(TibetanReview.net, Apr20’19) – The European Parliament has on Apr 18 passed a resolution on China, notably referring to the situation of religious and ethnic minorities and expressing deep concern on “the increasingly repressive regime that many religious and ethnic minorities, in particular Uyghurs and Kazakhs, Tibetans and Christians face”. Noting the placing of “additional restraints on the constitutional guarantees of their right to freedom of cultural expression and religious belief, to freedom of speech and expression and to peaceful assembly and association,” the resolution demands that China respect these fundamental freedoms.
Calling for an end to end the practice of arbitrary detentions, the resolution calls for the release of all such detainees, particularly those that included Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk and political prisoner Lobsang Dargye.
It also urges China to “uphold the linguistic, cultural, religious and other fundamental freedoms of Tibetans, and to refrain from settlement policies in favour of the Han people and to the disadvantage of the Tibetans, as well as from forcing Tibetan nomads to abandon their traditional lifestyle”.
The resolution condemns China’s ongoing ‘patriotic education’ campaigns, including measures to stage-manage Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. It accuses China of abusing its criminal law “to persecute Tibetans and Buddhists, whose religious activities are equated with ‘separatism’.”
It deplores the fact that the environment for practising Buddhism in Tibet had worsened significantly after the Tibetan protests of Mar 2008, with the Chinese Government adopting a more pervasive approach to ‘patriotic education’.
The resolution Urges China to implement the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of religious belief for all Chinese citizens.
Significantly, the resolution calls on EU Member States “to prevent any activities undertaken by the Chinese authorities in the EU’s territory to harass members of Turkic communities, Tibetans and other religious or ethnic groups in order to compel them to act as informants, to force their return to China or silence them”.
And it calls on China “to allow free, meaningful and unhindered access to Xinjiang province and Tibet Autonomous Region for journalists and international observers, including for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Special Procedures”.
Taking cue from a law adopted by the US late last year, the resolution Urges China “to give EU diplomats, journalists and citizens unfettered access to Tibet in reciprocity for the free and open access to the entire territories of the EU Member States that Chinese travellers enjoy”. And it urges the EU institutions “to take the issue of access to Tibet into serious consideration in the discussions on the EU-China visa facilitation agreement”.
The resolution expresses disappointment that the 37th round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue held just recently had brought no substantial results.
The resolution was adopted with the support of 505 MEPs while 18 voted against it, with 47 abstentions.