The European Parliament condemned the current crackdown in Tibet and called on the Chinese government to re-open dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s envoys on the basis of the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy presented by Tibetan representatives to Beijing. The strong statements were made during a Public Hearing on Tibet in the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament yesterday (March 31).
The draft report was prepared by Raimon Obiols i Germà (PES, ES) on behalf of the EP’s Human Rights Subcommittee and was adopted by the Foreign Affairs Committee by 41 votes to 1 with 5 abstentions.
Here is an extract from the report on China and Tibet – (The European Parliament)
Regrets China’s postponement of the eleventh China-EU summit on the grounds of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Europe; emphasises the need for a radical intensification and re-thinking of the European Union-China human rights dialogue; expresses its disquiet at the serious human rights violations in China and stresses that, despite promises made by the regime before the Olympic Games in August 2008, the situation on the ground regarding human rights has not improved; points out, moreover, that restrictions on freedom of association, expression and religion have been further tightened; strongly condemns the crackdown against Tibetans following the wave of protests that swept across Tibet beginning on 10 March 2008 and the repression by the Chinese government that has increased in Tibet since then, and calls for the restart of a sincere and results-oriented dialogue between both parties based on the “Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People”; notes that, despite repeated assurances by the Chinese government of its intention to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratification is still pending; refers to its resolution of 17 January 2008 on the arrest of the Chinese dissident Hu Jia1, who has been awarded the 2008 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought; calls on the Chinese government to release Hu Jia immediately and to lift the house arrest on his wife Zeng Jinyan and his daughter; condemns the wave of repression against signatories of the ‘Charter 08’, a document calling for democratic reforms in China and demanding the release of Liu Xiaobo, a dissident who has been detained since 9 December 2008; expresses concern that the legal system remains vulnerable to arbitrary and often politically-motivated interference, including the State Secrets system, preventing the transparency necessary for the development of good governance and a system in which the rule of law prevails; in this context, deplores the systematic punishment of lawyers who try to make the Chinese legal system function in accordance with China’s own laws and the rights of its citizens; notes the persisting frailty of internet freedom in China, and in this respect asks European businesses providing an internet content hosting service to refrain from disclosing to any foreign official any information that personally identifies a particular user of the service in question save for legitimate foreign law-enforcement purposes in compliance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
On the same day, a public hearing on Tibet was organized in the Foreign Affairs Committee: “Tibet: An update on the current situation after the breakdown of negotiations with China”.
Three speakers took the floor at the hearing, namely:
Katia Bufetrille, an ethnologist and tibetologist, at l’Ecole pratique des hautes études (EPHE), University of Paris gave an historical and cultural perspective of the sino-tibetan relations;
Kelsang Gyaltsen, Envoy of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama presented an evaluation of the state of negotiations between the Envoys of the Dalai Lama and the Government of the People’s Republic of China;
And Dr Michael C. van Walt van Praag, Executive President of Kreddha, the International Peace Council for States, Peoples and Minorities and professor of international law spoke about the position of Chinese government and international legal perspective of the Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy.
Around 100 participants were present at the hearing and different European Deputies took the floor to express their concern about the lack of progress in the dialogue process and the unwillingness of the Government of PRC to consider the Tibetan Memorandum as a basis for future negotiation. The Foreign Committee confirmed that it would continue to closely monitor the situation in Tibet and the dialogue process.
The program and working documents of the hearing are available at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/organes/afet/afet_20090331_1715_audition.htm
On March 29 in Beijing. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU.’s External Relations Commissioner said she discussed Tibet in talks with China’s Vice President Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi She said the Chinese tone was less angry than before, but there was no sign of any change in Beijing’s hardline attitude toward contact with the exiled Tibetan leader. Referring to the “Memorandum of Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People submitted by the Tibetan side during the 8th round of dialogue, Ferrero-Waldner said, “For a long time, the Chinese wanted to see a written position.”
Read the Statement as prepared for delivery by Kelsang Gyaltsen, Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs
31 March 2009 – Brussels