Letter to European Heads of Government about Xi Jinping’s European Tour, 24 March to 1 April.
10 March 2014
Dear Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo of Belgium, President Francois Hollande of France and Presidents of the European Council, Parliament and Commission, Herman Van Rompuy, Michael Schulz and José Manuel Barroso.
We are writing to you from a global coalition of Tibet Groups, ahead of the visit to Europe by China’s President, to appeal to each of you to ensure Tibet is discussed as part of your formal agenda during meetings with Xi Jinping.
As you will be aware, the situation in Tibet is critical. Since 2009 at least 127* Tibetans in Tibet have set fire to their bodies in acts of protest against China’s brutal Tibet policies. Most recently, on 13 February 2014, a 25 year-old former monk named Lobsang Dorjee set himself alight in Ngaba. He and well over 100 of these protesters have died. (* since this letter was sent to European leaders, there have been two further self-immolation protests, bringing the total to 129. See www.unitefortibet.org)
China’s unacceptable policies inflict widespread, systematic repression across Tibet, affecting Tibetans’ everyday lives. Egregious policies in Tibet include Beijing’s interference in religious practice, the use of the Tibetan language in education, the removal of millions of Tibet’s nomads from their ancestral grasslands, the implementation of Patriotic re-‐education campaigns, and the widespread vilification of the Dalai Lama.
Since Xi Jinping became President of China one year ago, he has shown no sign of changing course in Tibet. Instead he has continued down the same path as previous generations, implementing a harsh military crackdown, which -‐ far from achieving the stability he seeks -‐ serves to exacerbate Tibetan grievances and heighten tensions, creating widespread resistance right across Tibet. As was apparent during China’s Universal Periodic Review in October 2013, China refuses to accept any grounds for international concern about Tibet.
At this critical time, a diplomatic solution must be sought by the international community to ensure the serious political situation in Tibet is addressed, and solutions are found to address legitimate Tibetan grievances.
We urge you to make Tibet a formal part of your agenda with Xi Jinping, and we call on you directly to:
● Make a public statement during Xi Jinping’s visit in support of the people of Tibet, calling on the Chinese President to resolve the Tibet issue swiftly and peacefully.
● Urge Xi Jinping to resume dialogue with representatives of the exiled leadership, to advance discussions towards a lasting solution to the issue of Tibet.
● Press China to set a date for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Tibet, including unfettered access to all Tibetan areas, as a matter of urgency.
Alison Reynolds, Executive Director, on behalf of Member Groups of the International Tibet Network:
Aide aux Refugies Tibetains
Association Lions des Neiges Mont-‐Blanc
Briancon 05 Urgence Tibet
Comite de Soutien au Peuple Tibetain – Les Lilas
Drôme Ardèche – Tibet
Groupe Non-‐Violent Louis Lecoin
Jamtse Thundel Association
Maison des Himalayas
Maison du Tibet – Tibet Info
Nos Amis de l’Himalaya
Reseau International des Femmes pour le Tibet
Students for a Free Tibet
Tibet 59 / 62
Tibet Liberte Solidarite
Tsowa – Maintenir la Vie
Tibet Support Groep Nederland
TSG Free Tibet And You
Les Amis du Tibet
Lungta Association Belgium
Tibetaanse-‐Vlaamse Vriendenkring vzw
Vrienden van Tibet
Association of Tibetans in Germany
Tibet Initiative Deutschland
Tibetisches Zentrum Hamburg
Tibets Kinder im Exil e.V.