"What was perceived in Tibet was a small part of reality," said the German rights chief

China and Germany Hold the 13th Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing, on November 24, 2015. Photo: PRC Foreign Ministry

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Dharamshala — German Human Rights Commissioner Christoph Straesser, who led a delegation to Tibet, said that what his delegation perceived was surely only a small part of reality in Tibet.

Straesser's comment came after Beijing said China and Germany held "candid" and "in-depth" talks during their 13th Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing.

During an interview with the German newspaper Deutsche Welle, Straesser rebuked the Chinese government for showing an 'incorrect perception of reality' during his recent visit to China and Tibet as part of the EU-China human rights dialogue.

The Chinese State-Run Media Xinhua reported on November 25 that the dialogue was attended by top officials of the CCP, holding that the "dialogue was candid, comprehensive, and deep and promoted mutual understanding."

"Both sides exchanged views on new progress and cooperation in the human rights area, human rights and environmental protection, social integration, and human rights and other issues," it claimed.

However, responding to a question on the freedom of religion and language in Tibet, Straesser said: "What we perceived was surely only a small part of reality in this region."

"But given the decades-long discussions held in Germany, there is also the impression that Dalai Lama supporters aren't allowed to freely practice their religion given that the Dalai Lama is seen in China as someone who is allegedly seeking state autonomy for Tibet."

"His supporters are in constant danger of having their rights infringed because of their affiliation. This also leads to more arrests and very unpleasant situations for these people," he added.

Describing the current situation in Tibet as a clear violation of the right to religious freedom, he said, "However, we must take into account that only through persistent dialogue can we achieve that the Chinese government views the Dalai Lama as someone who is not seeking to divide the country."

"We also have to point to the fact that the Dalai Lama is also seen in our region – when he comes to Germany – as a religious leader and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who says he has no intention whatsoever of disentangling Tibet from the People's Republic of China," he said.

The German Human Rights Commissioner also discussed the issue of political prisoners and other Chinese dissidents, including the case of Gao Yu, an outspoken former journalist who was granted medical parole after she was sentenced to seven years in prison in April 2015.

The German delegation paid a visit to Tibet. Beijing said it "hopes the tour will help the German side get a correct and objective understanding of the region."