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EU lawmakers urge China to discuss real autonomy with Tibet

March 15, 2009

March 12, 2009

STRASBOURG (AFP) “ European lawmakers urged China Thursday to renew
dialogue on real autonomy for Tibet, in a resolution marking 50 years
since a failed uprising there forced the Tibetan spiritual leader into
exile.

In a resolution, the assembly "urges the Chinese government to consider
the Memorandum for Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan people of November
2008 as a basis for substantive discussion."

The parliamentarians, meeting in Strasbourg in an assembly where the
Tibetan flag has flown in recent days, urged the 27 European Union
nations to "adopt a declaration calling on the Chinese government to
open a constructive dialogue."

The resolution was passed by 338 votes for, 131 against and with 14
abstentions.

The lawmakers also called on Beijing to release people detained after
peaceful protests and account for those killed or missing, and to allow
foreign media and rights experts to enter Tibet and nearby areas.

The move comes just after China expressed anger over a similar
resolution passed by the US Congress that condemned Beijing's handling
of the Tibet issue.

"The resolution passed by the US House of Representatives disregards the
facts (and) makes groundless accusations against China's ethnic and
religious policy," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told journalists.

"The Chinese people and government express our strong dissatisfaction
and resolute opposition to this. China has lodged solemn representations
with the United States," he said.

The US Congress nearly unanimously passed the resolution Wednesday that
urged China to "cease its repression of the Tibetan people, and to lift
immediately the harsh policies imposed on Tibetans."

Addressing the EU lawmakers, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita
Ferrero-Waldner expressed "regret that dialogue had not brought
substantive results" between China and envoys of the Dalai Lama.

She insisted on "the necessity for both parties to resume the dialogue
promptly," adding that it would be the "best way to avoid frustration
and violence among young Tibetans."
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