Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that 2018 marks the Canada-China Year of Tourism to encourage stronger “people to people ties” between both countries;
While 700,000 Chinese tourists visited Canada in 2017 without any restrictions, Canadian tourists seeking to visit Tibet continue to require special authorizations and permits in addition to their Chinese visa;
Since 2012 the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) authorities have ordered the confiscation of all ordinary passports held by registered residents of the TAR and no replacements have been issued as of 2018. Denial of travel documents means that Tibetans who are Chinese citizens are unable to participate in the Canada-China Year of Tourism; and
In Tibetan areas of China that are outside of the TAR, tourism has been used as the rationale to convert sacred religious sites into tourist attractions, a violation of the right to freedom of religion and belief. The displacement of 5000 monastic residents at Larung Gar, one of the largest Buddhist centres in the world, was the direct consequence of state-sponsored efforts to encourage tourism in the region.
We, the undersigned, citizens and or residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to request that the Chinese government grant Canadian journalists entry to Tibet in order to report on the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism and its effect on Tibet’s social fabric, secure Canadian tourists unfettered access to Tibet, open a visa office in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, and request that the government of China safeguard respect for religion and traditions in the context of expanding the tourism sector in Tibet.
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