Tibet Uprising Day 2017

Brussels, 10. March 2017

1959 Tibetan Uprising Day – Demonstration

Dear Tibetans,

dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

dear friends of the Tibetan Community in Belgium and from all over the world.

Today we celebrate the fifty-eighth anniversary of the Tibetan people’s uprising in Lhasa on 10th March. This demonstration is a strong signal of European solidarity every year.

Representing the Tibet Interest Group in the European Parliament with members from many European member states, I am here to emphasise that we support all Tibetans, who are chased, suppressed and suffering in their home country.

I can assure you that we have always been committed supporters of dialogue, peace and friendship. On the occasion of our monthly Tibet Interest Group meetings we invite high ranking experts, professors, journalists as well as human rights activists from all over the world. Other guests were Tibetan prisoners, monks, nuns and refugees. They informed about the political situation, the environment, the deficits of human rights and the unacceptable living conditions.

The Tibet Interest Group actively supports Tibetans in China and around the world. We cooperate with other parliamentarians inside and outside the European Union to support the Middle way approach of His Holiness.

Last December Mrs Nyima Lhamo, niece of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, reported her experiences during her uncle’s imprisonment and death. In February we organised a cross-party conference on the re-incarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Furthermore in February, during a second conference we created awareness for the recently issued law on counter-terrorism and demanded its repeal. Despite the absence of any recent violent insurgency in Tibet, this new law follows an aggressive drive with a strongly political dimension. Linking religion and belief to so-called terrorism gives an even larger scope for the penalization of almost any peaceful expression of Tibetan identity, acts of non-violent dissent, or criticism of ethnic or religious policies. This opens room for excessive interpretation and therefore further violations of human rights.

Today we express concerns about the current situation and the oppressive atmosphere prevailing in Tibet. We also wish to offer our sympathy to the families of all Tibetans, who self-immolated in the last years to protest against the policies of the Chinese government.

As you all know more than 140 brave men and women, mostly monks and nuns, have set themselves on fire in protest against restrictive Chinese policies, in Sichuan province as well as in other parts of the Tibetan plateau.

We successfully drafted a resolution on the self-immolation and called upon the European Commission and the Council to intensify the pressure on China. This tragedy has to be always on the agenda of human rights debates.

More recently, we adopted – with a great majority – a resolution on the unlawful demolition of the Larung Gar institute in Tibet. It is seen as one of the largest Buddhist academies worldwide and its demolition poses a threat to Tibetan culture.

Again in this year, the Chinese authorities are closing the Tibetan Autonomous Region for international visitors from 25th February to the 1st of April. Having the wave of protests in March 2008 in mind, they want to control the information flow in any case. We condemn this annual process of locking Tibet off the outside world, and urge the Chinese authorities to end this policy.

Tibet needs support from the Europeans. It has to be public and must be visible! Silent solidarity is not helpful. Some governments are afraid to injure their export benefits and businesses with China. But selling human rights for economics is not part of our European set of values!

Today we stand again shoulder to shoulder with our Tibetan friends. We request universal values: the international Human Rights.