, met members of the Tibetan community in Australia.

Mr Pema Chhinjor was received at the Brisbane airport by Mr Ngodup Gyaltsen, secretary at the Office of Tibet, and Mr Tsering Wangchuk, president of the Queensland Tibetan Association, on 6 March.

He began his visit on the same with a visit to Chenresigwang Tibetan Buddhist Institute. Later in the evening, he addressed members of the Tibetan community about the issue of Tibet, particularly the current situation in Tibet, according the Central Tibetan Administration.

The minister also spoke about how Tibetans inside Tibet sacrifice their precious lives for the cause of Tibet.

At-least 107 Tibetans- including monks, nuns, students and lay people - have set themselves on fire in Tibet since 2009 and most of them have reportedly died.

The most common call for the return of the spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the preservation of the Tibetan language, and an end to restrictions on freedom of religion. However, many also called for Tibetan independence.

No formal meeting with the Tibetan minister has yet been confirmed by the Australian government. Mr Chhinjor is currently on one-week trip to the country. His visit came after China had blocked a request of the top Australian diplomat to visit Tibet.

Mr Chhinjor called on Tibetans living in the free world to strengthen their efforts to make the international community aware of the aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet. He strongly urged them to maintain unity and harmony among the community.

The minister also briefed about the efforts made by the Central Tibetan Administration to resolve the issue of Tibet through the Middle-Way policy.

On Thursday, he visited including Dolkar Tibetan Buddhist Institute and plans to visit various other Buddhist learning centres, speak to Tibetan community and address the 54th Tibetan National Uprising Day in Melbourne before he heads to Canberra on 11 March.

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