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Members Statement: Tibetan Delegation

Mr HIBBINS: I recently met with a delegation from the Tibetan parliament-in-exile, accompanied by members of Victoria’s Tibetan community, many of whom live in the Prahran electorate.

I know the situation in Tibet is of deep concern to many people in Victoria and, I am sure, many members of this place. Many members of the Tibetan community are former political prisoners and their families. They left Tibet having resisted the brutal repression and illegal occupation of their country. Some have been imprisoned for up to 24 years.

Members of the delegation reported continued violations of the human rights of the Tibetan people, including the ongoing destruction of the Tibetan environment, restrictions on free movement, freedom of speech and religious observance, surveillance and arbitrary detention as well as the ongoing environmental destruction of the sensitive Tibetan Plateau.

The Premier and his government have made economic ties with a China a priority, including signing up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. However, in doing so the Victorian government must take into account human rights issues in China, including in Tibet and Hong Kong, and the treatment of Muslim Uygurs.

It cannot be just one‑way traffic. There does need to be a human rights dividend to Victoria’s economic relationship with China.

That is why I am calling on the Premier, who I note is in the chamber right now, as part of the China strategy to work towards achieving a meaningful dialogue between the Chinese government, the Dalai Lama, his representatives and the Tibetan people and to assist the Tibetan people in their goal of self‑determination.