A senior US official has cited Tibet as an issue where the United States and the European Union can partner on “common strategic engagement” in Asia. In remarks at a December 11 European Union human rights day event in Washington, DC, Under Secretary of State and Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues Maria Otero observed that “European governments, including Germany, UK, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Poland, have joined the call for Chinese authorities to address the worsening human rights conditions in Tibetan areas.” (The remarks were delivered by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dan Baer, as Otero was necessarily absent.) The excerpt on Tibet from Otero’s remarks is included below.
“The State Department’s carefully chosen term ‘common strategic engagement’ used to describe the US-EU approach on Tibet indicates that Tibet is an essential element of a common calculus on the all-important China relationship. It is appropriate that the State Department publicly emphasized the crisis in Tibet on Human Rights Day, and gratifying that its strong commitment to Tibet is also seen by the EU as strategic to pursuing American and European interests in Asia,” said Mary Beth Markey, ICT President.
This is Under Secretary Otero’s second statement on the crisis in Tibet in a week. On December 6, she released a statement calling on Chinese authorities to address the root causes of the Tibetan self-immolations.
For a list of government statements on the self-immolation crisis in Tibet, click here »
Under Secretary Otero’s Keynote Remarks at the European Union’s Human Rights Day Event »
December 11, 2012
› Daniel Baer, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
› EU Mission To The United States, Washington, DC
And we look to our European allies to help improve security and build new relationships in Asia. As Secretary Clinton said, “our pivot to Asia is not a pivot away from Europe. On the contrary, we want Europe to engage more in Asia along with us, to see the region not only as a market, but as a focus of common strategic engagement.”
And as a good example, European governments, including Germany, UK, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Poland, have joined the call for Chinese authorities to address the worsening human rights conditions in Tibetan areas.
The United States is deeply concerned and saddened by the continuing violence in Tibetan areas of China and the increasing frequency of self-immolations by Tibetans.
Chinese authorities have responded to these tragic incidents with measures that tighten already strict controls on the freedoms of religion, expression, assembly and association of Tibetans. Official rhetoric that denigrates the Tibetan language, the Dalai Lama, and those that have self-immolated has further exacerbated tensions.
The United States government has consistently urged the Chinese government to address policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions. These policies include increasingly severe government controls on Tibetan Buddhist religious practice and monastic institutions; education practices that undermine the preservation of Tibetan language; intensive surveillance, arbitrary detentions and disappearances of Tibetans, including youth and Tibetan intellectual and cultural leaders; escalating restrictions on news, media and communications; and the use of force against Tibetans seeking peacefully to exercise their universal human rights.