Thursday

19th Sep 2019

Dalai Lama to Ashton: send EU diplomats to Tibet

  • The Dalai Lama visited the European Parliament in 2008 (Photo: European Parliament)

The Dalai Lama has urged foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton to keep asking China for EU diplomats to visit Tibet.

"The situation in Tibet is very desperate. It is urgent that the international community sends fact-finding delegations to the Tibetan area to investigate the situation on the ground. This will have a restraining influence on the Chinese authorities," he said in written remarks sent to EUobserver during his visit to Prague on Monday (12 December).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"Should the Chinese side reject the request, the EU could issue a strong statement of deep concern and raise the issue at international fora, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council."

He noted that China cares about its international reputation and is not immune from Arab-Spring-type events.

"As powerful as China may be, she is still part of this world and cannot escape the global trend toward more freedom and democracy. The international perception of China is of great importance to the Chinese leadership - China has the ambition to play a leading role in the world."

Ashton's diplomats say they have already made formal requests to visit the disputed region.

But China's man in charge of Tibet, vice-minister Zhu Weiqun, at a rare meeting with press in Brussels also on Monday, ruled out the possibility.

"China is an independent country and we have the full capacity to handle problems on our territory. So under no circumstances will we allow foreign fact-finding missions into the Tibetan autonomous region ... I don't believe that the interference of any foreign force could achieve anything constructive. Indeed it could very well lead to an escalation of the crisis and to wars," he told this website.

He made a veiled reference to the EU's need for Chinese financial assistance.

"EU-China relations are all the more important due to the financial crisis ... I don't see why at this point in EU-China relations the EU lets so many people point fongers at China's internal affairs. I don't recall China finger-pointing at EU affairs."

Addressing a European External Action Service (EEAS) official at the meeting, Francesco Magiello, Zhu said Ashton should rebuke MEPs for meeting with the Tibetan prime-minister-in-exile, Lobsang Sangay, in November.

"I do hope that from the EU institutions some efforts could be made to persuade those people who have a habit of making irresponsible remarks against China to learn more about this issue instead of pointing fingers," he said.

The official narrative on Tibet is that China in 1951 "liberated" the region from feudalism and has over the past six decades created economic prosperity.

Zhu on Monday accused Western governments of funding the Dalai Lama's India-based movement to weaken China for strategic reasons.

He called the Dalai Lama a "savage" who gets young monks to set themselves on fire to provoke anti-Chinese feeling. He added that Chinese intelligence has evidence the head-in-exile of the Kirti monastery in Tibet, Kirti Rinpoche, organised three of the 12 recent self-immolations. He also said a "Dalai Lama group" in Taiwan recently published an article saying monks who kill themselves will be reincarnated as Buddhas.

For his part, Magiello sided with the Dalai Lama and international NGOs, such as Human Rights Watch, who see the self-immolations as a reaction to Chinese repression.

"We are concerned about the recent cases of self-immolations because these in our view seem to reflect the desperation of some Tibetan people regarding the erosion of Tibetan culture," he said.

He declined to use the Chinese formula of "so-called prime minister" for Lobsang Sangay, calling him instead the "prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile."

Dalai Lama envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen told EUobserver that China tries to pin inflammatory statements made by some exiled Tibetans on the official movement in order to discredit its non-violent credo.

When asked by EUobserver to show it a copy of the pro-self-immolation article mentioned by Zhu, the spokesman for the Chinese EU mission, Wang Xining, said: "The ... article is difficult to locate on internet. Sorry."

Focus

Leaked cable shows fragility of EU arms ban on China

With EU talks on lifting the arms embargo on China expected to revive after the summer break, a freshly-leaked US cable shows how close the union recently came to dropping the ban.

EU diplomats to tweet and blog for human rights

EU foreign relations chief Ashton wants member states to permanently post human rights experts to Brussels and to use social media to talk to foreign activists in what she calls "digital diplomacy."

News in Brief

  1. EU adds €100m to research and Erasmus budgets
  2. Ambassador: UK Poles should 'seriously considering' leaving
  3. Trump's UK ambassador stirs up anti-EU feeling
  4. Brexit chaos is lesson to other EU states, ECB governor says
  5. EU condemns Israel's latest land grab
  6. Scotland to keep some laws aligned with EU after Brexit
  7. Spain to hold fresh election in November
  8. Turkey ups pressure on visa-free entry into EU

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. A new Commission for the one percent
  2. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'
  3. Germany adopts blockchain strategy and says no to Libra
  4. Revanchist Russia continues to rewrite European history
  5. How EU trains discriminate against the disabled
  6. These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission
  7. Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs
  8. Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us