On the occasion of the Czech Republic assuming the Presidency of the Council of the EU, participants in a conference on Tibet and Europe in the Senate of the Czech Republic expressed the need to reassess the policy of the EU and its member states on the legal status of Tibet, particularly in light of the war in Ukraine and China’s disregard of international norms.
“The fact that members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile participated in an official Czech EU Presidency event is remarkable and shows the level of support and friendship between the people of the Czech Republic and Tibet” said Wangpo Tethong, Executive Director of the International Campaign for Tibet Europe.
Czech Senate conference
The conference, “What can the Czech Republic and the European Union do to address the crisis in Tibet?” was presided over by the Vice-Presidents of the Czech Senate, Ms. Jitka Seitlová and Mr. Jiří Oberfalzer. It explored concrete ways for the EU to support the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom and democracy and to speak the truth about Tibet, which contrary to the Chinese government’s narrative has historically never been part of China and is an occupied country under international law.
The members of the Tibetan parliamentary delegation underlined this by presenting to the host of the event a copy of the passport carried by members of the Tibetan trade mission of 1947.
The Czech government was represented by Jiří Kozák, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Marek Havrda, Deputy Minister for European Affairs as well as by Members of the Chamber of Deputies. Balázs Gargya spoke on behalf of the European External Action Service (EEAS).
Ideas for new initiatives
A delegation of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile present at the event, consisting of Tenpa Yarphel, Youdon Aukatsang and Wangdu Dorjee, furthermore presented a number of ideas for parliamentary and governmental initiatives, including the creation of an EU Special Coordinator for Tibetan affairs in Brussels, the adoption of Magnitsky Act-like legislation in EU countries, the joint condemnation of human rights violations in Tibet in multilateral fora like the UN Human Rights Council and support for the resumption of talks between Beijing and the Tibetan side.
The unanimous opinion prevailed that Europe and China have reached a crossroad and new approaches need to be explored as China is increasingly perceived as a threat to European security. A more systematic support for Tibet could be seen as a test case for reasserting democratic principles and values of international cooperation by Europe.
This conference was organized by the Czech Senate in cooperation with the Friends of Tibet Group in the Senate, the International Campaign for Tibet, Czechs Support Tibet, Sinopsis and European Values Center for Security Policy.