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EU should step up pressure for human rights in Tibet - Liz Lynne

October 19, 2010 11:05 AM
Originally published by Liz Lynne
Liz Lynne MEP discusses human rights in Tibet with Tashi Wangdi, envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Liz Lynne MEP discusses human rights in Tibet with Tashi Wangdi, envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

LibDem Euro MP Liz Lynne is calling for the EU and its high representative Baroness Ashton to step up diplomatic pressure on China to protect human rights after a wave of arrests and show trials in Tibet.

The West Midlands MEP said she would put down a Parliamentary question on the issue after discussing the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibet with Tashi Wangdi, the representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, at the Parliament in Brussels last week.

Mr Wangdi requested a meeting after Liz Lynne backed a declaration highlighting the 15 year prison sentence imposed on Karma Samdrup, a Tibetan sociologist who exposed illegal hunts of endangered wildlife organised by Chinese officials in Chamdo province.

Liz Lynne, a member of the Parliament's South Asia delegation is a longstanding human rights and Amnesty International campaigner.

She said: "Mr Wangdi unfortunately confirmed my fears that the Samdrup case is not isolated. There are reports of a wave of arrests, beatings and other human rights violations all over Tibet.

"China appears to have once again opted for a brutal clampdown on Tibetan society and culture, targeting intellectuals and artists in a way not seen since the days of Chairman Mao.

"The Dalai Lama, who has made clear he seeks autonomy not independence, deserves more support from the EU for his unstinting efforts to find a peaceful way forward. His people are suffering severe repression.

"China has made great economic strides in recent years and is now a vital trading partner for Britain and the EU. Although still a one-party state there have been some signs of reform and an attempt to engage with democratic ideas and human rights.

"I do believe persistent but polite pressure on China, which needs the EU as an export market could make a real difference to advance human rights, especially in Tibet. China has nothing to fear from an autonomous Tibetan region of the kind the Dalai Lama proposes.

"The experience in Hong Kong suggests that China can accept some reforms and human rights and make a success of it. Unfortunately it seems that hardliners and corruption are in control in Tibet."

After the meeting Liz Lynne said she would be putting down a formal Parliamentary question asking the Commission and Baroness Ashton, the EU High Representative, to increase diplomatic pressure on the Chinese government over the recent wave of repression.

Liz Lynne will also be writing to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg asking him to use his influence to ensure that human rights concerns are a key part of relations between the UK government and China.

ENDS