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EU Urged to promote Political Dialogue on Tibet's Autonomy

November 14, 2007

  European Parliament adopts Resolution on the Environmental 
Situation in Tibet and the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics
by Tibet Intergroup
November 12th, 2007

The European Parliamentarian Conference on Tibet in Brussels today 
expressed deep concern about the continuing violation of the rights 
of Tibetan people by the Peoples Republic of China, and unanimously 
called upon the European Union (EU) and national governments of 
European countries to push for a political settlement of the long 
standing Sino-Tibetan issue.

More than 200 participants from 20 countries - Members of the 
European and National parliaments, Members of the EU Commission and 
the Council, Ambassadors, Human Rights and Environmental activists 
and Olympic gold-medallists - attended the conference at the European 
Parliament in Brussels. They were invited by the European 
Parliament's Tibet Intergroup.

The conference was opened by President of the Tibet Intergroup, Mr. 
Thomas Mann and the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert 
Poettering and comprised two workshops on the Tibetan Environmental 
Situation and on the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. In a statement to 
the conference, Mr Poettering welcomed the renewed contact between 
the government of the People's Republic of China and the envoys of 
H.H. the Dalai Lama, but urged the Chinese leadership to embark upon 
earnest and sincere negotiations with the object of finding a just 
and lasting political solution on Tibet's Autonomy situation.

"The EU must ensure that the EU and its member States implement 
effective policies to promote an end to the tragic oppression of the 
Tibetan people," said Mr. Mann.

The European Parliamentarian Conference on Tibet adopted two 
resolutions. The first one highlighted ongoing risks to the health 
and sustainability of the Tibetan environment, resulting from Chinese 
government policies, including reckless resource extraction and 
timber harvesting, social re-engineering that interferes with 
traditional livelihoods, rapid urbanization and the radical increase 
of Chinese settlers into Tibet. The resolution raises awareness about 
the spiritual, cultural, economic, and health significance of the 
Tibetan environment for the Tibetan people, as well for the people of 
China, for Tibet's immediate neighbours and for the world at large.

"The Tibet Intergroup appreciates that Chinese President Hu Jintao 
has made commitments to addressing environmental issues during the 
October 2007 17th Party Congress. But there must also come the 
acknowledgement that it is the Chinese government's own failure to 
implement genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people that denies them 
local communities the opportunity to participate meaningfully in 
environmental decision-making and to contest environmental projects 
Tibetans regard as detrimental to their cultural, religious and/or 
economic interests", said Thomas Mann.

"We must investigate and utilise NGO, governmental and international 
environmental programs that can be applied to Tibet and that will 
provide Tibetans with the opportunity to participate in the 
management of their environment", added Mr. Mann.

In its second workshop, the conference participants discussed the 
upcoming Summer Olympics in Beijing 2008 and the role that previous 
Olympic Games have contributed to social and political change, and 
that the 2008 games in Beijing can also represent an opportunity to 
contribute to positive change in China and Tibet. They underlined 
that His Holiness, the Dalai Lama has consistently supported the 
Chinese people's desire to host the 2008 Olympics.

Dolma Gyari, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, called upon 
the EP to reaffirm its support for the dialogue between 
representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Chinese 
government, and its expectation that this dialogue will lead to 
tangible progress towards a negotiated settlement on the issue of 
Tibet within the framework of the PRC."

Speaking on the Sino-Tibetan dialogue, the envoy of the Dalai Lama, 
Kelsang Gyaltsen said, "the pursuit of international recognition, 
respect and admiration is a top priority of the Chinese leadership. 
Without the cooperation, acceptance and deference of the members of 
the international community this ambition cannot be achieved. World 
opinion is far from being immaterial to the Chinese leadership."

Mr. Vincent Metten, EU Policy Director for the International Campaign 
for Tibet, said that policymakers should call upon their governments 
to ensure that China's actions and deeds actively contribute to the 
realization of the UN Olympics Truce, as passed by the UN General 
Assembly on 31 October 2007.

The conference participants also called on China to promote the 
freedom of press and independent reporting for international and 
domestic journalists. This should include all travel to and reporting 
from Tibetan areas.

"We intend to sign an official petition to President Hu Jintao urging 
that all rights to free expression, free religious belief and free 
association be respected in the run up to the Beijing Games and 
beyond", added Mr Mann.

Other speakers at today's conference included:

     * Isabel Hilton (UK), columnist for british newspapers, author 
of "the Search of the Panchen Lama", editor of a website devoted to 
climate change and environment;
     * Penpa Tsering, Member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, 
Director of the Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre;
     * Peter Stastny MEP, participant of 4 Olympic Games (Winter);
     * Dieter Baumann, German athlete (1500 m and 5000 m distance), 
Olympic Medallist, gold medal winner of 5000 m at the 1992 Summer 
Olympics.

"This conference has provided an inspiring platform for supporters of 
Tibet to meet and discuss the challenges facing the Tibetan Issue", 
said Ms. Tsering Jampa, Director of International Campaign for Tibet 
Europe. "We appreciate the engagement of policymakers all across 
Europe on the Tibet issue and for adopting the strong resolutions 
that encourage the Tibetan people to continue their non-violent 
struggle towards freedom", she added.

The conference was organized by the European Parliament's Intergroup 
for Tibet, in association with Bureau du Tibet, Brussels, and the 
International Campaign for Tibet Europe.

Please contact for more information:

Mr. Thomas Mann, President of the Tibet Intergroup
Tel: +32 - 2 - 2 84 53 18

Ms. Tsering Jampa, Executive Director, International Campaign for 
Tibet Europe
Tel: +32-2-609-4410
Mbl: +31-6-2900-4547
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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