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EU parliament urges Beijing to resume Tibet talks

March 29, 2009

The Parliament Magazine (The European Union)
March 26, 2009

A special hearing will be held in parliament next
week in a bid to resolve a flare-up in the row between China and Tibet.

Wednesday's news comes in the wake of new video
footage allegedly showing Chinese security
personnel violently beating Tibetans.

The hearing, organised by parliament's foreign
affairs committee, will take place on 31 March
and is seen as a possible chance to reopen direct
talks between the two parties.

So far, however, only the Tibetan side have
accepted an invitation from parliament to take
part in the talks. Parliament is still awaiting a
response from the Chinese government.

It is designed to intensify pressure on the
Chinese to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama's envoys.

Italian ALDE deputy Marco Cappato called on the
Chinese regime to "seize the positive momentum" and attend the one-day hearing.

Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador to the EU, Song
Zhe, has written an open letter to all MEPs
appealing to them to adopt an "unbiased" approach to the Tibet issue.

Relations between the EU and Beijing have been
strained following the condemnation of China's
military response to last year's uprising in
Tibet and the decision to invite the Dalai Lama
to address a parliamentary plenary last autumn.

The appeal to MEPs comes ahead of the EU-China
summit which is expected to take place in Prague in May.

In the letter, the diplomat says, "A number of
incidents caused by this misunderstanding has had
a negative impact on relations between China and Europe.

"I feel duty-bound to present some facts and
figures about Tibet, to explain Tibet's road of
development since democratic reform 50 years ago,
its achievements and to clarify the Chinese
government's position towards the Dalai Lama.

"I hope this will contribute to a more
comprehensive and objective understanding of Tibet."

In the letter, sent to all deputies, the
ambassador says that in 1959, a minority of
Tibetans launched a "full-scale armed rebellion" against the mainland.

"The Central People's government and the people
of Tibet together put down the rebellion, carried
out democratic reform, abolished the theocratic
feudal serfdom and liberated millions of serfs and slaves," it said.

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