China Aid Association
by Tibet Intergroup
November 12th, 2007
The European Parliamentarian Conference on Tibet in Brussels today expressed deep concern about the continuing violation of the rights of Tibetan people by the Peoples Republic of China, and unanimously called upon the European Union (EU) and national governments of European countries to push for a political settlement of the long standing Sino-Tibetan issue.
More than 200 participants from 20 countries – Members of the European and National parliaments, Members of the EU Commission and the Council, Ambassadors, Human Rights and Environmental activists and Olympic gold-medallists – attended the conference at the European Parliament in Brussels. They were invited by the European Parliament’s Tibet Intergroup.
The conference was opened by President of the Tibet Intergroup, Mr. Thomas Mann and the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Poettering and comprised two workshops on the Tibetan Environmental Situation and on the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. In a statement to the conference, Mr Poettering welcomed the renewed contact between the government of the People’s Republic of China and the envoys of H.H. the Dalai Lama, but urged the Chinese leadership to embark upon earnest and sincere negotiations with the object of finding a just and lasting political solution on Tibet’s Autonomy situation.
“The EU must ensure that the EU and its member States implement effective policies to promote an end to the tragic oppression of the Tibetan people,” said Mr. Mann.
The European Parliamentarian Conference on Tibet adopted two resolutions. The first one highlighted ongoing risks to the health and sustainability of the Tibetan environment, resulting from Chinese government policies, including reckless resource extraction and timber harvesting, social re-engineering that interferes with traditional livelihoods, rapid urbanization and the radical increase of Chinese settlers into Tibet. The resolution raises awareness about the spiritual, cultural, economic, and health significance of the Tibetan environment for the Tibetan people, as well for the people of China, for Tibet’s immediate neighbours and for the world at large.
“The Tibet Intergroup appreciates that Chinese President Hu Jintao has made commitments to addressing environmental issues during the October 2007 17th Party Congress. But there must also come the acknowledgement that it is the Chinese government’s own failure to implement genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people that denies them local communities the opportunity to participate meaningfully in environmental decision-making and to contest environmental projects Tibetans regard as detrimental to their cultural, religious and/or economic interests”, said Thomas Mann.
“We must investigate and utilise NGO, governmental and international environmental programs that can be applied to Tibet and that will provide Tibetans with the opportunity to participate in the management of their environment”, added Mr. Mann.
In its second workshop, the conference participants discussed the upcoming Summer Olympics in Beijing 2008 and the role that previous Olympic Games have contributed to social and political change, and that the 2008 games in Beijing can also represent an opportunity to contribute to positive change in China and Tibet. They underlined that His Holiness, the Dalai Lama has consistently supported the Chinese people’s desire to host the 2008 Olympics.
Dolma Gyari, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, called upon the EP to reaffirm its support for the dialogue between representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government, and its expectation that this dialogue will lead to tangible progress towards a negotiated settlement on the issue of Tibet within the framework of the PRC.”
Speaking on the Sino-Tibetan dialogue, the envoy of the Dalai Lama, Kelsang Gyaltsen said, “the pursuit of international recognition, respect and admiration is a top priority of the Chinese leadership. Without the cooperation, acceptance and deference of the members of the international community this ambition cannot be achieved. World opinion is far from being immaterial to the Chinese leadership.”
Mr. Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director for the International Campaign for Tibet, said that policymakers should call upon their governments to ensure that China’s actions and deeds actively contribute to the realization of the UN Olympics Truce, as passed by the UN General Assembly on 31 October 2007.
The conference participants also called on China to promote the freedom of press and independent reporting for international and domestic journalists. This should include all travel to and reporting from Tibetan areas.
“We intend to sign an official petition to President Hu Jintao urging that all rights to free expression, free religious belief and free association be respected in the run up to the Beijing Games and beyond”, added Mr Mann.
Other speakers at today’s conference included:
Isabel Hilton (UK), columnist for british newspapers, author of “the Search of the Panchen Lama”, editor of a website devoted to climate change and environment;
Penpa Tsering, Member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Director of the Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre;
Peter Stastny MEP, participant of 4 Olympic Games (Winter);
Dieter Baumann, German athlete (1500 m and 5000 m distance), Olympic Medallist, gold medal winner of 5000 m at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
“This conference has provided an inspiring platform for supporters of Tibet to meet and discuss the challenges facing the Tibetan Issue”, said Ms. Tsering Jampa, Director of International Campaign for Tibet Europe. “We appreciate the engagement of policymakers all across Europe on the Tibet issue and for adopting the strong resolutions that encourage the Tibetan people to continue their non-violent struggle towards freedom”, she added.
The conference was organized by the European Parliament’s Intergroup for Tibet, in association with Bureau du Tibet, Brussels, and the International Campaign for Tibet Europe.
Please contact for more information:
Mr. Thomas Mann, President of the Tibet Intergroup
Tel: +32 – 2 – 2 84 53 18
Ms. Tsering Jampa, Executive Director, International Campaign for Tibet Europe
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]