In a historic moment, Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan filmmaker and political prisoner, was invited to speak at the Canadian Parliament on Monday, March 13th. The event was organized by a cross-party group of Canadian MPs who have been advocating for human rights and freedoms in Tibet.
Wangchen was arrested by Chinese authorities in 2008, shortly after he completed filming the documentary "Leaving Fear Behind," which explores the views of ordinary Tibetans on the Chinese government and its policies. He was charged with "inciting separatism" and sentenced to six years in prison. Despite his release in 2014, he was put under surveillance and continued to face restrictions on his freedom.
During his visit to the Canadian Parliament, Wangchen spoke about his experiences and shared his perspective on the situation in Tibet. He urged the Canadian government and the international community to take action and pressure China to respect human rights and freedoms in Tibet.
"I hope the Canadian government and all Canadian citizens will continue to support the Tibetan cause," Wangchen said. "We need more countries to stand up for human rights and freedoms, and to put pressure on China to respect those rights."
Bhutila Karpoche, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, also spoke about Dhondup Wangchen's visit to the Canadian Parliament. Karpoche, who is of Tibetan descent, expressed her admiration for Wangchen's bravery and his unwavering commitment to the Tibetan cause.
"Dhondup Wangchen's story is one of courage, resilience, and determination in the face of oppression," Karpoche said. "His documentary, 'Leaving Fear Behind,' is a powerful testament to the struggles of the Tibetan people and their aspirations for freedom and human rights."
Karpoche emphasized the importance of speaking out against human rights abuses and supporting individuals like Wangchen who are fighting for their rights and freedoms.
"As Canadians, we have a duty to stand up for human rights and to support those who are speaking out against injustice," Karpoche said. "Dhondup Wangchen's visit to the Canadian Parliament is a reminder that we must continue to raise our voices and advocate for a world where everyone can live free from oppression and fear."
Karpoche also called on the Canadian government to take a stronger stance on human rights in Tibet and to work with the international community to pressure China to respect human rights and freedoms.
"Dhondup Wangchen's visit is an important opportunity to shine a spotlight on the human rights abuses in Tibet and to call for action," Karpoche said. "I urge the Canadian government to take a stronger stance on human rights in Tibet and to work with other countries to push for change."
The event was attended by MPs from various political parties, as well as representatives from human rights organizations and the Tibetan community in Canada. In a statement, MP Garnett Genuis, who helped organize the event, said that "it was an honor to have Dhondup Wangchen speak to Canadian Parliamentarians about the ongoing human rights abuses in Tibet."
The visit by Wangchen was seen as a significant step in raising awareness about the situation in Tibet and advocating for human rights and freedoms in the region. It also highlighted the importance of freedom of expression and the need to protect individuals who speak out against government policies.
As Wangchen concluded his speech, he received a standing ovation from the audience. His message was clear: "We need to work together to achieve justice, democracy, and freedom for Tibet."
Edited and collated by Team TRC