On the occasion of the Czech Republic Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which starts July 1, the International Campaign for Tibet and Czechs Support Tibet have called on the Czech government to promote a new EU China policy with human rights at its center.
In a briefing paper titled “The impacts of the war in Ukraine on EU-China relations – The need for a new EU human rights policy on China and on the muted conflict in Tibet,” released in advance of the Czech Presidency, the two organizations note how the new geopolitical context calls for a new EU policy on China and Tibet.
The war in Ukraine indeed showed Europeans and the EU why safeguarding international law and promoting democracy, the rule of law, freedom and human rights deserve to be foreign policy priorities above short-term economic gain. It is high time the EU reassessed the way it views and handles the issue of Tibet, and the Czech EU Presidency presents an important opportunity to achieve this.
ICT EU Policy Director Vincent Metten said: “The Czech people, who also experienced life under a repressive communist regime, maintain a strong sense of solidarity with those whose freedoms are restricted, not just in China and Tibet, but everywhere in the world. The Czech Republic can therefore certainly promote a strong and united position of the European Union to advance human rights in China and Tibet during the six months of its EU Presidency.”
The briefing paper was presented on 27-28 June in Prague to senior representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as to members of the Czech Parliament Hayato Josef Okamura, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Chamber of Deputies and Chair of the Tibet Support Group, and Marek Hilser, Member of the Senate and its Tibet Support Group. The report was also discussed with experts from Sinopsis and the European Values for Security Policy, two Czech think tanks.
In the latest self-immolation protest against Chinese rule in Tibet, an 81-year-old Tibetan named Taphun set himself on fire in the early morning on 27 March 2022. After two years without any known self-immolations in Tibet, Taphun is the second person confirmed to have self-immolated this year in protest against the Chinese government after Tsewang Norbu, a 25-year-old Tibetan singer, adopted the same form of protest in Lhasa on 25 February 2022. Since 2009, 159 Tibetans have committed self-immolation in Tibet.
The Czech Republic can certainly promote a strong and united position of the European Union to advance human rights in China and Tibet during the six months of its EU Presidency, and the International Campaign for Tibet and Czechs Support Tibet would like to make the five following recommendations in this regard.
Five action points
ICT and Czechs Support Tibet call on the Czech EU Presidency to:
- Promote an EU position on Tibet that is in line with its international legal status and international law
- Extend EU sanctions against Chinese individuals and entities responsible for human rights violations in Tibet
- Adopt an EU public statement opposing Chinese government interference in the succession of the Dalai Lama
- Link the ratification of the EU-China Investment Agreement (CAI) to implementation by China of the International Labour Organisation’s conventions against forced labor
- Play an active role in the resolution of the Sino-Tibetan conflict.
- Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director, International Campaign for Tibet — firstname.lastname@example.org / Cell: +32 473 990440
- Katerina Bursikova Jacques, Czechs Support Tibet — email@example.com / Cell: +420 603 167 937