President of the European Council Donald Tusk directly referred to concerns on Tibet and called for dialogue to be resumed at a joint press conference with China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang following the 17th EU-China Summit in Brussels on June 29.
Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders also raised Tibet with his counterpart in China during a state visit on June 20-28 led by the Belgian King Philippe. The Minister handed a list of six Tibetan political prisoners to the Chinese authorities, expressing concern and asking for information about their situation.
At the press conference, European Council President Tusk expressed the EU’s “concerns on freedom of expression and association in China, including the situation of the persons belonging to minorities such as Tibetans and Uighurs”. He also said: “In that context, I have encouraged China to resume a meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives”.
Vincent Metten, EU’s Policy Director for the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “We welcome the clear stand taken by President Tusk on the need to resume the dialogue process between Chinese authorities and the representatives of the Dalai Lama. This call reflects EU’s growing concerns about the critical situation in Tibet and its support to find a long term solution through a negotiation process between the two parties.”
The EU and China held their 17th Summit on June 29 in Brussels, with the Chinese delegation headed by Prime Minister Li Keqiang. The Tibetan Community in Belgium organized a demonstration at Schuman Circle in Brussels on the margins of the Summit calling on the Chinese leadership to resume the Sino-Tibetan dialogue process.
President Tusk also said at the joint press conference on June 29 that the next round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue and the second visit of the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Mr Stavros Lambrinidis, will both take place in November this year. Mr Lambrinidis visited Tibet in 2013.
The International Campaign for Tibet also welcomes the decision mentioned in the Joint Declaration adopted at the Summit to establish an EU-China Legal Affairs Dialogue for “policy exchanges, mutual learning and cooperation in legal affairs,” as long as the dialogue is substantive and robust.
On June 30, European Parliamentarians demonstrated their support for Tibet at a photo exhibition – Ways of Wisdom: Celebrating the Dalai Lama’s 80th Birthday – recalling the most important phases of the Dalai Lama’s life dedicated to the promotion of non-violence and celebrating his message of dialogue, reconciliation and inter-religious harmony. The event was hosted by MEP Thomas Mann, the Chair of the Tibet Interest Group, and MEP Csaba Sogor with the partnership of the Office of Tibet and ICT. The guest speaker, Mr Henri Malosse, who met the Dalai Lama on several occasions, including in his official capacity as President of the European Economic and Social Committee, highlighted the importance of defending core EU values in its external policies.
The exhibition will be displayed at the European Parliament in Brussels until July 3 and then will be shown in Strasbourg at the European Parliamentary Association, next to the EP building from 6 July.