by Keith Locke
The Tibetan flags being waved on Parliament’s lawn may have alerted passers by to the presence inside of high level Chinese delegation. The delegation was visiting to “update” MPs on ‘economic and social developments in Tibet.”
I was happy to attend the official luncheon and be ‘updated’ by Mr Quingba Puncog, a Tibetan who is the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Autonomous Regional Peaople’s Congress of Tibet.
He was an affable man with a postive presentation. When Rick Barker MP mentioned that we had just moved to simultaneous Maori to English translation in the NZ Parliament, Mr Quingba explained that this already occurred in the Tibetan People’s Congress. He was less optimistic about the outcome of recent talks in Beijing between the Chinese government and representatives of the Dalai Lama.
At least Mr Quingba didn’t attack the Dalai Lama as a separatist, but he did claim that the autonomous Tibetan region proposed by the Dalai Lama was too large – a quarter of the territory of China. I asked him about the two young Panchen Lamas. They are Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, selected by the Dalai Lama in 1995, and the Chinese government’s substitute, selected shortly after. For 14 years the original selection, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, has been kept out of sight by the Chinese government, but Mr Quingba assured us he is doing well and enjoying college. Which begs the question that if he is doing so well, why is he still being hidden?
Mr Quingba didn’t consider the snow lion Tibetan flags which he had seen on his arrival at Parliament to be appropriate for Tibet. He claimed they were ‘military flags’, dating from the 1940s. He is entitled to his opinion, but plenty of Tibetans think otherwise, and I was proud to pose next to a snow lion flag on my way into the Parliamentary reception.
For a different view on the situation in Tibet see - http://www.hrw.org/node/89085