By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Apr. 19: The European Parliament has adopted a resolution that raised concerns about the increasing repression faced by many ethnic and religious minorities, including Tibetans, Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Christians, demanding that the Chinese authorities respect their fundamental rights and freedoms.
On Tibet, it said that “China’s criminal law is being abused to persecute Tibetans and Buddhists, whose religious activities are equated with ‘separatism’; deplores the fact that the environment for practising Buddhism in Tibet has worsened significantly after the Tibetan protests of March 2008, with the Chinese Government adopting a more pervasive approach to ‘patriotic education’.”
Specific mentions were made on ‘patriotic education’ campaigns and interferences in the administration of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries that are prevalent inside occupied Tibet.
It also asked Chinese authorities to refrain from forcibly resettling Tibetan nomads and called on China to immediately release Tibetans detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression such as Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk and Lobsang Dargye, a Kirti monk who carried out a solo protest in March 2017.
The resolution that received a large majority of 505 votes (with only 18 against and 47 abstentions) in Strasbourg reiterated the European Parliament’s call for unhindered access to Tibet for EU diplomats, journalists and citizens and called for a similar initiative such as the US government’s Reciprocal access to Tibet Act (RATA), for EU diplomats and journalists to Tibet.
Washington based pro-Tibet group International Campaign for Tibet’s EU Policy Director Vincent Metten said, “ICT welcomes this resolution, which sends once again the strong message that China’s treatment of Tibetans and other ethnic and religious groups is unacceptable.
“It also highlights the gap between the deep interest and support of the elected representatives of European citizens for human rights in China and Tibet, and the discussions at the EU-China level, which continue to prioritize trade and economic relations over human rights concerns.”