MP: “Intimidation, Censorship, Blackmail”Berlin, May 11, 2016. In an unprecedented development, the Chair of the Human Rights Committee of the Federal German Parliament, Michael Brand, has been banned by the Chinese government from travelling to China as head of a committee delegation to visit China and Tibet this May. In a newspaper article yesterday, Brand criticizes the Chinese government for “repeated attempts to blackmail” and intimidation for Tibet related reports on his website and his attendance at Tibet related events in Germany. A diplomat of the Chinese embassy in Berlin made “absurd accusations” and urged him to delete articles on his website critical of Chinese policies in Tibet. “This was an attempt to censor me and blackmailing”, Brand said.
The Chinese government said that the Human Rights Committee of the Federal Parliament is still invited to visit the PRC, but not its chairman, according to the article. Brand instead insisted “The Federal Parliament itself decides about the composition of its delegations.”
The International Campaign for Tibet Germany, in a statement today, welcomed the comments by the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee. ICT Germany Executive Director Kai Müller: “The reported attempts to blackmail and intimidation are unacceptable and symptomatic of Beijing’s systematic attempts to silence criticism about its policies in Tibet. Banning the Committee Chairman Brand indicates a lack of sincerity of the Chinese government to engage in any genuine human rights dialogue. Committee Chairman Brand shares the same fate as a number of United Nations Human Rights experts who have been seeking to visit the PRC for some time already, to no avail. The Chinese government must instead open up, allow criticism and make a serious commitment to bring about change”, Müller said.