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Senior EU official urges China’s new leaders to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama
Phayul[Wednesday, November 07, 2012 15:29]
Barbara Lochbihler, chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights. (Photo/Europarl)
Barbara Lochbihler, chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights. (Photo/Europarl)
DHARAMSHALA, November 7: A senior European Union official has urged China’s new leaders to resume the stalled dialogue process with Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama upon returning from a visit to China.

Barbara Lochbihler, chair of the Human Rights Subcommittee of the European Parliament said China's new leaders must resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama Lama aimed at finding a lasting solution to the issue of Tibet. Speaking to reporters in Germany, she criticised the Chinese government over the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet.

In June this year, Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lodi G. Gyari and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen, who have led nine rounds of talks with China since 2002, resigned citing the worsening situation inside Tibet and their “utter frustration” over the lack of positive response from China.

The last round of talks between the Envoys of the Dalai Lama and representatives from the Chinese United Front Work Department was held more than two years ago in January 2010. Since then, the Chinese have refused to meet the Tibetan delegation.

In September, Xu Zhitao, a senior Chinese official said that the stalled Sino-Tibet dialogue process will not resume at least till the end of this year and denied any new approach to the Tibetan issue.

Xu insisted that in the event of the continuation of the dialogue process, the discussion will only centre on how the Dalai Lama should "stop his separatist speeches and win the trust of the central government as well as the forgiveness of the Chinese people."

Lochbihler further urged China's new leadership to stop the persecution of critics and allow more freedom of expression. The German Green Party politician also criticised the annual EU-China human rights dialogue, which according to her had almost degenerated into a ritual and had produced no results.

EU had expressed its concerns over the situation in Tibet with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the 15th EU-China Summit in Brussels in September.

President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso had reiterated the “great importance” that EU attaches to the respect for fundamental freedoms in China.

“We recognise the tremendous progress achieved in China by lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. But there are also concerns, in particular regarding restrictions of freedom of expression and the situation in Tibet,” EU said.

Earlier in June, in a hard-hitting resolution on the human rights situation in Tibet, the European Parliament had criticised China for its continued human rights abuses in Tibet and called on EU foreign policy chief Ashton to appoint a special EU coordinator for Tibet.

The plenary session urged EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton to appoint a “special coordinator” with a mandate to report regularly on Tibet, to support constructive Sino-Tibet dialogue, and to provide assistance to Tibetan refugees, particularly in Nepal and India.
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