December 19, 2005

Tibet: High on EU Agenda Together With China

The Commission shares the concerns of the European Parliament regarding the human rights situation in China, in particular the detention of monks and closure of monasteries in Tibet as well as constitutional developments in Hong Kong
In a statement on behalf of Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner, released on December 15, 2005 Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission, said, “we are worried to see that the local authorities have imposed a strict framework setting the limits of this exercise and we deplore the recent cases of detention of monks and particular the blockade of the monastery of Drepung in Lhasa.”

The statement outlined and expressed full support to resolve the Tibetan issue through dialogue and urged PRC for the opening of a direct dialogue without any preconditions.

Following is the full text of the statement:

Commission Statement on the situation in Tibet and Hong Kong

The Commission shares the concerns of the European Parliament regarding the human rights situation in China, in particular the detention of monks and closure of monasteries in Tibet as well as constitutional developments in Hong Kong. These issues are very high in the agenda of our dialogue with China.

The Commission also welcomes and supports the GAERC conclusions of 12 December, which voice strong concern over China’s human rights policy and in particular with respect to the rights of minorities.

On 12 December GAERC also approved the Commission’s negotiation mandate for a new partnership and cooperation agreement with China. The mandate also stipulates that a partnership agreement with China will contain a standard clause on human rights.

As regards Hong Kong, the EU supports democracy throughout the world as the best means of creating legitimate, stable, accountable and transparent government, of protecting rights and freedom, and of upholding the rule of law. It supports early and substantial progress towards the ultimate goal of universal suffrage in Hong Kong as set out in the basic law, in line with the wishes of the people of Hong Kong. It is important that we maintain pressure on China to work towards universal suffrage in Hong Kong.

As regards the situation in Tibet, the EU has put Tibet very high on its agenda with China. It has, in particular, mainly focus its attention on the preservation of the cultural, religious and linguistic identity of the Tibetan people. The present situation in the region, which we follow very closely, raises indeed grave concern, especially with respect to the exercise of religious freedom. We are worried to see that the local authorities have imposed a strict framework setting the limits of this exercise and we deplore the recent cases of detention of monks and in particular the blockade of the monastery of Drepung in Lhasa.

We hope that a solution compatible with the Chinese sovereignty and the respects of the Tibetan population will be found soon. In our view, to reach this ultimate goal, there is no other alternative but a peaceful process based on dialogue. We have called for years, and will continue to call, for the establishment of such a dialogue. We therefore fully support the process which has been taking place over the past years between Beijing and the representatives of the Dalai-Lama.

We firmly believe that only such a direct dialogue can be conducive to a lasting solution of the Tibetan issue. In our view, the opening of a direct dialogue should not be made subject to any precondition. On the other hand, the respective parties should refrain from taking any step which would compromise the establishment of a climate of confidence which appears as indispensable if a solution were to be reach.

 

Source: Phayul