In advance of the upcoming 24th EU-China Summit, due to take place Dec. 7-8 in Beijing, the International Campaign for Tibet urges the European Union to ensure that the resolution of the Tibet-China conflict features on the agenda.

President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, accompanied by High Representative Josep Borrell, representing the EU, will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang in two separate sessions. This will be the first in-person EU-China Summit since 2019. The focus will be the state of EU-China relations and international issues, including Ukraine and the Middle East.

ICT’s EU Policy Director Vincent Metten said: “Given the strategic importance of Tibet in the wider Asian region, we call on Presidents Michel and von der Leyen to include the unresolved conflict in Tibet and the degradation of the human rights situation of the Tibetan people into the discussions of the EU-China Summit and to urge China to resume the Sino-Tibetan dialogue process.”

Importance of nonviolent resistance

In recent years, the situation in Tibet has gravely deteriorated, particularly after Xi Jinping became President of the People’s Republic of China. Religious and cultural rights, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, as well as social and economic rights, are extensively curtailed. The survival of an authentic and freely striving Tibetan culture is threatened by aggressive policies of “Sinification” implemented by the Chinese government—as illustrated by the boarding school and pre-school system that has separated over 1 million Tibetan children from their families, language and culture.

In its conclusions on China adopted on June 30 this year, the European Council reiterated once again the EU’s concerns regarding China’s overall human rights abuses, as well as on the situation in Tibet. Last month, the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee also adopted a report on EU-China relations that condemns “Chinese assimilationist policies in Tibet that violate the educational, religious, cultural and linguistic rights of the Tibetan people and threaten ultimately to eradicate Tibetan culture and identity.” The EU-China Summit represents an important opportunity to follow up on these issues and to press China for a course change in this area.

In an era marked by escalating violence in regions like the Middle East and Europe, the European Union’s endorsement of the nonviolent struggle for human rights by the Tibetan people assumes critical importance. As conflicts intensify globally and tensions in the region affect not only Taiwan and the South China Sea but also the Himalayan region, championing peaceful advocacy becomes imperative, and the Tibetan commitment to nonviolence stands as a powerful example. By supporting their cause, the EU not only upholds fundamental human rights principles and its core values, but also demonstrates the importance of nonviolent resistance in the face of adversity and promotes peace and stability in this strategic Inner Asian region.