In a letter sent to a news website based in Brussels, the Dalai Lama has urged European Union (EU) foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton to press China on allowing a visit by EU diplomats to Tibet.
“The situation in Tibet is very desperate. It is urgent that the international community sends fact-finding delegations to the Tibetan area to investigate the situation on the ground. This will have a restraining influence on the Chinese authorities,” the EUobserver quoted the Tibetan spiritual leader as saying in written remarks during his visit to Prague on Monday.
“Should the Chinese side reject the request, the EU could issue a strong statement of deep concern and raise the issue at international fora, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council.”
Noting China’s ambitions of playing a leading role in world politics, the Dalai Lama said that changes around the globe were bound to have an influence on China as well.
“As powerful as China may be, she is still part of this world and cannot escape the global trend toward more freedom and democracy. The international perception of China is of great importance to the Chinese leadership – China has the ambition to play a leading role in the world.”
However, China’s chief Tibet negotiator, vice-minister Zhu Weiqun, during a rare press meet in Brussels on Monday, rubbished all possibilities of an international delegation visiting Tibet and instead launched a blistering attack on Members of European Parliament (MEP), accusing them of “irresponsibility.”
“Under no circumstances will we allow foreign fact-finding missions into the Tibetan autonomous region … I don’t believe that the interference of any foreign force could achieve anything constructive. Indeed it could very well lead to an escalation of the crisis and to wars,” the EUobserver quoted Zhu as saying.
The Chinese vice-minister criticised the European Parliament’s decision to invite Tibet’s democratically elected leader Dr Lobsang Sangay to address the Tibet Intergroup Conference on Genuine Autonomy in the European Parliament last month, calling the parliament “stubborn” and “highly irresponsible.”
While insisting that China’s policy towards Tibet “would not change,” Zhu was quoted by the EUobserver as calling the Dalai Lama a “savage” who gets young monks to set themselves on fire to provoke anti-Chinese feeling.
However, a senior MEP hit back at Zhu’s criticism, accusing the Chinese regime of pursuing a “brutal” policy in Tibet.
ALDE member Edward McMillan-Scott EMS, who had earlier visited Tibet, told the news website thepalrliament.com that he “looked forward to complete independence for Tibet.”
“I look forward to the oppressive and brutal nature of the Beijing regime coming to an end,” the Parliament quoted the vice president of the European Parliament as saying.