Chinese Party Secretary and President Xi Jinping arrives in Europe on March 22nd for his first visit to Europe as China’s leader after assuming full power a year ago in March 2013. After attending the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, President Xi will visit France and Germany and conclude his European tour in Belgium where he will meet with both EU leaders and Belgian authorities on March 31.

Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director for the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “At a time when the EU is evaluating its relationship with Russia over the Crimea crisis, European leaders must now address the relationship with a similarly authoritarian Chinese Party-state whose values are so at odds with those of the EU. Just as Ukraine deserves our robust recognition and legal protection, the issue of Tibet merits being raised with Xi during his visit.”

“European unity in taking a strong approach on China and addressing human rights and resolution of the crisis in Tibet will not only reflect the sympathy and support for the Dalai Lama and Tibet in Europe, but also help to strengthen EU leverage. Allowing Chinese leaders to dominate and frame the agenda ignores Europe’s strategic interests as China asserts itself,” added Vincent Metten.

President Xi has presided over a more systematic and deepening crackdown in Tibet and a deteriorating human rights environment across the PRC.

ICT and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), called upon the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso as well as heads of EU member states, which will be visited by President Xi, to urgently address the deteriorating human rights situation in China and Tibet during their meetings with the Chinese President (click here to read the letter).

A statement by President of the International Campaign for Tibet Matteo Mecacci and European leaders calls upon the EU to:

  • Link negotiations on the EU-China investment treaty and a follow-on free trade agreement, to Chinese improvements in rule of law and human rights, as recommended by European Parliamentarians. The treaties should include binding social and environmental clauses;
  • Decline to entertain Chinese requests to lift the EU’s arms embargo on China as long as authorities are deploying security and military personnel to abuse the fundamental rights of China’s citizens; and
  • Raise Tibet with Xi Jinping during his visit to Europe and urge him to meet the Dalai Lama to resolve the crisis.

EU-China relations have developed include foreign affairs, security matters and international challenges such as climate change and global economic governance. At present, the EU and China hold almost 60 sectoral dialogues. Vincent Metten said: “It is increasingly acknowledged that the EU and China will only become real strategic partners when genuine and concrete improvements on human rights will take place in Tibet and China.”

Points of contact

Vincent Metten
EU Policy Director
International Campaign for Tibet
[email protected]
Cell: +32(0) 473-990440
Office: + 32- (0)2-6094410

Kate Saunders
Communications Director
[email protected]
Cell: +44-7947138612