Swedish MP Margareta Elisabeth Cederfelt delivers a speech on the occasion of the 63rd Tibetan Democracy Day in Dharamshala, September 2, 2023. Photo: TPI/Yangchen Dolma

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Dharamshala — Central Tibetan Administration held a celebration to commemorate the 63rd Tibetan Democracy Day in Dharamshala, with presence of the Swedish parliamentary delegation and CTA donors. Swedish MP said, “What China does against Tibet and its people are not acceptable. We, as MPs in other countries, we are obliged to raise this situation. Tibet belongs to its people.”

The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) organised a celebration to commemorate the 63rd Tibetan Democracy Day at the Tsuglakhang (Tibetan Main Temple) in Dharamshala. The chief guest was Margareta Elisabeth Cederfelt, Member of the Swedish Parliament from the Moderate Party, accompanied by the Swedish parliamentary delegation group. Other guests included representatives of international donor organisations to CTA. Top leaders of the Central Tibetan Administration, members of the Tibetan Parliament, Secretaries and Additional Secretaries, as well as Tibetan students and Tibetans attended the celebration in the vicinity of Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India, on September 2, 2023.

The Swedish Parliamentary Delegation consist of honourable MPs Margareta Elisabeth Cederfelt, Johanna Hornberger, Marie Charlotte Nicholson, Maria Viktoriam Stockhaus, Alexandra Anstrell, Ann-Sofie Lifvenhage, John E Weinerhall from the Moderate Party; Hon. MPs Richard Johannes Jomshof and Björn Söder from the Sweden Democrats Party; Hon. MP Gudrun Margareta Brunegard from the Christian Democrats Party; Hon. MP Janine Sofia Alm Ericson from the Green Party and Carl Mattias and Kristina Eva Maria Bjornerstedt of Swedish Tibet Committee. The delegation were accompanied by Representative Sonam Tsering Farsi and Secretary Lobsang Choedon Samten from the Office of Tibet, London,England.

The anniversary began with a ceremonial song marking Tibetan Democracy Day, followed by orations on Tibetan democracy by four students representing the Upper Tibetan Children's Village and the Mewoen Tsuglag Petoen School.

Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, read the statement of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile on the occasion and it stated, "Although we have been refugees over the last more than six decades, the leaders of Tibetan government in exile or the Central Tibetan Administration are being directly elected by the Tibetan people in diaspora, like the major independent and progressive democratic countries. Similarly, the local bodies under the CTA, scattered all over the world also exercise democratic electoral system in appointing their representatives – such as the members of the Local Tibetan Assemblies, a section of the Tibetan Settlement Offices, and members of the Regional Tibetan Freedom Movement."

The speaker continued by saying, "When it comes to talking about the situation in Tibet today, it does not bear mentioning that not only are the Tibetan people living there deprived of their democratic freedoms, they also lack even the most fundamental of human rights recognized and proclaimed by the United Nations Organization. Pursuing a series of hard line policies during the past many decades, the Communist Chinese government has subjected the Tibetan people to all manners of hardship on successive occasions that affected every aspect of their day-to-day living conditions."

"And this was not all. It has even been engaged in implementing a policy to obliterate without a trace the linguistic heritage, religion, culture, traditions and customs, natural environment and so forth which are the defining characteristics of the Tibetan people and their nation. This entailed the indiscriminate arrest or forcible taking away of Tibetan people on false incriminations, their detention and imprisonment, beating and torture, and all others sorts of ill-treatment which continue to be rampant to this day. The government of China is presently engaged in a policy to forcibly assimilate more than a million Tibetan children in boarding schools which have been especially set up for this purpose. This was the reason why recently, on the 22nd of August this year, the Department of State of the United States government announced the imposition of visa sanctions on a section of Chinese leaders involved in this policy. The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile welcomes this action from the United States government. Still, it bears emphasizing that the situation wherein the government of China continues to carry out a policy to Sinicize the Tibetan people, religion, culture, and nation and to trample on the human rights of the Tibetan people in Tibet remain an abiding cause for great anxiety," the Speaker added.

Sikyong Penpa Tsering of CTA read the statement of Kashag (Cabinet) on Tibetan Democracy Day and it stated, “On this occasion, we would like to take this opportunity to convey our deepest gratitude and appreciation to all the supporters for your unwavering support for the just cause of Tibet and its people. We look forward to your continued solidarity and friendship."

Sikyong added by saying, "The Kashag upholds that the rule of law stands as a cornerstone in guaranteeing equality and justice, which are the embodiment of democratic values. For those of us who believe in the democratic principle of ultimate power residing in the hands of the people, a nation’s trajectory of progress depends upon the active participation of its citizens in shaping and implementing the CTA’s fundamental objectives and public policies. Even though we have made remarkable achievements over the years, our aspiration for freedom in Tibet remains unrealized. Hence, the Kashag would like to reiterate our appeal to stand united in the face of challenges."

Chief Guest MP Margareta Elisabeth Cederfelt said on the occasion, "We are here to learn more about Tibet and its people and to show our solidarity and support with the Tibetan people. We could see an increased number of Swedish MPs, who mention Tibet in debates and also write bills in support of Tibet.”

"I would also like to mention what China does against Tibet and its people are not acceptable. We, as MPs in other countries, we are obliged to raise this situation. Tibet belongs to its people, and the Tibetan people should have the right to (maintain) the Tibetan culture, the tradition and the Tibetan lifestyle," MP Margareta Elisabeth Cederfelt said. “Tibetans practice democracy and live in a democracy, although you are in exile, it does not matter, because it is a true democracy for the Tibetan people, people have the right to vote and the right to be elected, both men and women,” the MP said.

“154 Tibetan women and men who sacrificed their lives by self-immolation and they used their last powers to protest against the authoritarian and violent Chinese Communist regime. It was their last act to express the right to be Tibetan and we should always remember them,” stressed the MP.

"It is important for me and my Swedish colleagues to mention today the boarding schools run by the Chinese government, where Tibetan children are placed without their parents' consent, in order to be assimilated into China. The Chinese who have been and continue to be involved in these horrific activities must stop immediately and must be held to account. But the most important thing is that the children are returned to their parents, to their families", the Swedish MP declared.