On December 15, 2005, the European Parliament and EU Commission both expressed their concern over the situation of human rights in Tibet, with particular focus on the recent crackdown at Drepung monastery, Lhasa, in late November.
Several monks were detained and others expelled following a crackdown at Drepung monastery during the week of 21 November after monks at Drepung expressed resistance to the denunciations of the Dalai Lama required during the patriotic education campaigns that have been ongoing at the monastery for several weeks. Public Security Bureau personnel and People’s Armed Police were sent to the monastery and monks were prevented from leaving for at least three days. Several monks were reportedly detained and their whereabouts is currently unknown. At least five monks were expelled from the monastery and sent back to their villages. There are unconfirmed reports that an elderly monk died during the disturbances.
The European Parliament resolution urges the Chinese authorities to “cease the ‘patriotic education’ campaign, to react in a proportionate manner to non-violent protests and not to undermine human rights by the use of physical violence against such protests”, as well as asking for details on the whereabouts and wellbeing of monks detained during the events at Drepung.
In response on behalf of the EU Commissioner for External Relations, Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission, said:
“The present situation in the region, which we follow very closely, raises indeed grave concern, especially with respect to the exercise of religious freedom. We are worried to see that the local authorities have imposed a strict framework setting the limits of this exercise and we deplore the recent cases of detention of monks and in particular the blockade of the monastery of Drepung in Lhasa.”
Following is the full text of the European Parliament?s resolution and the statement of the EU Commission in response:
Texts adopted by Parliament
Thursday 15 December 2005 – Strasbourg
Human rights situation in Tibet and Hong Kong
European Parliament resolution on Tibet and Hong Kong
The European Parliament,
- having regard to its previous resolutions on Tibet and the human rights situation in China,
- having regard to its resolutions of 18 November 2004(1) , 13 January 2005(2) and 27 October 2005(3) on the case of the Lama Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, imprisoned and tortured and therefore in danger of his life,
- having regard to its resolution of 19 December 2002 on Hong Kong(4),
- having regard to the Joint Statement of the Eighth EU-China Summit held in Beijing on 5 September 2005,
- having regard to the lack of progress in the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue,
- having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,
- whereas Chinese officials have been conducting a so-called ‘patriotic education’ campaign since October 2005, forcing Tibetans to sign declarations denouncing His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist and proclaiming Tibet to be ‘part of China’,
- whereas the young Tibetan Monk, Ngawang Jangchub, died in mysterious and unexplained circumstances in Drepung Monastery in Lhasa in October 2005 during a ‘patriotic education’ session,
- whereas five Tibetan monks belonging to Drepung Monastery in Lhasa who refused to sign the declarations were arrested on 23 October 2005 and imprisoned in Public Security Bureau (PSB) Detention Centres in their respective places of origin and have probably been tortured,
- whereas it is not yet clear whether more protesters have been arrested,
- whereas more than 400 Tibetan monks from Drepung Monastery in Lhasa protested peacefully against the imprisonment of their comrades and scores of them were forced back into their quarters violently by the Chinese People’s Armed Police and Special Forces of the PSB,
- whereas Drepung Monastery in Lhasa with its thousands of inhabitants is hermetically sealed by Special Forces and no one has been allowed to enter or leave its buildings since 25 November 2005,
- whereas Tenzin Delek Rinpoche is still imprisoned and his state of health unknown,
- whereas the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, who visited China from 20 November to 2 December 2005, has confirmed, on the basis of the information he received during his mission, that many methods of torture have been used in China, and believes that the practice of torture remains widespread in China,
- whereas, on Sunday, 4 December 2005, tens of thousands of people took part in a march in Hong Kong to demand a fully democratic system,
- whereas the Chief Executive is currently chosen by a committee made up of about 800 Hong Kong residents selected by the Chinese authorities,
- whereas, according to Articles 45 and 68 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, the selection of the Chief Executive and all members of the Legislative Council should ultimately be by universal suffrage,
- Demands that the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) clarify the circumstances of the death of the young Tibetan Monk Ngawang Jangchub during the ‘patriotic education’ session in October 2005;
- Is deeply concerned about the state of health of the five monks arrested on 23 November 2005 at Drepung Monastery;
- Urges the Government of the PRC to immediately release them from their imprisonment in PSB Detention Centres;
- Calls on the Government of the PRC to provide all the information available concerning their detention conditions with reference, in particular, to the allegations of torture and the possible arrest of more people;
- Urges the Government to suspend the blockade of Drepung Monastery in Lhasa immediately;
- Urges the Chinese authorities to cease the ‘patriotic education’ campaign, to react in a proportionate manner to non-violent protests and not to undermine human rights by the use of physical violence against such protests;
- Calls on the Council and the Commission to make strong representations to the Chinese authorities on this issue within the framework of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue; expects this dialogue to be more effective with a view to bringing about a substantial improvement in the poor human rights record of China;
- Demands once again the immediate release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche;
- Reiterates its call for the abolition of the death penalty and an immediate moratorium on capital punishment in China;
- Urges the Government of the PRC to respond to international calls for improvements in the human rights situation in China and to guarantee freedom of religion, freedom of expression and political freedom, and, especially, to release all prisoners sentenced as a result of their religious activities;
- Calls once more on the Government of the PRC to improve the conditions of imprisonment in its jails, to cease and abolish torture of detainees, to stop the continued violation of the human rights of the Tibetan people and other minorities and ensure that it respects international human-rights standards and principles of humanitarian law;
- Calls on the Council and the Member States to maintain the EU embargo on trade in arms with the PRC and not to weaken the existing restrictions on such arms sales;
- Calls on the Government of the PRC to continue the dialogue with the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama;
- Urges the Conference of Presidents to invite His Holiness the Dalai Lama to address the European Parliament during 2006;
- Recalls that the Hong Kong Basic Law provides for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive ultimately to be elected by universal suffrage;
- Calls on the authorities of Hong Kong to:
- set a timetable for universal suffrage acceptable to all democratic parties and the public,
- abolish the appointment system in the District Council,
- replace corporate voting by individual voting for functional constituencies of the Legislative Council,
- broaden the electorate of the Election Committee;
- Looks forward to seeing the Chief Executive and all members of the Legislative Council elected by means of an electoral system based on the principles of multi-party democracy, accountability of the government to the legislature and genuinely effective governance, which will confer a clear benefit on all the people of Hong Kong;
- Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the UN Secretary General, the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, the Governor of Sichuan Province and the Chief Prosecutor of the Sichuan Provincial People’s Procuratorate.
(1) OJ C 201 E, 18.8.2005, p. 122.
(2) OJ C 247 E, 6.10.2005, p. 158.
(3) Texts Adopted , P6_TA(2005)0416
(4) OJ C 31 E, 5.2.2004, p. 261.
Commission Statement on the situation in Tibet and Hong Kong
The Commission shares the concerns of the European Parliament regarding the human rights situation in China, in particular the detention of monks and closure of monasteries in Tibet as well as constitutional developments in Hong Kong. These issues are very high in the agenda of our dialogue with China.
The Commission also welcomes and supports the GAERC conclusions of 12 December, which voice strong concern over China?s human rights policy and in particular with respect to the rights of minorities.
On 12 December GAERC also approved the Commission?s negotiation mandate for a new partnership and cooperation agreement with China. The mandate also stipulates that a partnership agreement with China will contain a standard clause on human rights.
As regards Hong Kong, the EU supports democracy throughout the world as the best means of creating legitimate, stable, accountable and transparent government, of protecting rights and freedom, and of upholding the rule of law. It supports early and substantial progress towards the ultimate goal of universal suffrage in Hong Kong as set out in the basic law, in line with the wishes of the people of Hong Kong. It is important that we maintain pressure on China to work towards universal suffrage in Hong Kong.
As regards the situation in Tibet, the EU has put Tibet very high on its agenda with China. It has, in particular, mainly focus its attention on the preservation of the cultural, religious and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people. The present situation in the region, which we follow very closely, raises indeed grave concern, especially with respect to the exercise of religious freedom. We are worried to see that the local authorities have imposed a strict framework setting the limits of this exercise and we deplore the recent cases of detention of monks and in particular the blockade of the monastery of Drepung in Lhasa.
We hope that a solution compatible with the Chinese sovereignty and the respects of the Tibetan population will be found soon. In our view, to reach this ultimate goal, there is no other alternative but a peaceful process based on dialogue. We have called for years, and will continue to call, for the establishment of such a dialogue. We therefore fully support the process which has been taking place over the past years between Beijing and the representatives of the Dalai-Lama.
We firmly believe that only such a direct dialogue can be conducive to a lasting solution of the Tibetan issue. In our view, the opening of a direct dialogue should not be made subject to any precondition. On the other hand, the respective parties should refrain from taking any step which would compromise the establishment of a climate of confidence which appears as indispensable if a solution were to be reach.