Published online June 3, 2013 by Public Service Europe.
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The people of the Baltic know what it is to face political persecution, so the Lithuanian EU presidency would be an appropriate time to facilitate engagement between the Dalai Lama and China

The Tibet issue is a litmus test for the European Union, Lithuanian MEP Leonidas Donskis observed as the Baltic country assumed the six-monthly rotating presidency of the Council of the EU this week. Since February 2009, some 120 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in one of the biggest waves of self-immolation as political protest globally in half a century.

Tibetans are on the frontline of a life and death struggle to protect their religious identity. Yet despite enduring almost unbearable oppression since the Chinese took over Tibet more than 60 years ago, Tibetans have not turned to violence, and remain steadfast in their peaceful resistance due to the influence of their revered exiled leader the Dalai Lama. Donskis said: “Tibet is a role model of soft power, and we celebrate the Dalai Lama as a similar historic figure to Sakharov, Vaclav Havel, and Nelson Mandela. The EU should act in a much more decisive way [to support Tibet].”

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