Thursday, March 22, 2007

China Takes Notice of Wisconsin's Tibet Day

By e-mail[Tuesday, March 20, 2007 09:12]
By Abigail Scott

In a time when the efficacy of non-binding resolutions is being debated across the United States, a simple resolution declaring March 10, 2007 Tibet Day in Wisconsin brings response from halfway around the globe.

On Tuesday, March 13, two officials from the Chinese Consulate drove from Chicago to the State Capitol in Madison, WI. They wanted to know who was responsible for the unanimously passed Tibet Day resolution (Assembly Joint Resolution 22). In fact, they had it in their hands. They were directed to the office of the lead sponsor of the resolution, State Representative Joe Parisi (D-Madison).

Chinese officials told Parisi he has the wrong idea about Tibet, that it was liberated and the Tibetans are happy and prospering economically. “They came to show disapproval of my efforts,” Parisi said.

Parisi asked the officials why China will not meet with the Dalai Lama. They told him that China does not like the views of the Dalai Lama and that the Dalai Lama wants all of the Han Chinese to leave the Tibet Autonomous Region, which China considers impossible.

Parisi also asked the Chinese officials where the Panchen Lama is. The Panchen Lama, the lama responsible for selecting the next Dalai Lama, was recognized as a 6-year-old boy in 1995 by the current Dalai Lama. Immediately after he was recognized, the Panchen Lama was kidnapped by the Chinese Government. In 2002, a Chinese official told the BBC that he was placed under house arrest and “very happy.”

At first, the two Chinese officials told Parisi the Panchen Lama is in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Parisi persisted and clarified, telling them that the Panchen Lama the Chinese Government selected was not the one he was referring to. The officials then told Parisi that the Panchen Lama is free and living in India. Finally, Parisi asked them about the Chinese Army’s shooting of Tibetan immigrants at the border of Nepal and Tibet, Nangpa-la Pass. Parisi specifically asked them about the 17 year old Buddhist nun who was shot and killed, Kelsang Namtso. The Chinese officials said they were not aware of the incident.

Parisi also said that the Chinese officials came to “lobby against the passage of the (Tibet Day) resolution, but it had already passed.” Wisconsin has unanimously passed a Tibet Day joint resolution for the past 3 years.

“China is worried about their image, especially with the Olympics coming up,” Parisi said.
Abigail Scott is a member of Students for a Free Tibet, an international, chapter-based network of young people and activists who campaign for Tibetans’ fundamental right to political freedom.

Abigail Scott can be contacted at or 608-320-1344.

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