Amsterdam. The International Campaign for Tibet asked the European Parliament to consider the propaganda nature of a delegation from the Tibet Autonomous Region currently visiting Belgium. The delegation, led by TAR government chairman Ragdi, is scheduled to meet the European Parliament leaders in Brussels on March 26, 2002.

In the letter, addressed to European Parliament President Patrick Cox, ICT Europe Director Tsering Jampa, however, said the visit provides an excellent opportunity for the members of the European Parliament to express their concerns about the situation in Tibet directly to the delegation. During the five-day visit, the delegation will have extensive contacts with people from various circles there, Xinhua said on March 24, 2002.

Jampa informed the European Parliament that the visit by the delegation from the Tibet Autonomous Region seems to be part of an ongoing propaganda strategy conducted by the Chinese authorities.

According to a Xinhua report of March 25, 2002, the visit “…is expected to help bridge the ideological gap between the two (the Chinese and European) sides, especially on the issue of separatist movement hawked by the Dalai Lama clique.”

In June 2000 Mr. Zhao Qizheng, head of the Information Office of the State Council, made a major speech on launching a new propaganda strategy on Tibet. He said, “…external publicity on Tibet is an important element of [China’s] external propaganda. It is also a very important element of our struggle against the Dalai clique and hostile western forces.” The TAR delegation includes Mr. Guo Tianlin, head of the TAR propaganda Department; Mr. MA Guanghua (Tibetan Muslim), Vice-President of the Standing Comitee; Mr. Lhapa Phuntsok (Tibetan), Representative of NPC TAR, Director of Institut of Tibetan Studies; Mr. Drubkang Tubden Kedrup (Tibetan) Deputy Director of the Tibetan section of Buddhist Association in China; Mrs. Dekyi (Tibetan), Representative of NPC, Responsible Deputy of Local Government in Shigatse; and Mr. Lobsang (Tibetan), Representaive NPC, Vice-President of Ethnic and Religious Affaires Commission in Lhasa City.

ICT said these Tibetans in the delegation have been carefully selected by the Chinese Communist Party. Some Tibetans simply view them as collaborators, and several of them may be close to what we would consider to be a genuine “collaborator,” Jampa added.

The European Parliament has in the past expressed its support to the plight of the Tibetan people through various resolutions. Recalling its 2000 resolutions, the European Parliament repeatedly urged to uphold the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people and to open the dialogue with the Dalai Lama, without preconditions.

Jampa urged the European Parliament to use this opportunity to question the delegation on issues such as the status of the negotiations initiated by the Dalai Lama to which the Chinese leadership has failed to respond positively.

The delegation is making the visit at the invitation of the European Parliament and the Chamber of Representatives of the Kingdom of Belgium.