Bratislava, 5 June: - Five Slovakian Parliamentarians including the Chairman of the Slovakian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee welcomed the Tibetan Parliamentary Delegation today at the Slovakian Parliament in Bratislava. Mr. Martin Poliacik, the chairman of the Tibet Group of the Slovakian Parliament organized the meeting.
"I wish to express my solidarity with the Tibetan people," said Mr. František Šebej, the Chairman of the Slovakian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.
Šebej continued on to say that he was happy to fly the Tibetan national flag every year on 10 March. This year, 160 Tibetan flags were hoisted across Slovakia.
The delegation is led by Khenpo Lopon Sonam Tenphel, the Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile based in Dharamsala. The other members of the delegation were Mr. Karma Chophel, Mr. Dawa Phunkyi and Mr. Jamyang Soepa.
"There is no freedom of any sort in Tibet. Tibetans continue to be oppressed due to the wrong policies in Tibet which has resulted in the self-immolation of 130 Tibetans since 2009," said Mr. Karma Choephel on behalf of the delegation.
Mr. Choephel stated that Tibetans in the free world have a moral duty to speak on behalf of fellow Tibetans living in Tibet and seek support for the Tibetan issue on their behalf. In his opinion, the delegations' main objective was to highlight the very urgent situation in Tibet.
To their Slovakian allies, Choephel said,"We seek your support for the Middle Way Approach to resolve the Tibetans issue with China through dialogue. We are not seeking independence or separation from China but want genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people".
He called on the Tibet Group within the Slovakian Parliament to impress the Chinese government to re-start the dialogue with Tibetans.
Mr. Poliacik said on 10 March 2014, the Tibet Group of the Slovakian Parliament requested the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan issue through dialogue.
In the evening, a panel discussion on Tibet was organized at the prestigious Zichyho Palace in the city center. Mr. Choephel and Prof. Martin Slobodnik, a China expert at the Comenius University of Bratislava, were the main speakers.
Responding to a question from the audience about Tibet's relations with China moving into the future, Mr Choephel acknowledged that indeed, there are different opinions within the Tibetan community. But the Tibetan Administration's official policy to resolve the Tibetan issue through dialogue is the Middle Way Approach.
Prof. Martin Slobodnik said that though the situation in Tibet was extremely difficult, yet he saw three opportunities for Tibetans to cultivate positive attitude from the Chinese towards the Tibetans.
He said the existing contacts between the Tibetans and the Chinese intellectuals must be strengthened. Secondly, as more and more Chinese tourists visit Tibet, they will witness the actual situation of the Tibetans in the region, and will perhaps act in solidarity. The third area was to change the stereotype Chinese attitude towards Tibetans amongst the growing number of Chinese Buddhist.
In concluding the panel discussion, Mr. Poliacik asked the audience to tell their family members, friends, and neighbors about the things that they had heard that day, and to write a blog about the Tibetan issue to raise further awareness.
The Tibetan Parliamentary Delegation has visited Belgium, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Tomorrow they will travel Austria and Switzerland.