In a unique show of support for the Tibetan cause, more than 50 cities and towns in France have formally adopted villages and towns inside Tibet as sister cities.
The initiative launched by local Tibet support groups in France is aimed at “preserving the rich cultural heritage of Tibet” and to bring international concern over the “destruction of Tibet’s rich cultural heritage” in the parliaments and governments of democratic states.
On October 6 , the city of Montbeliard in eastern Franche Comte and the municipality of Amfreville la Mivoie became the latest Municipalities in France to adopt Tibetan villages. While Montbeliard formally adopted Kharta, a small Tibetan village at the foothills of Mount Everest, Amfreville la Mivoie adopted Phari in western Tibet.
According to the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration, the mayor of Montbeliard during the adoption ceremony underlined the importance of Tibet’s unique cultural identity and its preservation, which he said faced destruction at the hands of China. He also emphasised on the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people, which he said needed to be upheld and supported, while rendering the city’s total support to the non-violent struggle of the Tibetan people.
Speaking to Phayul, Tsering Dhondup, secretary of Bureau du Tibet in France said the main purpose of adopting the villages in Tibet is to “express support to the Tibetan people’s freedom and respect for their fundamental human rights.” “As of now, direct link between the places in France and Tibet is not possible due to the Chinese government but nevertheless it sends a strong message of political support,” he added.
To join the adoption campaign, Municipal Councils in the towns and cities have passed a motion “requesting European or UN resolutions, human rights, environment, and Tibetan cultural heritage to be respected in occupied Tibet.” After adopting a Tibetan village, the Municipality places a plaque symbolising the adoption of the Tibetan village at the entrance of their office.