9th Jul 2020

EU leaders urged to speak out on China

European leaders should not shy away from criticising China's recent crackdown on protests in Tibet out of fear of damaging economic relations with Beijing, the speaker of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile has said.

"Tibetans in Tibet today at the risk of their life (...) are voicing their resentment against Chinese rule. They are doing this at the cost of their lives thinking that the European countries who have the political power, who have the economical power (...) will speak up," Karma Chophel said in Brussels on Wednesday (26 March).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Tibet's parliament in exile (Photo: Asaf)

"The European leaders should not compromise economics with morality, with lives of innocent people."

He said that Tibet's government-in-exile had "reliable sources" within Tibet, who could confirm that 135 people have been killed, while 1,000 other people have been injured and 400 arrested during the clashes with Chinese forces in the last two weeks.

But he added that given the difficulty of obtaining information, the figures could actually be ten times higher.

Tibetans see the Himalayan region as "occupied and colonised" by China since 1959.

Some two weeks ago, after several days of anti-government protests led by Tibetan monks, violence erupted in Tibet's capital Lhasa prompting international condemnation, as well as protests and demonstrations.

Speaking at a press conference in the European Parliament, Mr Chophel made several pleas to the international community, including to stop "the killings of innocent Tibetans" and to free those arrested during the protests.

He also called for the setting up of an independent international observation group to go to Tibet "to see what the situation really is like there".

"We try to awake the conscience of the international community to the happenings in Tibet [as] the situation is very urgent. It is a crisis situation", Mr Chophel said.

The Olympics must go on

But Mr Chophel was against a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as suggested by some NGOs.

"The Olympics must go on, they should take place" as planned and must be used "to force China to conform with international rules", he added.

"The more China is involved in international activities, the more they should be morally bound to conform to international rules and laws."

As for boycotting the opening or closing ceremonies of the Games as suggested by some, including French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr Chophel said this should be "left to individuals and countries to decide according to their conscience."

On Tuesday, Mr Sarkozy did not rule out that he would stay away from the opening of the Olympics, while Belgian Vice Prime Minister Didier Reynders on Wednesday told Belgian daily Le Soir that "we can never exclude the worst [option]."

Eminent women appeal for EU help on Palestine

West Bank annexation "was conceived almost entirely by men" and will crush the "dignity and rights" of Palestinian women still further, a group of 40 women leaders have said.

New Cairo activist case prompts wave of Italy demos

Four years after the killing of an Italian activist in Cairo, Italian cities are mobilising to highlight the fate of Patrick Zaki, imprisoned since February for "inciting protest through his Facebook profile".

News in Brief

  1. Rushdie, Fukuyama, Rowling warn against 'intolerance'
  2. Clashes in Belgrade after new lockdown measures
  3. US passes milestone of 3m coronavirus infections
  4. France wary of any future lockdowns
  5. Lithuania bans Kremlin-linked Russia Today programmes
  6. UK nominates Liam Fox for WTO top job
  7. Italy supports Spain's Calviño for Eurogroup job
  8. France and Germany warn Israel on annexation 'consequences'


Entering a new, more Putin-like, Russia

The so-called "all-Russia" vote finishing today, with more than 200 amendments to the Russian constitution, has been marked by systematic electoral fraud, mass mobilisation of the administrative resources, populistic promises or exploiting the historical memory.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Five ideas to reshape 'Conference on Future of Europe'
  2. EU boosts pledges to relocate minors from Greece
  3. Hydrogen strategy criticised for relying on fossil fuel gas
  4. Merkel urges EU unity to hold off economic fallout and populism
  5. The opportunistic peace
  6. EU mulls new system to check illegal pushbacks of migrants
  7. EU forecasts deeper recession, amid recovery funds row
  8. Revealed: fossil-fuel lobbying behind EU hydrogen strategy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us