By Tenzin Lekdhen
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 19: French Senator Jacqueline Eustache-Brinio said France should lead the European Union on the question of Tibet as France recently assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the European Council. The French Tibet Support Group in France’s senate met Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA) representative Tashi Phuntsok of Bureau du Tibet, Brussels, on the 18th of January. The senators promised to work on all the issues highlighted by Tashi Phunstok.
Representative Phunstok requested the Senators to work on reciprocal access and travel to Tibet, much like the US’s Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act enacted in 2018. According to the CTA’s report of the meeting, the Tibetan official “described the situation in Tibet as being a vast prison and Tibet being the least free country in the world. The bondage of Tibetans in Tibet under China is best imagined when Tibetans say that it is easier to go to heaven than to obtain a passport to travel outside Tibet.”
Bureau du Tibet also requested the senators to ask France to announce its position on the succession of the Dalai Lamas, as have many of its NATO and European allies. The representatives underscored the need to resume dialogue and negotiation with China.
Senator Jacqueline, president of the International Information Group on Tibet, acknowledged the complexity and historic resilience of the Tibetan struggle compared to other contemporary issues that confront China. And with the growing demographic of Tibetan diaspora in Europe and the west at large, she underscored the need to strengthen and robustly support them.
The International Information Group on Tibet was authorised by France’s Bureau of the Senate in 2000. The group consists of twenty-two senators, who share a common concern for the Tibet issue. The group’s President, Senator Jacqueline, in a letter, defined its objective as, “to demonstrate the interest of the national representation of the French Republic for the future of the Tibetan people, both with the French government and the Chinese authorities or the Tibetan authorities in exile.”