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18november2009212The Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) has written to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to express its concern about human rights abuses in His Holiness the Dalai Lama's homeland.

The letter, e-mailed yesterday, urges Mr Harper to engage in a transparent, principled, and constructive engagement with China that places human rights at the centre. Mr Harper is due to visit China's capital Beijing in early December.

CTC have requested that, when Mr Harper meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao, he make strong representations over China's use of the death penalty, the fairness of its judicial process, religious repression and human rights violations against the Tibetan people.

Specific issues highlighted in the letter include:

· The ‘behind-closed-doors' trials of Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak, who were executed on October 20 after being charged with involvement in the March 2008 uprising in Tibetan capital Lhasa.

· The detainment of film-maker Dhondup Wangchen on charges of inciting separatism, following the release of his documentary Leaving Fear Behind, which gave voice to the opinions of Tibetans inside Tibet.

· The denial of religious freedom to Tibetan monks, nuns and lay people, including the Chinese government's interference with Buddhist training and practice, prohibition of displays of worship to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and the extra-judicial punishment of religious ‘offenders'.

· China's long-standing denial of access for Tibetans to Gedun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama.

CTC's letter comes in the wake of their failure to persuade the Canadian Prime Minister to indefinitely postpone his visit to China, after the October 20 executions.

In a statement on October 28, Mr Harper said, "Canada is committed to a strong relationship with China that reflects our mutual respect and the need for practical cooperation."

Edited by Matthew, The Tibet Post International

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com