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EU asked to feature Tibetan rights, self-determination in China summit

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(TibetanReview.net, Mar31’22) – Ahead of an EU-China Summit taking place virtually on Apr 1, Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) has urged the European Union leadership to ensure that the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination and human rights feature on the agenda of the discussions. ICT has also joined other human rights groups in a letter urging the EU leaders to dedicate adequate time at the meeting to discuss China’s human rights abuses.

Taking part in the summit will be President Charles Michel of the European Council, President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission, and High Representative Josep Borrell of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Their Chinese counterpart will be Premier Li Keqiang. The EU leaders will also hold exchanges with Chinese President Xi Jinping thereafter.

The last EU-China Summit took place in Jun 2020, also via videoconference.

The suggestion that the EU leadership take up the issue of Tibetan people’s right to self-determination is a bit unusual, given the fact that the exile Tibetan discourse is dominated by schism between those seeking genuine autonomy under Chinese rule and the others calling for independence.

“The EU leaders must … resolutely oppose human rights violations taking place in China, Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Hong Kong and urge China to resume the Sino-Tibetan dialogue process and guarantee an unfettered and reciprocal access to Tibet, and across China, for foreign diplomats, parliamentarians, UN experts, journalists and non-governmental organizations,” Vincent Metten, ICT’s EU Policy Director, has said.

Also ahead of the summit, human rights NGOs have urged EU leaders to publicly announce a suspension of the human rights dialogue with Chinese authorities until it can be a meaningful exchange capable of producing a positive impact on the human rights situation in the country.

“The EU and its member states should establish clear human rights benchmarks for progress in their relations with China, and focus their efforts and energy towards considering more effective tools to secure positive change in the country,” the letter was quoted as saying.

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