Dalai Lama and Nicolas Sarkozy

Despite China’s strong objections, French President Nicolas Sarkozy met with the Dalai Lama in Gdansk, Poland on December 6, 2008. (REUTERS)

A new policy paper by the International Campaign for Tibet, to be released today in Brussels, calls upon the European Union to adopt a consistent new position on Tibet to reflect the importance of Tibet in EU-China relations. A summary of the paper and details of the press briefing today are included below.

The EU-China Summit opens in Prague on Wednesday, May 20. This follows the cancellation of the last summit by the Chinese government after French President Sarkozy, then EU President, met the Dalai Lama – an indication of the importance of the Dalai Lama to the Chinese government in determining its relationship with Europe. Since then, Beijing has stepped up pressure on individual European countries including the Netherlands to block meetings between heads of state, ministers and members of the Parliament and the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama visits Europe at the end of this month in a tour that includes France, where will probably receive honorary Paris citizenship, which is likely to intensify Beijing’s response.

Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director for ICT in Brussels, said: “The cancellation of the last EU-China Summit by Beijing during the French EU Presidency raised the diplomatic stakes, pointing both to the importance China attaches to the Tibet issue and the need for a unified EU response. To equivocate on Tibet as a result of Chinese interference would be a strategic mis-step in EU-China relations. The EU should intensify its support for a resolution and assist both sides, after 50 years of failed efforts, to remove obstacles and move forward.”

The policy document to be released by the International Campaign for Tibet in Brussels calls upon the EU to:

  • Coordinate national positions and define a clear EU line in support of Tibet
  • Adopt a common position on future visits of the Dalai Lama in Europe
  • Actively and concretely promote China-Tibetan negotiations
  • Utilize all appropriate UN forums to press the government of China on the situation in Tibet and increase international coordination and cooperation

Detailed recommendations included in ICT’s new Policy Paper, ‘11th EU-China Summit: A revived EU Policy on Tibet’ have been sent to the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy and to Foreign Affairs Ministers of EU Member States, who are meeting today in Brussels. A summary of the policy paper, as well as the full report, can be found below. It can also be downloaded here »

An inconclusive talking shop and China’s divide and rule: why Europe needs to do more on Tibet

Summary of ICT’s policy paper

Dalai Lama and Jose Manuel Barroso

The Dalai Lama met with European Commission president José Manuel Barroso on May 30, 2006.

The EU-China Summit opening on Wednesday (May 20) in Prague is the first high-level meeting of EU and Chinese leaders since China cancelled the last summit in December, citing the decision of then EU President Nicolas Sarkozy to meet the Dalai Lama in Poland a few days later. It takes place in an environment in which several European countries are under intense pressure from Beijing due to the arrival of exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama later this month, in a visit that takes in Denmark, the Netherlands and France.

The lack of cohesion among European member states on the issue of Tibet and conflicting national approaches, especially on protocols for meeting with the Dalai Lama, is not in EU interests because it weakens EU leverage and has left some countries vulnerable as targets for Chinese government pressure.

By threatening reprisals against EU countries whose leaders welcome or meet with the Dalai Lama, the Chinese government undermines its own position against interference in the “internal affairs” of another country, and contravenes European values.

The EU’s approach to China assumes that under the influence of positive engagement, the Chinese government will liberalise its economy and move towards democratization. But as the European Parliament has noted, Europe’s deepened economic and trade relations with China have not been accompanied by any progress on human rights. The EU’s position under-estimates China’s ability to use its engagement with the EU to its own ends and its determination to block criticism of its policies in Tibet and human rights. Countries within the EU have consistently miscalculated in making concessions to China that are not reciprocated, such as the decision by the UK to redefine its historic relationship with Tibet last year.

The EU-China relationship is critical; it has replaced the US as China’s largest trading partner, and its voice is increasingly important as a catalyst for encouraging China to become a better global citizen.

Beijing has subverted and politicized international forums where its human rights record has been challenged and refused to answer legitimate questions from European governments about the use of lethal force against unarmed protestors or the welfare of individual detainees. The Chinese government has also sought to contain all discussion on Tibet to the official human rights dialogue and behind closed doors diplomacy. But without adequate benchmarks for progress, the dialogue is an inconclusive talking shop, and privately expressed concern by EU member states is more effective when accompanied by clear public statements.

The reality on the ground is that for more than a year, the Chinese government has engaged in a comprehensive cover-up of torture, disappearances and killings that have taken place across Tibet in response to a series of overwhelmingly peaceful protests against Chinese rule. This is combined with a virulent propaganda offensive against the exiled Tibetan leader, Nobel Peace Prize winner the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama has demonstrated a consistent position and a good faith approach to dialogue with Beijing, which has now ground to a halt. The Tibetan side has shown a rigor in addressing key issues and in framing its position in terms of the Chinese Constitution and Chinese laws. Various major governments and parliaments have shown an interest in moving the dialogue forward to a mutually acceptable conclusion. But the efforts undertaken so far by the EU Council and its 27 member states and by the European Commission are insufficient to address the situation in Tibet, despite the range of policy options at their disposal. The EU’s position on Tibet has generally been one of ambiguity and accommodation, even in the face of gross human rights violations.

On support for Tibet in Europe, the Chinese government is taking a bullying approach that exposes mismatched values, rather than elevating the relationship. The EU approach should be unified, advanced multilaterally, and framed in the context of common interests. To continue to equivocate on Tibet, after so many years of support to the Dalai Lama, would be a significant historic and moral mis-step, and against European interests.

Press briefing on ICT Policy Paper in Brussels, May 18, 2009

Venue: Résidence Palace (Schuman) – Room Passage, Brussels
Time: 2-3 pm

Speakers: Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director for ICT in Brussels, will introduce the recommendations to the EU

Ngawang Sangdrol, a former nun who was tortured and imprisoned for 11 years for peaceful dissent in Tibet, will give new information on the current crisis in Tibet including details of Tibetans currently in prison. Also present will be several other former Tibetan former political prisoners, known as the “singing nuns” after they sang songs about Tibetan freedom in prison.

Details: Ngawang Sangdrol, 32, was imprisoned in 1992 for peacefully demonstrating against the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Her sentence was extended repeatedly for continued protest in prison, which included recording a tape of freedom songs with 13 other nuns from Drapchi prison that was smuggled out of Tibet. As a result of intense international pressure her sentence was commuted to 11 years from her original 23-year sentence and she was released in October 2002. Ngawang Sangdrol’s life story is featured in at least two documentaries and one book, La prisonnière de Lhassa (Philippe Broussard and Danielle Laeng, Stock, 2001).

Press contact:

Vincent Metten
EU Policy Director
Tel: +32 2 609 44 10
Cell: +32 473 99 04 40
Vincent.metten@save-tibet.eu

11th EU-CHINA SUMMIT: A REVIVED EU POLICY ON TIBET

Submitted by the International Campaign for Tibet

Policy Paper addressed to the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission,
the High Representative for the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy, the Foreign Affairs Ministers of EU Member States and the President of the European Parliament

Brussels, 18 May 2009

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

A- Four Guidelines for a revived European policy on Tibet:

  1. Coordinate national positions and adopt a clear EU policy on Tibet[1];
  2. Adopt a common position that it is the right of all EU Member States to welcome and meet with the Dalai Lama in whatever manner they deem appropriate, with the full support of all EU Members and without interference or threats from the Government of the People’s Republic of China;
  3. Actively and concretely promote Sino-Tibetan negotiations;
  4. Utilize all appropriate UN forums to press the government of China on the situation in Tibet and increase international coordination and cooperation.

B- At the EU-China Summit, press the Chinese government to take the following steps:

  1. Re-engage with the Dalai Lama or his representatives in a results-based dialogue with the intent of reaching mutually-agreeable solutions for Tibet;
  2. Withdraw excessive security measures and end repressive political campaigns in Tibet, provide amnesty to Tibetans detained in connection with incidents of peaceful protest since March 2008 to the present day, commute death sentences for Tibetans involved in March 14 riots in Lhasa and ensure a fair trial and defense lawyers of their choice; and
  3. Allow foreign diplomats, independent analysts and journalists free access to Tibet.
ASSESSMENT

China abruptly cancelled the 11th EU-China Summit and the 5th EU-China Business Summit just before December 1, citing the decision of then EU President Nicolas Sarkozy to meet the Dalai Lama in Poland a few days later. To underscore China’s dissatisfaction with France, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao a few weeks later declined to visit Paris during his European mission to Germany, Spain, Brussels and the UK.

The lack of cohesion among European member states on the issue of Tibet and conflicting national approaches, especially on protocols for meeting with the Dalai Lama, has left some states more vulnerable as targets for Chinese government pressure.[2]

Recently, the Chinese government has stepped up efforts to block meetings between the Dalai Lama and national political figures, as illustrated again by the recent pressure against the Dutch Parliament in relation to planning for the June 2009 visit of the Dalai Lama.[3] By threatening reprisals against EU countries whose leaders welcome or meet with the Dalai Lama, the Chinese government undermines its own position against interference in the “internal affairs” of another state.

After Beijing’s rejection of the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy presented by the Tibetan side during the last round of dialogue in November 2008 as “disguised independence,” the Chinese government has stepped up its anti-Dalai Lama campaign in China and abroad. Chinese diplomats and other spokespeople not only continue to allege that the Dalai Lama seeks to “split the motherland,” but they additionally claim that his vision of a future Tibet includes the expulsion of non-Tibetans and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from a fourth of China.

At the same time, Chinese authorities are aggressively pursuing criminal cases against Tibetans who participated in the demonstrations that spread across Tibet last spring, without regard for due process of law. A security crackdown remains firmly in place and so-called “patriotic education” threatens to exacerbate tensions in Tibet. The Chinese government has refused to respond to requests for access to Tibet by UN rights monitors, foreign governments, including the EU, and international human rights non-governmental-organizations, and there are credible fears that gross violations of human rights continue to occur, including the torture of Tibetans in detention.

Beijing has subverted and politicized international forums where its human rights record has been challenged and refused to answer legitimate questions from European governments about the use of lethal force against unarmed protestors or the welfare of individual detainees.

The international community continues to urge engagement to resolve differences, and both sides have indicated that they are open to dialogue, although the Chinese government insists on various preconditions, including that the Dalai Lama cease all efforts to internationalize the Tibet issue, of which it considers his meetings with foreign leaders to be an expression.

The intransigent and hardline Chinese position reflects both misunderstanding of the Tibet issue within the government and fear that genuine autonomy is incompatible with the one-party political system. In this light, even the fact that the Dalai Lama refutes independence and declares himself willing to achieve Tibetan autonomy within the scope of the Chinese constitution is insufficient. A active support of a third party could provide the needed perspective to remove obstacles and get the negotiating process moving forward.

A multilateral approach may be the only way to compel China to move. The current approach of various EU countries alternately cajoling and criticizing China does not work. Without coordination, EU countries are working at cross-purposes and handing Beijing shallow public relations victories and an ability to continue to stall. As a first step, EU countries must forge a consistent, unified Tibet policy. The EU should then sit down with the United States, Japan and other interested allies to begin to coordinate efforts to help China and the Dalai Lama reach a resolution. Clearly, the international community wants to see a resolution for Tibet; it needs everyone, not just China and the Tibetans, to make that happen.

RECOMMENDATIONS

A- Four Guidelines for a revived European policy on Tibet

The efforts undertaken so far by the EU Council and its 27 member states and by the European Commission are insufficient to address the situation in Tibet. The EU should assess how to adopt a coherent and coordinated EU foreign policy on the sensitive question of Tibet and should clarify and define its overall goals and objectives on this issue as well as work with the stakeholders to identify concrete steps that could help Tibetans and Chinese find mutually acceptable solutions.

Even with regard to some helpful wording in the last EU Report on Human Rights 2008[4], EU statements should reflect a stronger, more defined position in order to provide a meaningful engagement on the issue of Tibet. For example, the second EU statement on the March events in Tibetan regions adopted on 29 March 2008[5] includes the language: “The EU notes the Dalai Lama’s recent public commitment to non-violence and to autonomy not independence of Tibet.” This statement could have contributed to removing an obstacle between the Chinese and Tibetans had it underscored the consistency of the Dalai Lama’s position by recalling his speech before the European Parliament in Strasbourg two decades ago, in 1988, when he announced that he was seeking genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the People’s Republic of China.[6]

The EU should be more vocal and use more often public statement to send clear and firm messages to Beijing. Closed door and quiet diplomacy such as demarches and private discussion with Chinese counterparts should be accompanied, when appropriate, by clear public statements.

The European Commission and some officials from member states maintain that they are doing all that can be done on Tibet, but such a position does not reflect the range of policy options at the EU’s disposal. The EU’s position on Tibet has generally been one of ambiguity and accommodation, even in the face of gross human rights violations. The EU is not doing all it can.

The European Parliament has played an important role by condemning the deterioration of the human rights situation in Tibet and by promoting a peaceful resolution to the problem of Tibet. However, these concerns have not been sufficiently considered by other EU bodies and member states.[7]

The International Campaign for Tibet outlines 4 guidelines for an assertive European policy on Tibet (each principle contains concrete recommendations):

1. EU countries should coordinate national positions and adopt a clear EU policy on Tibet.

Start with a coordination meeting between the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the EU Presidency.

The United Kingdom, Germany and France, together with the EU Presidency, could start the process by organizing a high-level consultation meeting in order to clarify their respective positions on Tibet, exchange views and agree on core elements that could serve as a basis of a future common European approach on Tibet.

Nominate a Special Representative for China/Tibet and/or establish a systematic dialogue between EU’s High Representative for CFSP and Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister.

An EU special representative for China/Tibet would be charged with converging the various national policies on Tibet and have the mandate to speak with one voice to Chinese authorities on behalf of the EU. If this recommendation fails to be implemented in the short term, the EU should set-up a systematic political dialogue between the SG/HR Solana and Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister on some key EU-China issues, including Tibet.

Adopt a policy paper on sensitive EU-China issues, including Tibet.

Such a paper, to be made public, would explain the position and goals of EU Member states. The position of the EU on the Tibetan Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy[8] could be included in such a paper or expressed in a separate public statement. So far, only a very limited number of European countries and leaders have taken a public position on the Tibetan Memorandum.[9] This Policy Paper should contain clear and operational recommendations and could serve as a reference and guiding document for EU’s Foreign Policy on Tibet.

Re-think the EU-China Human Rights dialogue and better integrate human rights issues into other aspects of EU-China relations.

China has succeeded to an extent in containing discussion on Tibet to the Human Rights Dialogue and quiet diplomacy. Chinese authorities have not been responsive enough to requests for information on the cases of Tibetans imprisoned for peaceful dissent from European governments and have even refused to accept or respond to lists provided by foreign official representatives.

As stressed by the EU on several occasions, “the dialogue is an acceptable option only if enough progress is achieved and reflected on the ground”.[10] The European Parliament in the Report on Human Rights 2008 emphasized “the need for a radical intensification and re-thinking of the European Union-China human rights dialogue”.[11]

The European Commission expressed in its 2006 Communication “EU-China: Closer partners, growing responsibilities”, that the dialogue “remains fit for purposes but that the EU’s expectations […] are increasingly not being met”. In this framework the Commission has suggested that the dialogue should be “more focused and results-oriented, with higher quality exchanges and concrete results; more flexible, taking on input from separate seminars and sub-groups; better co-coordinated with Member State dialogues”.[12]

FIDH and HRIC released a joint assessment of the EU-China dialogue on human rights in December 2008.[13]They recommend in particular to: “Increase the transparency and accountability of the dialogue and seminar process by producing regular assessments based upon the EU benchmarks, supported by substantive indicators, and making these assessments public”. The EU should develop clear benchmarks and indicators, which can be publicly shared, in order to clarify decisions on whether the dialogue is bringing sufficient and real progress in human rights on the ground, or whether other measures would be more effective.

2. EU countries should adopt a common position that it is the right of all EU Member States to welcome and meet with the Dalai Lama in whatever manner they deem appropriate, with the full support of all EU Members and without interference or threats from the Government of the PRC.

Issue an EU statement on visit and meeting of the Dalai Lama in Europe.

The European Foreign Affairs Council proposed in its Report on EU-China relations[14] that the EU: “Issue a statement that EU leaders and parliamentary authorities will not tolerate any restriction on their right to meet political and religious figures, including the Dalai Lama. China’s ability to bully the EU on this issue has been particularly harmful to EU unity”. Such an initiative could help to protect national European member states as well as EU institutions against Chinese pressure and would underscore EU opposition to the erroneous and damaging official position of the Chinese Communist Party in characterizing the Dalai Lama as a separatist.

Consider inviting the Dalai Lama to a meeting of the General Affairs Council.

The Dalai Lama could be invited to a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers to present the Tibetan Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy. An appropriate representative of the Chinese government could be asked to comment on the proceedings in a written statement and specifically asked to find any area where a consensus approach could be developed between the Tibetans and Chinese.

3. EU countries should actively and concretely promote Sino-Tibetan negotiations.

According to the Envoy of the Dalai Lama for the dialogue, Kelsang Gyaltsen (31 March 2009): “Since the start of this dialogue in 2002, the Chinese side has been adopting a position of no recognition, no reciprocity, no commitment and no concession and no compromise. Although they continue to profess even to these days that the door to dialogue is open, however, so far they have been pursuing a strategy of avoiding any progress, decision and commitment. This lack of political will on the part of the Chinese leadership was clearly demonstrated at the last round of discussions that took place in November last year (2008)”.[15]

The European Council on Foreign Relations[16] suggests to the EU that it focus its relations with China on human rights on four objectives, one of which concerns the “Progression towards reconciliation in Tibet”.

The EU has a long-standing and unique experience in dialogue linked to crisis prevention and management. Many of its experienced diplomats, if tasked, could identify steps that could be taken or obstacles that could be removed so that a mutually agreeable solution for Tibet can be reached. The EU could start the process by sending an Emissary to Beijing tasked to represent the EU Council in engaging with the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama to collect views of both parties, identify the obstacles and suggest concrete recommendations to the EU Council on how to overcome these identified difficulties.

4. EU countries should utilize all appropriate UN forums to press the government of China on the situation in Tibet and increase international coordination and cooperation.

Be more active on Tibet at UN Forums.

Over the past six months, China has continued to politicize and subvert international forums where its human rights record in Tibet has been challenged. The Beijing authorities unequivocally rejected the findings of the UN Committee against Torture on the situation in Tibet; rejected all recommendations made by EU states on Tibet at the UN’s Universal Periodic Review and blocked discussion of Tibet by NGOs at the UN Human Rights Council. China has also been unresponsive to official UN and Governmental requests for greater transparency on the situation of missing persons and detainees since the March 2008 unrest in Tibet. This reflects not only intransigence by the Chinese government, but also the failure of will by the EU to challenge the Chinese government on its failure to acknowledge legitimate international concern.

While some EU member states have been forceful in questioning the human rights situation in Tibet during sessions of the Human Rights Council, other member states have failed to acknowledge the issue. The EU can also press China at the UN for access to Tibet for the various UN independent experts, for example the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution.

Reinforce transatlantic and international coordination/cooperation on Tibet.

The EU should intensify its policy coordination and information exchange on Tibetan issues among key governments (Australia, US, France, Germany, UK, Canada, India, Japan, Norway, New Zealand, Czech Republic). For example, the former US Special Coordinator for Tibetan issues launched then regularly joined multilateral meetings in Washington, D.C. This tradition should continue, with the participation of the EU representative.

A good precedent of transatlantic coordination was the 2008 EU-US Summit where partners agreed on a common wording on Tibet inserted in the final statement.[17]

The Bern Process, which brings together countries that have a dialogue with China on human rights, should remain an important platform to exchange information and national experience on how to make progress with Chinese authorities on sensitive human rights issues.

B- At the EU-China Summit, press the Chinese government on Tibet

The May 20 Summit in Prague presents an opportunity for EU leaders attending the meeting to appear united on Tibet and to convince Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders that specific steps on Tibet can be taken that would benefit EU-China relations. These steps should include:

1. The Chinese government should re-engage with the Dalai Lama or his representatives in a results-based dialogue with the intent of reaching mutually-agreeable solutions for Tibet.

The Tibetan side presented a comprehensive document, the Memorandum of Genuine Autonomy, giving specific details of their position to the Chinese side at Beijing’s request during the last round of talks. The Chinese authorities publicly dismissed this document. However the memorandum demonstrates a rigor and good faith effort by the Tibetans and should be considered as a basis for future negotiations.

2. The Chinese government should withdraw excessive security measures and end repressive political campaigns in Tibet, provide amnesty to Tibetans detained in connection with incidents of peaceful protest since March 2008 to the present day, commute death sentences for Tibetans involved in March 14 riots in Lhasa and ensure a fair trial and defense lawyers of their choice.

The Chinese government should end as a matter of urgency the policies that provoke resentment among Tibetans, including the imposition of de facto martial law in Tibet; the imposition of the death penalty in trials that do not meet minimal international standards of justice; the detentions, disappearances and killings of Tibetans since the protests began in March 2008[18]; the ‘patriotic education’ and ‘strike hard’ campaigns against Tibetans, and instead seek to address the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people. Such measures take the place of efforts to deal with real issues on the ground and exacerbate tensions among Chinese and Tibetans and provoke instability throughout Tibet.

3. The Chinese government should allow foreign diplomats, independent analysts and journalists free access to Tibet.

Chinese authorities have taken more systematic measures to block information flow and access to Tibet. Beijing declared that the Tibet Autonomous Region was “opened up” to tourists to give impression of normalcy but still restrictions are in place and journalists and diplomats are still not allowed free access.[19] EU members should consider withholding visa entry to Chinese officials from the Tibet Autonomous Region until reciprocal and open access to Tibet is granted and respected.

CONCLUSION

The issue of Tibet is resolvable and the current situation is urgent. The past year of protests and crackdowns has transformed the political landscape. The Dalai Lama has demonstrated a consistent position and a good faith approach to the dialogue. The Tibetan side has shown a rigor in addressing key issues and in framing its position in terms of the Chinese Constitution and Chinese laws. Various major governments and parliaments have shown an interest in moving the dialogue forward to a mutually acceptable conclusion.

China is failing to act in accordance with international human rights norms and seems unable to move forward. The United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party has been unresponsive as a dialogue partner with the envoys of the Dalai Lama. There has been no direct engagement between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese leadership in 50 years.

On support for Tibet in Europe, the Chinese government is taking a bullying approach that exposes mismatched values, rather than elevating the relationship. The EU approach should be unified, advanced multilaterally, and framed in the context of common interests. To continue to equivocate on Tibet, after so many years of support to the Dalai Lama, would be a significant historic and moral mis-step, and against European interests.

[Footnotes]

[1] The term “Tibet” in this memorandum is used to refer to all Tibetan areas currently under the jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China. Note on geography: Tibet was traditionally comprised of three main areas (Amdo -northeastern Tibet), Kham (eastern Tibet) and U-Tsang (central and western Tibet). The Tibet Autonomous Region was set up by the Chinese government in 1965 and covers the area of Tibet west of the Yangtse River, including part of Kham, and is sometimes referred to now as “Central Tibet.” The rest of Amdo and Kham have been incorporated into Chinese provinces, and where Tibetan communities were said to have “compact inhabitancy” in the provinces they were designated Tibetan autonomous prefectures and counties. As a result, most of Qinghai and parts of Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces are acknowledged by the Chinese authorities to be “Tibetan.”

[2] The lack of European cohesion on Tibet can be illustrated by the following examples: divergent positions of European leaders regarding attendance at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games; a lack of support and solidarity between EU Member States in addressing the Chinese response to high-level meetings with the Dalai Lama (Chancellor Merkel in September 2007; President Sarkozy in December 2008); issuing of national public statements on Tibet without consulting other EU partners; uncoordinated closed-doors dialogue and discussion on Tibet between Chinese diplomats and some European diplomats…

[3] Letter of Chinese Ambassador ZHANG Jun to Mr ORMEL, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Dutch Parliament, 9 April 2009: “(…) As you may be fully aware of, my Government and I have clearly expressed our opposition to the visit of the Dalai Lama to the Netherlands in whatever name, not to mention his meetings with Dutch leaders. As ambassador to the Netherlands, I commit myself to the maintenance of a sound bilateral relationship. It would be unfortunate if we could not work together to prevent the Dalai issue from evolving in a wrong direction, and in particular it is against my wish to see that our good relationship would be hijacked by Dalai, the image of the Dutch Parliament be tarnished by this visit and the momentum of our bilateral relations in this challenging time of global economic crisis be severely weakened by this issue”.

[4] Abstracts from the EU Report on Human Rights 2008:
– Section 2.6.1 Human rights dialogue with China: “The EU voiced grave concern regarding the human rights and humanitarian situation in Tibet following recent events. China reiterated in detail its customary position on the situation in Tibet and the role of the Dalai Lama, while noting that the door to further talks remained open.
– Section 6.6 Asia: The March 14 disturbances in Lhasa and subsequent unrest in other areas inhabited by Tibetans further tainted China’s human rights record and made it the target of international criticism. While it is clear that serious violations of human rights were committed, their full extent is difficult to assess since Tibet was effectively sealed off. The reported number of dead, wounded and detained varies widely and there is continuing concern about maltreatment and torture of detainees, the absence of internationally guaranteed fair trial rights and an intensified patriotic re-education campaign. On 17 March the EU issued a public declaration which, inter alia, called on the Chinese Government to address the concerns of Tibetans with regard to issues of human rights and encouraged both sides to enter into a substantive and constructive dialogue with a view to reaching a sustainable solution acceptable to all that would fully respect Tibetan culture, religion and identity. Following international pressure, two meetings have taken place between the representatives of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities, but with few concrete results so far.
http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/librairie/PDF/169233_02_2…

[5] The first statement was adopted on 17 March 2008

[6] The joint statement adopted by France and China on April 1st 2009 which says that “France refuses to support any form of Tibet independence” does not reflect and even contradicts the Middle-way approach of the Dalai Lama and his request for genuine autonomy, not independence.

[7] Among the EP recommendations and messages addressed to the EU Council, its 27 member states and to the European Commission are:
– the different resolutions adopted on Tibet (12 March 2009, 10 April 2008, 15 February 2007…) – the first recommendation of the EP 12th March resolution on Tibet “urges the Chinese Government to consider the Memorandum for Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People of November 2008 as a basis for substantive discussion leading towards positive, meaningful change in Tibet, consistent with the principles outlined in the Constitution and laws of the People’s Republic of China”;
– the 2008 Report on Foreign Relations in which the EP “deplores the decision of the Chinese authorities to end the talks with the representatives of the Dalai Lama, and reminds them the undertakings given after the tragic events of March 2008 before the Olympic Games; once again calls on the Council to appoint a special envoy for Tibetan issues in order to follow the situation closely and to facilitate the resumption of dialogue between the parties”;
– the 2008 Human Rights report, in which the EP “strongly condemns the crackdown against Tibetans following the wave of protests that swept across Tibet beginning on 10 March 2008 and the repression by the Chinese government that has increased in Tibet since then, and calls for the restart of a sincere and results-oriented dialogue between both parties based on the “Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People”.

[8] “Memorandum of Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People,” submitted by the representatives of the Dalai Lama during the 8th round of dialogue on October 31, 2008, in response to a request from the Chinese side in July for details on the Dalai Lama’s autonomy plan

[9] On March 29 in Beijing. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU’s External Relations Commissioner said she discussed Tibet in talks with China’s Vice President Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi She said the Chinese tone was less angry than before, but there was no sign of any change in Beijing’s hardline attitude toward contact with the exiled Tibetan leader. Referring to the “Memorandum of Genuine Autonomy,” Ferrero-Waldner said, “For a long time, the Chinese wanted to see a written position.”
– David Miliband commented on the discussions taking place on Tibet between the Chinese Government and representatives of the Dalai Lama. In a Written Ministerial Statement (29/10 2008) he said: “The Chinese Government has said that it is serious about dialogue and that it hopes for a positive outcome. It has set conditions for dialogue which we believe the Dalai Lama has met. The Dalai Lama has made clear that he is not seeking separation or independence. He has said repeatedly that he is seeking a resolution to the situation of Tibet within the framework of the Chinese constitution (…)”. http://ukinchina.fco.gov.uk/en/newsroom/?view=PressS&id=8299838

[10] EU-China dialogue on human rights, General Affairs Council, 2327th Council meeting – Brussels, 22-23 January 2001, para 8; see also Human rights – China Conclusions, General Affairs Council, 2338th Council meeting – Brussels, 19 March 2001, para 6; and Human rights – China Conclusions, General Affairs Council, 2416th Council meeting – Brussels, 11 March 2002, para 8.

[11] Human rights in the world 2008 and the EU’s policy on the matter, European Parliament, 7 May 2009

[12] Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament – EU – China: Closer partners, growing responsibilities COM(2006) 632 final

[13] Fédération Internationale de la Ligue des droits de l’Homme (FIDH), Human Rights in China (HRIC) Joint Assessment of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue and Legal Expert Seminars December 2008

[14] A Power Audit of EU-China relations, ECFR, April 2009

[15] Statement of Kelsang Gyaltsen at the Hearing on Tibet in the Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament, 31 March 2009

[16] A Power Audit of EU-China relations, ECFR, April 2009

[17] EU-US Summit Joint Statement, 10 June 2008: “We are concerned about the recent unrest in Tibet and urge all sides to refrain from further violence. We welcome China’s recent decision to hold talks with the Dalai Lama’s representatives. We encourage both parties to move forward with a substantive, constructive and results-oriented dialogue at an early date”

[18] According to Chinese official statistics, 1.200 Tibetans remain unaccounted for. ICT has a list of more than 700 prisoners detained since March 08.

[19] On 9th March 2009, The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China urges the Chinese government to halt a wave of detentions of journalists and open Tibet for news coverage. It underlined that reporters from at least six news organisation have been detained, turned back or had their tapes confiscated in the past week as they tried to visit Tibetan areas of Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai ahead of the one-year anniversary of the unrest in Tibet. This contravenes regulations made permanent by the Foreign Ministry in Oct. 2008 that foreign reporters can travel freely without seeking prior permission everywhere outside of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

About the International Campaign for Tibet

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) works to promote human rights and democratic freedoms for the people of Tibet. ICT does the following:

  • Monitors and reports on human rights, environmental and socio economic conditions in Tibet;
  • Advocates for Tibetans imprisoned for their political or religious beliefs;
  • Works with governments to develop policies and programs to help Tibetans;
  • Secures humanitarian and development assistance for Tibetans;
  • Mobilizes individuals and the international community to take action on behalf of Tibetans; and
  • Promotes self-determination for the Tibetan people through negotiations between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama.

Founded in 1988, ICT is an international non-profit organization with offices in Washington, Amsterdam, Berlin and Brussels and field offices in Dharamsala and Kathmandu.
Website: www.https://savetibet.org
or www.tibetpolicy.eu