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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

In Nepal Visit, Lawmakers Focus on Tibet

April 10, 2008

Deutsche Welle, Germany
April 9, 2008

A visit to Nepal gave German lawmakers insights into the difficult
situation for Tibetan monks, but did not lead to calls for an Olympic
boycott.

A German lawmaker said he hoped the international protests against
China's Olympic Torch relay would have an effect on Chinese policy,
considering how badly it reflected on the Chinese regime.

“The propaganda show that the Chinese have planned (with their relay
race) is turning into a race through a gauntlet,” Thilo Hoppe, the head
of the Bundestag's Committee on Economic Cooperation and Development, said.

Hoppe and other representatives from the parliamentary committee spent
nine days in Nepal on a fact-finding mission ahead of a general election.

Because of the ongoing demonstrations of exiled Tibetans in Nepal,
however, the lawmakers met with Tibetan exiles living in the Nepalese
capital Katmandu, in particular the representative of the Dalai Lama .

Tibet's demand for cultural autonomy

Hoppe said the exiles were demanding more cultural autonomy for Tibet,
rather than complete independence from China -- a stance he finds
"moderate."

“I support a nonviolent movement for more autonomy within China,” Hoppe
said.

He warned that China "should make use of the Dalai Lama's modest
position... If some day he is no longer the representative of Tibet, it
could be someone else who is more radical, and who could demand complete
independence."

In San Francisco, crowds protested the Olympic torch and banners flew
from the Golden Gate Bridge that said Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des
Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: ... as well as San Francisco. Some are
calling to stop the relay

Hoppe also repeated claims of the Tibetan exiles, that monasteries in
Tibet had been cut off from the outside world by Chinese military
forces, and were suffering serious food and medicine shortages. This had
even cost lives.

"No one can get any wares in or out -- the monasteries are surrounded,"
the lawmaker said. "This has been the cause of at least one, possibly
two, deaths."

When the delegation tried to talk to the Nepali regime about the rights
of the Tibetan exiles to hold demonstrations in Nepal, they were met
with shrugs by a representative of the Nepali government.

"The Chinese ambassador to Nepal had demanded the government to forbid
so-called anti-Chinese manifestations," Hoppe said. "When we pointed out
that there are international accords granting this right, he simply
said, 'That may be so, but China is big and Nepal is small'. "

Peaceful demonstrations?

In addition, the Tibetan exiles that met with the German delegation
insisited that protests against Chinese rule had been overwhelmingly
peaceful. But some violent protests had been staged by Chinese security
forces, who had dressed up in monks' robes.

Those protests -- showing monks setting fire to automobiles and breaking
windows -- were shown on Chinese state television, to show the Dalai
Lama and his adherents in a violent light, they said.

The exiled Tibetans showed the parliamentarians photographs of Chinese
soldiers carrying monks' robes in their luggage.

Thilo Hoppe, Green Party parliamentarianBildunterschrift: Großansicht
des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Thilo Hoppe hopes the torch uproar
will affect China

Despite these problems, Hoppe said he thinks it is too early to declare
a boycott against the Beijing Olympics; to do so at this point “would
only make things worse for the Tibetans.”

“But it is equally wrong to categorically refuse a boycott,” he said.

It Is important for the Chinese to save their Olympic games, so
politicians should think carefully about whether or not they want to
take part in the opening ceremonies, Hoppe said.
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