By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMHALA, September 21: The Tibet Bureau in Geneva testified Monday before Swiss parliamentarians. The hearing entitled “Coherent implementation of the Switzerland China strategy: role of Parliament in strengthening human rights” was organized by the parliamentary group on human rights with the parliamentary group for Tibet and other support groups.
Two key speakers were Kalden Tsomo from the Tibet office in Geneva and Representative Chimey Rigzen, and Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association chairman Thomas Buchli, the CTA website reported. Tibet.net. The group urged lawmakers to call on China to respect the right to identify its own religious leaders without any state interference. Parliamentarians have been urged to closely monitor China’s transnational censorship and influence operations in Switzerland, including the Swiss-Tibetan community as it has been exposed to espionage in the past.
The issue of switching from Tibetan to Mandarin in schools in Tibet was also one of the group’s concerns. “While expressing concern over China’s strengthening in its strict restrictions on the Tibetan language, the Tibetan language has been replaced by Mandarin as the language of instruction in schools in Tibet,” said representative Kalden. She further urged the Swiss government to examine the human rights situation in China and areas under Chinese control and to present a motion on reciprocal access to Tibet, following in the footsteps of other Western countries.
Calls to the UN also included China’s repeated destruction of the fragile environment of the Tibetan Plateau in the name of development. “The fundamental values and the credibility of the Council are at stake,” he urged the United Nations Council to carry out a more in-depth assessment of the environmental impact in Tibet.
Switzerland presented its first strategy for China from 2021 to 2024 earlier this year. In June, the Swiss Confederation presented new guidelines for the engagement of human rights diplomacy, which aim to strengthen its commitment to human rights around the world.