EU flagThe President of the European Parliament, Josep Borrell, has concluded his 7 day visit to China, including Tibet, in which he raised his continued concern over the situation in Tibet. Borrell visited Beijing, Lhasa and Shanghai from 8 to 14 July 2006 on his first official visit to China.

Speaking at the end of his trip, Borrell stated that he had “listened carefully to the Chinese authorities’ plan for political reform and emphasized the need for greater democracy and improvements in human rights. Borrell also raised European Parliament concerns about remaining restrictions on the freedom of expression and called for the abolition of forced labour and the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Before leaving for Beijing, Borrell commented that he wished to see “as much as possible of what the real China is today: the political authorities, the economic transformation, and a province far from both these realities, Tibet”. Having returned from Tibet, the EP President stated the following:

“I also visited Tibet in the first days of my visit. I acknowledged the surprisingly positive economic development of the region and visited the new train station linking Lhasa to Beijing. On the surface, it seems as though religious freedom is respected. But I remain concerned by the Tibetan issue. I raised specific human rights cases (the Panchen Lama, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche). Despite reiterating the Dalai Lama’s wishes for a peaceful negotiated solution to the problem of Tibet, based on the principle of One China and within the framework of the Chinese Constitution, which the European Parliament fully supports, it seems that my interlocutors remain unconvinced of his sincerity.”

President Borrell met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama during the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Brussels in June and reiterated the European Parliament’s commitment to support a peaceful, non-violent solution in Tibet and called on China to grant autonomy to Tibet.

Prior to the EP President’s departure, ICT Europe delivered a detailed list of recommendations on issues to raise with Chinese officials, including the ongoing Sino-Tibetan Dialogue, the need for equitable treatment of Tibetans as Chinese migration to Tibet increases rapidly, and the need for the implementation of anti-Torture mechanisms based on the 2005 UN report on Torture in China, including Tibet.