On the occasion of ASEM 8 Summit (4/5 October) and EU-China Summit (6 Ocotber)
Lady Ashton must raise Tibet with Chinese PM Wen Jiabao

Press statement by the Tibetan Community of Belgium, Vrienden van Tibet/Les Amis du Tibet and the International Campaign for Tibet

EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton must raise European concern about Tibet directly with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao at the upcoming ASEM 8 and EU-China Summit on 4-6 October, said a coalition of human rights and Tibet support groups in Brussels today.

European Commissioner Karel De Gucht has confirmed that human rights issues will be discussed at EU-China Summit, despite likely attempts by the Chinese government to block any mention of Tibet.

“Baroness Ashton has visited China twice and has a good understanding of the political situation, including knowledge of the repression in Tibet,” said Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director of the International Campaign for Tibet. “It is vital that she takes this opportunity to address the current crisis in Tibet with the Chinese Prime Minister, and also seeks to move China forward on dialogue with Tibetan representatives of the Dalai Lama. These are issues of great concern for the European public including many Parliamentarians.”

Since protests broke out across Tibet in March, 2008, there has been a broadening crackdown and the strengthening of repressive measures against the Tibetan people and their cultural identity.

In his statement on September 21, European Commissioner Karel De Gucht called on Beijing to “allow the Tibetan people to fully exercise their political, religious, economic and social rights” guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution.

The coalition of human rights and Tibet support groups urge the EU and its Member States to work toward a Joint Statement at the Summit that includes a paragraph to encourage the resumption of dialogue between the Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Chinese officials that leads to a mutually-agreeable solution for Tibet. In addition, because the European relationship with China is so important, the coalition of NGOs call upon the EU to establish a Tibet Liaison Officer at its embassy in Beijing.

The International Campaign for Tibet also proposes that Baroness Ashton seeks a briefing from the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama on the current situation following the Summit.

For further comment/background and interviews:
Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director,
International Campaign for Tibet,
Cell: 0473-990440
Office phone nr: 02-6094410
Email: [email protected]