Cablegate: Canada Cares About Tibet, Too
PP RUEHCN RUEHGA RUEHGH RUEHHA RUEHQU RUEHVC
DE RUEHOT #0407 0801956
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201956Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7544
INFO RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0416
UNCLAS OTTAWA 000407
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM CH CA
SUBJECT: CANADA CARES ABOUT TIBET, TOO
1. (U) Several hundred protesters -- apparently including
large numbers of ethnic Tibetans -- staged a peaceful protest
march on March 20 from Parliament Hill to the Chinese
Embassy, passing en route in front of the U.S. Embassy. They
variously chanted "China out" or "Free Tibet," among other
slogans, and carried numerous Tibetan flags and placards
denouncing China's actions in Tibet, calling for respect of
Tibetan human rights, or expressing outrage over the upcoming
Beijing Olympics. A spokesman told reporters that many of
the protesters had come from Toronto, which he described as
having the largest Tibetan diaspora population in the world,
2. (U) Prime Minister Stephen Harper separately issued a
statement of concern on March 20:
Canada shares the concerns about what is happening in Tibet.
As His Holiness the Dalai Lama told me when I met him and as
he has been saying recently, his message is one of
non-violence and reconciliation and I join him in that call.
Canada calls upon China to fully respect human rights and
peaceful protest. Canada also calls on China to show
restraint in dealing with this situation.
3. (U) On March 13, Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier had
publicly expressed the government's concern over allegations
of human rights abuses in Tibet on the floor of the House of
Commons, and on March 16 issued the following statement on
The Government of Canada is alarmed at the deteriorating
situation, including increasing reports of violence. We have
expressed concern to the Chinese ambassador and through our
embassy in Beijing to the Chinese government.
We urge restraint. I have called on the Government of China
to respect the right of Tibetans to protest peacefully and to
take steps to improve the human rights situation in Tibet.
Canada is working to obtain further information, through its
embassy in Beijing, on the current situation in Lhasa and the
status of Canadians in the affected area.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has issued an
official travel warning for Canadians to avoid all
non-essential travel to the region.
4. (U) Prime Minister Harper met with the Dalai Lama in
Ottawa on October 29, 2007, drawing the ire of the Chinese
Embassy here. Chinese government officials subsequently
declined to meet in Beijing with visiting Canadian Deputy
Foreign Minister Len Edwards. The Prime Minister's annual
holiday card also included a photo of him with the Dalai Lama
(as well as photos with other dignitaries), again provoking a
controversy with the Chinese.
5. (U) Canada's Parliament granted honorary citizenship to
the Dalai Lama in June 2006, at the request of the Harper
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