Berlin/Brussels, 13 September 2020 – On the occasion of their upcoming virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) calls on EU leaders and the German Presidency of the European Council to vigorously raise the situation in Tibet with their counterpart, and to break the silence about the devastating human rights crisis on the “roof of the world”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel will take part in the talks scheduled for Monday.
At the end of August, the Chinese Communist Party’s “7th Work Forum on Tibet”, chaired by Xi Jinping, indicated the Chinese leadership’s decision to continue its policy of absolute control and assimilation in Tibet. Under the imperative of the “sinicization” of Tibetan culture, the Tibetan’s way of life, religion, language or economy, is forced to assimilate into Chinese society. Tibetans who oppose this are relentlessly persecuted, in total violation of international law.
ICT Germany’s Executive Director Kai Müller said: “Tibet is systematically cut off from the outside world. Independent observers, UN experts, diplomats or the media do not have free access to the area, and Tibetans are severely punished when they pass information about the situation in their homeland abroad.” It is crucial to prevent Beijing from hiding its attacks against Tibetan culture and religion behind a wall of silence and propaganda, said Müller, adding that the very survival of the Tibetan culture is under threat.
The International Campaign for Tibet also calls on the European Union to take action on Beijing’s policy in Tibet. “We are calling on the EU to adopt targeted sanctions against Communist Party officials and Chinese government representatives responsible for isolating Tibet, similarly to what has been done in the US with the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. An opening up of Tibet would create transparency and accountability, and would prevent further human rights violations,” said Müller.
ICT EU Policy Director Vincent Metten said: “The EU should use its political capital and reject the ‘alternative government model’ that the CCP is promoting, including in Tibet. Europe is based on shared values that are universal. The Chinese Communist Party openly attacks this universality and undermines the international human rights protection system. Europe’s inaction on Tibet has also helped encourage the Chinese government to commit further breaches of international law, such as in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Europe should implement robust, consistent and ambitious EU policies on China and Tibet. We call on the German government to stand up for the rights of millions of Tibetans.”
The organization proposes five concrete action points, the implementation of which will allow the European Union to actively contribute to improving the situation in Tibet.
The German EU Council Presidency should:
- Publicly and vigorously demand the Chinese government respect the civil and political rights of Tibetans, who are subjected to a system of torture, arbitrary detention and restriction of freedom of expression, religion and assembly
- Demand the respect of religious freedom for all Tibetan Buddhists, including those outside Tibet, and the right of Tibetan Buddhists to decide the succession of the Dalai Lama without interference from the Chinese government
- Urge unfettered and reciprocal access to Tibet for UN experts as well as foreign diplomats, parliamentarians, journalists and non-governmental organizations
- Urge sustainable development and climate-related policies on the Tibetan Plateau that respect the rights of Tibetans and do not lead to mass forced settlement of Tibetan nomads, poverty and cultural uprooting.
- Actively support the resumption of Tibetan-Chinese dialogue.