By Tenzin Monlam
Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to Richard Gere about Tibet in Berlin on February 9, 2017. (Photo- Bundesregierung_Steins)
DHARAMSHALA, September 22: Prior to the German Federal election on Sunday, the major political parties of the nation have expressed their concern over the worsening situation in Tibet while extending support to the Dalai Lama and Tibet.
The Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) and the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), the Social Democratic Party (SPD), DIE LINKE (The Left) and Alliance 90/ The Greens, in their response to a 11 questions presented by the German chapter of International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), reaffirmed their support including pushing China to restart the ‘direct dialogue with envoys of the Tibetan spiritual leader.
“Yes, because the problems in Tibet are, above all, the result of Chinese governmental policy. This is why it is important to do everything in our power to compel the Chinese government to take dialogue and other offers seriously and to commit to constructive participation,” said Alliance 90/ The Greens in its response to the question over pressuring China to initiate the process.
The ruling party and Angela Merkel led party CDU/CSU said that they have called on China to have direct dialogue with Dalai Lama’s envoy.
The four political parties currently represented in the parliament (Bundestag) blelieve the political, cultural, human rights situation in Tibet have worsened under President Xi Jinping, while pledging to raise the Tibet issue with China on International platforms in the future.
As for the assessment of the current situation in Tibet, CDU/CSU said that the situation has been terribly troubling for the past several years and the human rights situation must be judged as ‘critical’.
In response to whether the new Chancellor would receive the Dalai Lama, the parties have said yes. While CDU/CSU reminded of Angele Merkel’s meeting with him as a sign of their commitment, SPD said that it would depend on the new Chancellor.
However, DIE LINKE said, “For our fraction, the deciding factor is in which guise exiled Tibetans’ highest spiritual dignitary, the Dalai Lama, visits Germany. We welcome private meetings with the future chancellor but there should not be any official reception.”
The parties also expressed concern over China constructing mega dams and unchecked mining. They advocated Beijing to ‘actively include’ Tibetans in forging and realizing projects and to do everything it can to protect the environment in Tibet.
The election is scheduled to take place this Sunday and incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel is favorite to win against her serious contender Martin Schulz of the left party for a fourth term as the Head of State.