“The selection of religious leaders should happen without any government interference and in respect of religious norms.” So said the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, adding that, “In the framework of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, the European External Action Service has repeatedly expressed the position that China needed to respect the succession process of the Dalai Lama.”

Borrell, the EU’s high representative of the union for foreign affairs, was answering a parliamentary question tabled earlier in the year by a group of five members of the European Parliament from four political factions.