China Plays The Human Rights Game With Collaborative EU

Holgar Haibach-Back from Tibet With Few Answers

Holgar Haibach-Back from Tibet With Few Answers


In Beijing today officials from the European Union sat opposite their Chinese counterparts, in the closing rounds of the EU-China Dialogue on Human Rights, a largely ineffectual and cosmetic affair in which China holds all the adavantages, over a Europe financially dependent upon China’s market and trade. True some issues may bring limited progress and the Chinese Regime may negotiate on high-profile prisoners, yet major topics remain off the table, including Tibet, East Turkestan, and China’s forced sterilization program. Omissions which the diplomats of the European Union offer no protestation about, having kept shamefully silent of those subjects. The progress reached by this annual dialogue remains questionable and sceptics point to ongoing repression in China and occupied lands such as Tibet as evidence that these meetings have not moderated the grim excesses of China’s regime. Which is increasingly dismissive of international political opinion, even the diluted and appeasing objections offered by the EU, whose criticims on Iran are a very different nature indeed compared to its measured and often muted reactions to China’s human rights abuses.

One of the objectives pressed by European Union officials at these meetings is permission for ‘fact-finding delegations’ to visit China or Tibet, yet even when granted, such trips are not permitted to investigate in a truly independent manner. In May 2009 one such mission to determine the human rights situation in Tibet returned home largely empty-handed, the German Parliamentary group could only wring its hands and offered little in terms of hard facts. We could have expected nothing else. Such delegations accept terms which impose a suffocating restriction on their movements and willingly submit to a series of measures, all designed to conceal the grim realities of oppression. Under such censorship all that can be realized is a distorted and partial reflection. Yet the purpose of such trips, to determine in situ the factual circumstances, is defeated before departure from Europe or the USA by advance agreements dictated by communist China. Upon arrival representatives face a combination of official banquets, orchestrated tours, constant observation and carefully managed information all of which produce conclusions which are virtually fact-free.

However the path to Lhasa is becoming somewhat eroded by the well-shoed feet of politicians and diplomats seemingly embarked upon a search for the truth, untroubled by their collaboration in such propaganda or their singular inability to conduct any meaningful investigation. In light of the constrictions surrounding such visits, their vacuous findings, which are characterised by generalized observation, it is difficult to assemble an intelligent and convincing argument in support of delegations which seem more concerned with surrendering to Chinese demands than establishing the facts. Compromised from-the-start such missions are subsequently distracted and manipulated by a regime with considerable experience in controlling information.

Juergen Klimke-German Parliamentarian Regarded China's Silence as Insightful

Juergen Klimke-German Parliamentarian Regarded China's Silence as Insightful


Take the 2001 United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) delegation to China, during which over half the period was spent in Beijing, in meetings, banquets and barbecues with communist Chinese officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Family Planning Commission. During half-day visits to Sihui county, Guangdong Province, and Qianjiang, the delegation was accompanied by Chinese officials from the national, provincial, prefectural, municipal and county governments.

Communist China Is A Generous Host

Communist China Is A Generous Host


Under such circumstances,and with the pleasures of plate-and-bottle providing such distraction is it really surprising to note that a 2002 British Parliamentary delegation found no evidence that UNFPA was supporting coercive birth-control activities. It would be like expecting the Red Cross, having accepted an invitation from Nazi-Germany, to discover damning proof of the forcible sterilisation of Jewish or Gypsy women.

The conclusions and observations offered from such trips are not derived from unfettered, independent, exhaustive and informed analysis. They could never be under the ever- present, draconian gaze of the communist authorities. Such ‘requirements’ made a mockery of the US delegation of May 2002, which was constantly monitored, bugged and trailed by communist officials. It was also required to give 24 hours notice to the communist authorities of intended visits, during which time any evidence of coercion would be removed. Such constrictions undermine the integrity and value of such visits and seriously questions any claim that considers them to be either objective or independent. Worse still by participating in what is a propaganda exercise some delegations have been complict in the concealment of the truth.

Drapchi Prison, Lhasa-Where On May 4, 1998 Seven Tibetan Political Prisoners Were Killed.

Drapchi Prison, Lhasa-Where On May 4, 1998 Seven Tibetan Political Prisoners Were Killed.

Image: TCHRD

“Two prisoners were reportedly shot dead and another five died from their injuries within several weeks. Human rights activist from Tibet managed to smuggle out Ngawang Sungrab’s blood stained shirt as evidence of the inhumane treatment. Ngawang, a 27-year-old monk from Drepung Monastery, was shot by prison officials during the May 4 demonstration; the same day the EU delegation visited Drapchi Prison. Ngawang is currently reported to be in critical condition in the “TAR” Military Hospital” ( TCHRD-1998)

According to the European Union this event was unoticed by its representatives, who were visiting Drapchi Prison at that time:

“The delegation [European Union] was not aware of these reports [of disturbances] at the time of their visit to the prison. The delegation was also briefed, they felt unusually, in the open air outside the inner prison gates before the actual prison visit. Nonetheless, there were no visible signs of the after effects of a riot, and naturally the prison authorities made no mention of any such incident. As far as could be ascertained the guarding was normal, with no obvious signs of extra guards or heightened security.” (EU Statement-1998)

European Union Whitewashed Shooting of Tibetans At Drapchi

European Union Whitewashed Shooting of Tibetans At Drapchi


So captivated by the hospitality of their communist Chinese hosts, the British, Austrian and Luxembourg ambassadors were apparently completely oblivious to the ear-splitting burst of automatic gunfire, the terrified screams, or any sound of the violent suppression inside the prison. Clearly on a mission to report anything except the facts the delegation was a willing accomplice in what resulted in an official cover-up of the cold-blooded killing of political prsioners, within hearing of the EU troika. A shameful event that received mimimal examination

The subsequent EU Report was a master-class in omission, excuse and evasion, a whitewash of the first-order that revealed a craven placation of the communist Chinese authorities. It diluted the nature and degree of restrictions demanded of the visit by asserting and willingly complying with close supervision and the presence of an entire entourage as being “…the normal way of conducting such interviews in China.”. The report claimed that “no attempt was made [by the entourage] to put obstacles in the way of carrying out the programme.”

Diplomatic Requirements For Delegations to Tibet and East Turkestan

Diplomatic Requirements For Delegations to Tibet and East Turkestan

Image: jonespc

This was not the experience of the previously mentioned German Parliamentary delegation,  which reported on Monday April 20th 2009 that they were constantly escorted by Chinese ‘minders’ during their trip. Would they have anticipated anything else from totalitarian regime? Herr. Holgar Haibach, the head of the four-member delegation from the human rights committee of the German Bundestag, conceded that many of the group’s questions were not answered. He also revealed that there were always two “red lines” in the discussions with the communist Chinese authorities, no discussion on Chinese national unity, nor the authority of the Communist Party. Note then the comments of fellow delegate, Herr. Juergen Klimke who described the visit a success even when many of its questions went unanswered. “When they say nothing, that also provides insight,”. A conclusion that could have been gained from the considerable comforts of the Bundestag. The raison d’être of this delegation was to investigate, observe and determine facts, not to extract flecks of speculation from China’s lack of cooperation and admantine silence.

In light of the constrictions surroundings such visits and their vacuous findings, characterised by generalized observation, such trips benefit the Chinese regime in its efforts to perpetuate the mythology of a supposedly benign occupation. If Beijing considered such missions posed a danger of any genuine exposure it would not tolerate the suits from the United Nations or the European Union. Clearly it is contemptuously confident of securing the uncritical cooperation of such delegations, which naturally raises questions as to the motives of such efforts. Are the diplomats of Berlin, London, New York or Paris genuinely engaged in an independent effort to secure the facts and assemble a forceful critique of any oppression they catalogue? In agreeing to a long list of demands that virtually guarantee a neutered investigation how can the politicians of the liberal west justify what is a conscious complicity in a process engineered to conceal and distort?

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