tibet-post-header

Tibet: News International MEPs raise Tibet issue at EU-China Tourism Year debate in Strasbourg

MEPs raise Tibet issue at EU-China Tourism Year debate in Strasbourg

E-mail Print

Tibet-EU-EP-StrasbourgStrasbourg — Calling on China to re-initiate talks with the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and condemning the serious human rights violations in Tibet, members of European Parliament (MEPs) recently have strongly raised the issue of Tibet at the European Parliament (EP) based in Strasbourg.

The MEPs raised the issue of observing EU-China Tourism Year along with the European Year of Cultural Heritage on Thursday, November 16, 2017. MEP Molly Scott-Cato called upon Beijing to re-initiate talks with the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She also brought up the issue of why tourism is being prioritized over human rights with the background of the serious human rights violations in Tibet, highlighting how economic interests have overtaken those of human rights.

Scott-Cato spoke of the repressive regime and its "blatant disregard for human rights." "My own choice would be to avoid visiting an occupied country that is being deprived of its right to self determination and I would urge others to follow this policy," she added.

Speaking on the topic of the controversial sponsorship deal between Tibet Water Resources and Liverpool Football Club, she said, "Such commercial agreements not only lend legitimacy to China's occupation of Tibet but are in fact only possible because of it."

Another MEP, Csaba Sogor spoke of the severity of the human rights violations in Tibet. Sogor further questioned the morality and ethicality of celebrating a tourism agreement with China, which is not in line with the EU's universal and foreign policy values. He spoke about the "draconian surveillance measures" that exist in the region.

Speaking about the repressive state of Tibet, he said that if foreigners were to enter the city of Lhasa, they'd find themselves in a place "where many Tibetans set themselves on fire because they are denied their basic fundamental rights ;where detentions, prosecutions and convictions of Tibetans for the peaceful exercise of their freedoms of expression, assembly, and religious belief are carried out in alarming numbers."

Scott-Cato is Vice-President of Tibet Interest Group (TIG) and Sogor is also a member of TIG. Both have been at the forefront of every campaign in the EP on the issue of Tibet for numerous years.

"There's a deep irony that both the EU-China Tourism Year and the European Year of Cultural Heritage will take place next year. We will celebrate and promote European cultural diversity, while at the same time working to "improve opportunities to increase economic cooperation" (as the European Commission phrased it) with a regime that represses such diversity in its own territory – often with the utmost brutality and blatant disregard for human rights," Scott-Cato said in her statement to the EP.

"I'm thinking particularly of Tibet where culture and religion have been the target of relentless oppression while at the same time their remnants are being used to boost Chinese tourism. My own choice would be to avoid visiting an occupied country that is being deprived of its right to self determination and I would urge others to follow this policy," she said.

"While many Tibetans themselves are not permitted to travel freely and while many Tibetans live in extreme poverty, the Chinese state sponsored tourism industry reaps the benefits of the appropriation of Tibetan culture and history. In fact, Tibetans are rarely employed by this industry and are not even required to give their consent to huge infrastructure projects aimed at boosting tourism," her statement reads.

"In July this year, Liverpool FC signed a controversial sponsorship deal with Tibet Water Resources Limited that exploits the natural resources of Tibet to the detriment of the local population and the environment. Such commercial agreements not only lend legitimacy to China's occupation of Tibet but are in fact only possible because of it," she stated.

Scott-Cato further said that "This sponsorship deal puts the club and the city in the centre of China's on-going occupation of Tibet. I know this does not reflect either the fans or the city and urge the club to reconsider this poorly thought-through deal. However, we also need to think about whether this is the kind of reckless international economic cooperation we want to promote at the EU level."

"The unfortunate timing of the EU-China Tourism Year sends a signal that economic interests are, once again, being prioritised over human rights. Instead, I urge the Commission to put human rights issues firmly on the agenda with our international partners – for example by calling on Beijing to restart talks with the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama that have stalled since 2010," she added.

"I think that at least once or twice in our lives many of us have already been confronted with the question whether traveling to a country where human rights are violated is ethical or not. I believe that, as in most issues, it is the scale, the severity of the violation that matters. Even though many countries across the globe are far from perfect in this regard, China still stands out," Csaba Sogor said in his statement to the EP.

"But even in China there are regions that stand out. Let's take the case of scenic Tibet, which is at the rock-bottom of the freedom ranking list of Freedom House, a place where civil and political rights are non-existent. Now, let's suppose that Tibet – for a while is not shut before foreign tourists, let's suppose that with your passport – something most Tibetans are not allowed to have – you can visit the region," Sogor said.

"Let's suppose that as a foreigner you can get past through police road checks and you can enter Lhasa, a city which ordinary Tibetans from outside the city are restricted to access," the MEP stressed, while explaining how the Chinese government has imposed it's authoritarian rule and repressive policies in Tibet.

You would find yourself in a place where:
• draconian surveillance measures are implemented to enforce the so-called "stability" of the region,
• where detentions, prosecutions and convictions of Tibetans for the peaceful exercise of their freedoms of expression, assembly, and religious belief are carried out in alarming numbers,
• where many Tibetans set themselves on fire because they are denied their basic fundamental rights,
• or where state policies encourage migration from other parts of China in order to reduce the ethnic Tibetan share of the population. In the light of these I firmly believe that the conclusion of a tourism agreement with China, without a single human rights reference is not ethical, nor is it in line with our universal and foreign policy values.

 


......


Elderly Tibetan monk dies after setting himself ablaze in Tibet

Elderly Tibetan monk dies after setting himself ablaze in Tibet

Dharamshala — An elderly Tibetan monk re...

CPC starts mandatory training on 19th Congress party in Tibet

CPC starts mandatory training on 19th Congress party in Tibet

Dharamshala — Reports from Tibet reveal ...

About 50% of glaciers in Tibet already disappeared: Tibetan President

About 50% of glaciers in Tibet already disappeared: Tibetan President

Dharamshala — “About 50% of Tibet’s glac...

Tibetans in Tibet are real masters of Tibet: His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Tibetans in Tibet are real masters of Tibet: His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Dharamshala — Holiness the Dalai Lama sa...

Prayer festival cancelled as religious oppression in Tibet continues

Prayer festival cancelled as religious oppression in Tibet continues

Dharamshala — Continuing the rampant opp...

Tibet's iconic Potala Palace to be renovated: Chinese state-run media

Tibet's iconic Potala Palace to be renovated: Chinese state-run media

Dharamshala — Chinese state-run media Xi...

China claims to have built the best looking highway in occupied Tibet

China claims to have built the best looking highway in occupied Tibet

Dharamshala, India — Claiming the best l...

">
Currency: