In response to an outpouring of concern from European citizens about Tibet, the European Commission has issued a statement expressing its concern regarding the situation of human rights in Tibet and also extending its support to the ongoing dialogue between Dharamsala and Beijing.

The statement by the European Commission follows:

June 15, 2004

The European Commission shares European citizens’ concern regarding the situation of human rights in Tibet, in particular the preservation of its cultural, religious and linguistic identity.

Indeed, for some time the European Union has conducted a dialogue on human rights with China and has regularly addressed – and will continue to address – the issue of Tibet in this framework, as well as at the highest political level, such as bilateral Summits. In the context of this dialogue the EU, which has put freedom of speech, association and religion very high on its agenda, has regularly brought to the attention of the Chinese authorities the cases of persons who have been sentenced for having expressed their opinion or their belief. Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche is one of these. Earlier this year, the EU officially requested information from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on his whereabouts and state of health, expressed expectations that the death sentence will not be upheld and asked for judicial review of the case.

As part of its overall policy vis-a-vis Tibet, the European Union has called for years for the establishment of a direct dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese authorities as the only realistic way to find a lasting solution to the question of Tibet. The EU has therefore considered positive the two first visits to China of the Dalai Lama’s special envoys and will continue pressing for the strengthening and deepening of this ongoing process.