BERLIN — The Human Rights Committee in the German Bundestag today issued a declaration sharply criticizing the policies of the Chinese Communist Party in Tibet and recalling the controversial end of Tibet’s de facto independence 70 years ago.

The declaration passed with votes from the governing CDU/CSU and SPD, and opposition parties FDP and Alliance 90/The Greens, to commemorate the signing of the controversial 17-Point Agreement between China and Tibet on May 23, 1951.

The International Campaign for Tibet welcomes the committee statement and underlines the urgency of the situation in Tibet and the need for a solution based on the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way Approach.

ICT welcomes the clear and joint positioning of both the governing as well as important opposition parties.

Declaration

Below is a translation of the declaration by the International Campaign for Tibet:

Declaration by the Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid on the signing of the 17-Point Agreement between the government of the People’s Republic of China and representatives of the then Tibetan government 70 years ago

On May 23, 1951, the signing of the controversial 17-Point Agreement ended the de facto independence of Tibet. The signing of the agreement was also forced upon under pressure from the Chinese military that had occupied Tibet in previous years, beginning in 1949.

While the Chinese government, under the leadership of the Communist Party (CP), describes and celebrates the signing of the 17-Point Agreement to this day as a peaceful liberation, the Tibetans see themselves at the mercy of the Communist Party, with far-reaching restrictions and violations of their fundamental rights. In March 1959, the Tibetan uprising was bloodily suppressed. The Dalai Lama had to leave his homeland and fled to India.

Since then, and in contradiction to the content of the 17-Point Agreement, the Chinese Communist Party has continued its strategy of assimilation and sinicization, towards Tibetans as well as towards other minorities in other regions of the People’s Republic of China. The contract provided for inter alia the autonomy of Tibet with a view to maintaining its political system and a guarantee for the status, functions and powers of the Dalai Lama. In addition, the agreement guaranteed the protection of the religious beliefs and customs of the Tibetan people.

Today the culture, traditional way of life, language, identity and religion of the Tibetans are threatened. Contrary to the treaty, the Tibetan political system has been completely abolished. The 17-Point Agreement only served to expand the power of the Chinese Communist Party, not for peaceful and equal coexistence. The peaceful resistance of the Tibetan people against the deliberate deprivation of rights urgently needs more attention and support worldwide.

The secular and spiritual leadership of the Tibetans has chosen the path of peace over and over again in the past 70 years of violent repression. The Dalai Lama’s “middle way” is an opportunity to avoid possible future conflicts.

The Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid of the German Bundestag supports the non-violent path of the Tibetan people to express their will for self-determination in this way and calls on the Chinese government again to respect the human rights of the Tibetans as well as their culture and religion and finally to guarantee this, as provided for in the 17-Point Agreement and as it is guaranteed in the constitution of the People’s Republic of China.

The human rights violations against all religious and ethnic minorities in the People’s Republic of China and the massive encroachments on religious and cultural life as well as personal freedom must be stopped immediately. The committee calls on the Chinese government to immediately end the repression against the Tibetan people and to resume dialogue with the legitimate representatives of the Tibetans.

The Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid Committee expresses its harsh criticism of the systematic human rights violations in China. The committee will not cease in its commitment to repeatedly address these human rights violations and to vehemently demand an improvement in the human rights situation in China.

View the declaration (German language) on the website of the German Bundestag.

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