"I value today's discussion, and it is very important for human-to-human exchanges. I wish the Beijing Olympics a great success," Rick Barker, New Zealand minister for internal affairs and civil defense, told a group of Chinese Tibetologists on Tuesday.
At the Parliament Building on Tuesday, the Tibetologists held discussions and exchanged views with seven members of parliament from the Labor, National and Green parties on the current situation and history of Tibet.
Professor Sherap Nyima, head of the Chinese Tibetologist delegation, told the MPs that the 14th Dalai Lama, during his visit to Europe last year, had said 2008 would be a "critical year," attempting to take advantage of the Olympics to put pressure on the Chinese government and draw attention of the international community. The violent incident in Lhasa on March 14 occurred against such a backdrop.
"Scholars should have their own voice. As a Tibetologist, I have been thinking about the root cause of the March 14 incident in Lhasa and will write several essays on that subject," said Nyima, who is the Vice-President of the Central University of Nationalities of China.
Commenting on Green Party MP Keith Lock's questions, Hu Yan, professor of the Party School of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee, said, "The Dalai Lama has been in exile for half a century, and only a very small number of Tibetans were with him. They can not represent the Tibetan people. The Dalai Lama was attempting to provoke national hatred by saying 'all Tibetans hate Han nationals'."
"It is totally untrue. I had worked in Tibet for about two years and I have many Tibetan friends there," said Hu Yan, who is a Tibetologist
Labor MP Jill Pettis, who has visited Tibet before, was interested in the impact of the opening of Qinghai-Tibet Railway to the life of the local Tibetan people.
Professor Tseyang Changngo, a member of the delegation and Vice President of the Tibet University in Lhasa, said the Tibetan people described the Qinghai-Tibetan Railway as a "Road to Heaven" and "Road to Happiness".
"The railway contributed to Tibet's economic development and made it very convenient for Tibetan herdsmen to go to Lasha to pay pilgrims and see doctors and for students to study in other big cities of China," she said.
The Chinese Tibetologists also held frank discussions with some 10 international relations scholars of the Victoria University, as well as Foreign Ministry officials on Tuesday.
They will hold discussions with representatives of the local Chinese community in Auckland on Wednesday and meet the New Zealand media.