President Havel and Mr Tseten S Chhoekyapa in Prague
"The Czech Government should formulate a constructive and substantive policy to help move forward the talks between Representatives of Dalai Lama and China on Tibet during its EU Presidency," said Ms. Jana Hybaskova, Member of the European Parliament from Czech Republic.
She called on the Czech government to draw up a policy on Tibet which calls for time bound and agenda driven talks. The round table discussion on Tibet was organized by President Havel Library in Prague on 19 June.
Speaker after speaker expressed concern about the present situation in Tibet and after the Olympics. They called on the Czech government to take an active interest and stand on the Tibetan issue during the EU Presidency.
The three hour discussion was informal yet tense and passionate. It was attended by two Czech Ministers, Czech and European Parliamentarians, senior government officials, journalists and opinion leaders.
Chorten in Czech airport.
A member of the a local Tibet Support Group spoke briefly on the present conditions in China, a Sinologist on the current economical development in China and raise of nationalism.
Mr. Tseten S Chhoekyapa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Representative gave a short introduction on Tibetan history, the recent uprising and the brutal crackdown, the deaths and arrest of Tibetans. He appealed to the Czech people and government to take a strong stand on Tibet during Czech Republic's EU Presidency which starts next year.
A Chinese lady from mainland China, currently living in Prague said that after the sad incident in Tibet, there has been a rise in Nationalism in China. However, she said the best outcome was the great amount of discussions that is taking place worldwide about the problem. She said whether a better understanding between cultures could help the situation.
Mr. Chhoekyapa said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile supports the Beijing Olympics. However, the Chinese security forces are killing and arresting Tibetans in Tibet today. Mr Chhoekyapa said morally it will be difficult for Tibetans and Tibet supporters to keep quiet about the suffering of the Tibetan people while the Olympics take place in China.
Tibetan and Czech flags in Prague
Back in 1990, soon after becoming the first democratically elected President of Czechoslovakia, President Havel officially invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit his country. Since then, many various Heads of governments and Foreign Ministers have met the Dalai Lama. Similarly, Mr. Chhoekyapa called on Czech government to take the moral high ground because Czech has experienced over 40 years under Communism and 2009 will mark 50 years of Communist rule in Tibet. Unlike many other countries, Czech Republic has little trade ties with China.
Mr. Chhoekyapa said that Tibetans are not asking the Czech government to support Tibetan independence but to support a non-violent struggle that calls for a genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people so that Tibet's ancient culture, religion, language and identity is preserved. In 1918 Czechoslovakia became an independent state. Similarly, in 1913 His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama issued proclamation of Tibet's independence.
Czech MPs for Tibet and Mr Tseten S Chhoekyapa in the Czech Parliament.
Ms. Katharina Jacques, head of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet in the Czech Parliament spoke about the support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and concern at the present tragic situation in Tibet. She highlighted the very successful campaign of hosting Tibetan National Flag in over 260 town halls in Czech Republic. One can see many Tibetan flags across Prague. A large Tibetan flag hangs from a private building next to the Czech Foreign Ministry. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet consist of about 26 core members of which includes 3 members of the Czech Government's Cabinet.