PARIS, April 25: As the French President Francois Hollande heads to China on a state visit, first of such since Xi Jinping takes over the reign as the Chinese president, a survey by a leading French poll house shows that almost 70% of the French people wants their president to raise the situation of Human Rights and civil liberties with his counterpart. Of that another 66% of the people polled wants Hollande to raise his concerns about the situation of Tibetans in China.
The French president will the the first head of the state to visit China between 25-26 April. Early last week, Senator Andre Gattolin asked whether President Hollande "intend to discuss with the issue of human rights in China and in Tibet" with Xi Jinping, the French government responded that "Human Rights form an integral part of the dialogue between China and Tibet."
"No topic will be excluded and all questions will be discussed with candour and mutual respect for each other", responded Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, French Minister for Woman's Rights and the spokeswoman of the government.
At the French lower house, day before Hollande leaves for China, MP Noël Mamere asked the government to raise the issue of rights for the Tibetan people and the release of Lui Xiaobo, the Nobel Laureate who is under detention in China.
In response the French foreign minister Laurant Fabuis said that to find a longlasting solution to the situation inside Tibet there is no other option than for the Chinese authorities to enter into dialogue with the Dalai Lama.
Earlier last week Member of Parliament Jean-Patrick Gille and MP Noël Mamère also wrote an open letter asking the French President "not to exclude the issue of Tibet in the discussions with Chinese authorities during his forthcoming visit to Beijing".
"France, in partnership with the European Union must carry the banner of Tibetan freedom", the letter reads.
It also said that China must allow access to Tibet to everyone, including the media, and "resume the dialogue that China decided to stop",
Another question in the poll, that was carried out between 16-18 April, 92% said that the present condition of human rights and civil liberties in China is "unsatisfactory". When asked about Tibet, the figure jumps up to 94% of the people polled who says the situation is "unsatisfactory".
On the question about the vague of self-immolation in Tibet since 2009, more than 80 percent of the people polled said that they feel "in solidarity with the Tibetans." About 80% were in favour of the French President meeting with the Dalai Lama if he visits France. In April 2010, US President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama were voted the world's two most popular leaders, according to a poll conducted in six countries by Harris Interactive for France24 and Radio France-Internationale.
The Tibetan spiritual leader was at second place at 75 per cent, followed by the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 62 per cent.
Former Pope Benedict XVI was the seventh most popular leader with 36 per cent support.
During his 37-hour trip to China, the French president is expected to sing a "letter of intention" on nuclear programmes and deals on Airbus and also French public gas and electricity companies.