On the occasion of the 57th anniversary of the Tibetan people’s peaceful uprising in Lhasa on 10 March 1959, we, Members of the Tibet Interest Group in the European Parliament, wish to express our concerns about the current lockdown and oppressive atmosphere prevailing in Tibet.
We also wish to express our sympathy to the families of two Tibetan teenagers, Kelsang Wangdu and Dorjee Tseing, who self-immolated on 29th February to protest against the wrong policies of the Chinese government in Tibet.
This year again, in the run-up to this anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising Day that saw the Dalai Lama’s flee into exile in 1959, and of the eighth anniversary of the unprecedented wave of protests which swept through Tibet in March 2008, the Tibetan Autonomous Region will indeed remain closed until the end of March to all foreign visitors, who were instructed to leave the region by February 25. We condemn this annual process of sealing off Tibet from the outside world, and urge the Chinese authorities to end the closure and isolation of the TAR.
Furthermore, we wish to reiterate our concerns about the new Chinese law on counter-terrorism, which came into effect at the start of the year. This new law follows an aggressive ‘counter-terrorism’ drive in Tibet with a strongly political dimension that has involved an expansion of militarization across the plateau and the imposition of oppressive and counter-productive policies, this despite the absence of any violent insurgency in Tibet. Its very vague language may lead to further violations of the freedoms of expression, assembly, association and religion, and in conflating ‘terrorism’ with an undefined ‘extremism’ linked to religion, it gives an even larger scope for the penalization of almost any peaceful expression of Tibetan identity, acts of non-violent dissent, or criticism of ethnic or religious policies.
We welcome reports about concerns voiced by the EU and a few States over this recently passed law, which is in contradiction with international human rights standards.
The Members of the TIG,
represented by the President Thomas Mann