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Today EU Ambassador to China, Mr. Hans Dietmar Schweisgut begins his visit to so-called ‘Tibet Autonomous Region’ (in reality a truncated area of Tibet). He arrives with ongoing reports of Tibetans suffering a range of human rights abuses, Tibet’s environment increasingly polluted and degraded by Chinese mining companies and Tibetan culture and national identity under a genocidal assault. Realities which a 2015 United States Congressional delegation headed by Ms Nancy Pelosi, were not allowed to discuss let alone investigate. Indeed in a report published November 18, 2015 both Ms Pelosi and her Congressional colleagues revealed how controlled their trip was.
‘Jim McGovern, a Democratic congressman on the trip told reporters on Tuesday: “The Chinese government wanted to control as much of our visit as they could. And we saw what they wanted us to see”. Participants said they were accompanied by as many as 30 minders, with Pelosi describing a larger contingent of “people who… had walkie-talkies that may not have been identified as security”. She added that foreign journalists were barred from covering the trip, where chances to speak with ordinary Tibetans were curtailed.’ Source: Times Of India
Mr Schweisgut and his EU Ambassadorial colleagues are following up on a visit made by the European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights, Mr Stavros Lambrinidis, who traveled to Tibet as part of an official visit to China September 9 to 18 2013.
Over the years officials from the EU, and US Senators participated in what at best must be described as ‘fact-free’ visits to areas of Tibet. Some requests are flatly rejected, as was the case for Mr. Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada’s ambassador to China, whose appeal to visit Tibet was denied in February 2013 SEE HERE 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 presumed purpose of these delegations, 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.
Take the itinerary allowed for the EU’s Special Representative who was escorted by his Chinese minders to visit Tibetan nomads, who just happened to be part of a contented and supposedly thriving ‘socialist co-operative’, followed by a trip to a ‘paradise village’ built for Tibetans, no doubt ever so grateful to the Chinese regime for such generosity! Mr Lambrinidis was also permitted a meeting with staff and students of Tibet University and editors of the Tibet Daily, who presumably were very eager to praise the wondrous development and educational benefits supposedly showered upon Tibetans by China’s regime. A visit to the Potala Palace the Jokhang and Sera Monasteries were also arranged, where the Special Representative was granted an opportunity to hear from monks and members of ‘Monastery Management Committees’ about the freedoms enjoyed by Tibetan Buddhism under Chinese rule.
Such cynical orchestration and manipulation is a reminder of delegations who visited Stalinist Russia and when asked their conclusions declared they had witnessed ‘Utopia in Action’! Perhaps Mr Lambrinidis has forgotten the grim lessons afforded by history, such as the Danish Red Cross praising conditions they found at a Nazi model village?.
‘In the summer of 1944 the Nazi government had perpetrated a hoax against the Danish Red Cross by taking them on a tour of the Theresienstadt concentration camp in the occupied then Czech Republic. They fixed up and cleaned the camp prior to arrival and arranged cultural activities to give the appearance of a happy, industrious community. To cover up the endemic overpopulation of the camp, numerous inmates were deported to Auschwitz before the arrival of the Red Cross delegation.’ SOURCE
What would he felt towards a foreign Diplomat visiting Nazi Occupied Greece whose report was a triumph of dilution and evasion, that glossed over the systemic torture, forced labor camps and summary executions? Yet read the fact-lite, timorous and troubling conclusions of the European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights
“During my visit the Chinese authorities allowed for meetings and open discussions with a broad range of stakeholders. I had the opportunity to be informed of progress on a number of important economic and social fronts, including poverty eradication and education. At the same time, I noted worrying trends in key areas of human rights concern, including the heightened monitoring and restrictions placed on freedom of expression on- and off-line, as well as the persecution, arrest, and detention of people for peacefully expressing their views or legally exercising their professional duties,” Source: EU Press Release Brussels, September 20, 2013 (Emphasis Added)
However the path to Lhasa is becoming somewhat eroded by the well-shod 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 characterized 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.
Then there was 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.
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 sterilization 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 complicit in the concealment of the truth.
“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 unnoticed 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)
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 https://tibettruth.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/euresponse.pdf
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.”
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, characterized 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 catalog? 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?
Over the next few weeks the focus of our digital activism will be upon the upcoming commemoration of the Lhasa Uprising of 1959, which takes place each year on March 10. In addition we shall again be exposing and challenging the silence of the United Nation’s Commission On The Status Of Women and associated NGOs; on China’s forced sterilization program, who convene in New York March 14 to 24.
Updates on both actions will be posted on our Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts. As always we invite our subscribers and friends to participate, share and post as your support is a valuable and powerful contribution in bringing this issue to the attention of many who are unaware that women suffer such atrocities, or that this issue is being callously ignored by women’s NGOs and the United Nations.
We also very much welcome your active solidarity in ensuring the political establishment is made aware of the fact that Tibet is an independent nation under an illegal occupation. It’s amazing how few Senators, MEPs or British MPs know, so each year we produce an Online Action Pack to help folks lobby their Representative. It’s as easy as a couple of clicks, taps or swipes on your device and you will be greatly aiding the effort to ensure that the facts of Tibet’s status and struggle of Tibetans inside occupied Tibet is not forgotten.
Click on a link below.
Attention of: Mr Donald Tusk European Union Council President
Re: Your Recent Advocacy That China Resume A Dialog With The Dalai Lama’s Representatives
We understand that, during the 17th bilateral EU China summit in Brussels, you reportedly urged Prime Minister of China, Li Keqiang, to institute negotiations with the Dalai Lama.
“I expressed our concerns on freedom of expression and association in China, including the situation of the persons belonging to minorities (sic) such as Tibetans and Uighurs…In that context, I have encouraged China to resume a meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives.” Source: Radio Poland June 30, 2015
As someone dedicated to democratic values and representation you will cherish deeply the central political obligation that a government should reflect the aspirations and rights of its people. That duty takes on particularly acute responsibilities when, through armed aggression a state finds itself under foreign occupation and its people suppressed, requiring a government in exile to be established. Under those circumstances, as prevailed with France during the Second World War, the exiled authority champions its people’s cause for national freedom. No doubt De Gaulle observed with humility and pride the resistance and determination of the French Resistance to oppose occupation and regain independence for France. Indeed Poland’s recent history and emergence from the oppression of foreign control surely emphasizes the critical importance of such values to you.
In 1949 Tibet, a formerly independent nation, that displayed all the characteristics of a sovereign country, was invaded by communist China. Since that time it has been under a vicious military occupation, its culture eroded and people sorely oppressed by a range of violations and draconian policies. Despite the tyranny which has been waged against Tibet the hope for national freedom has burned undiminished, like the once occupied people of your county. Tibetans yearn for the re-establishment of their nation’s freedom and have during the years displayed remarkable courage and resolve to resist Chinese tyranny and express their right to assert the fact that Tibet is an independent nation under illegal occupation. There is a wealth of testimony, some presented to the United States Congress, the European Union, the United Nations and individual Parliamentarians which records the fact that Tibetans share a common aspiration for their country’s independence. This has also been recognized by the Dalai Lama: “I also know that every Tibetan hopes and prays for the full restoration of our nation’s independence” (HH The Dalai Lama March 10-1994).
Such hopes and determination have not changed, indeed as witnessed by the widespread Uprisings of 2008, and with recent and ongoing protests, both collective and individual, the Tibetan people remain as determined as ever to assert their nation’s legitimate right to independence and oppose China’s occupation. This is a central point and one that relates deeply to the democratic principles you uphold and also to the rights of a people suffering foreign occupation and oppression, who have every right to expect their authorities in exile to represent and honor their struggle for national freedom. Presently we have a situation where the political aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet, who constitute the overwhelming majority of Tibetan people, are being ignored by their own exiled Administration. Which instead of standing in solidarity with the objectives of the resistance to Chinese rule inside Tibet is promoting a compromise solution. One which would in essence consign Tibetans to a dangerous and uncertain fate as another ‘national minority’ of China with some form of supposedly improved autonomy, as formalized under Communist China’s national and regional laws on autonomy.
This is not the freedom envisaged or expressed so courageously by Tibetans who take to the street to face Chinese bullets, prison and torture. In advocating talks between the representatives of the Dalai Lama and China’s government the European Union is failing to recognize or support the legitimate rights of the Tibetan people, or their struggle inside Tibet for independence. Instead it endorses a ‘solution’ that would mean the demise of Tibet as an international issue and the execution of Tibetan national identity. Moreover, it does so in full knowledge that inside occupied Tibet, the Tibetan people are enduring the most brutal violations and suppression, not for autonomy but to declare their nation’s freedom.
Some commentators have described this position as a heartless and cynical betrayal of Tibet’s legitimate right to external self-determination by the European Union. What is certain is that the wishes of some six million Tibetans are being willfully ignored, their participation and choice in determining the future status of their country dismissed, on the suspect grounds that a compromise solution accepting communist Chinese rule is the most attainable prospect. Yet the Dalai Lama himself, whom the European Union seems to support unconditionally has previously acknowledged: “I have always stated that the central issue is that the Tibetan people must ultimately choose their own destiny. It is not for the Dalai Lama, and certainly not for the Chinese to make that decision. It should ultimately be the wishes of the Tibetan people that should prevail”. (HH The Dalai Lama Yale, 1991)
Any Parliamentarian would surely welcome the democratic principles espoused in that statement and support the rights of the Tibetan people to determine their nation’s future status. In that context will you kindly share with us in what way promoting the Dalai Lama’s personal ideas on seeking a solution for his country in any way honors the wishes of his people or embraces their rights? As to your description of Tibetans as some sort of ‘Chinese minority’ we would remind your office that the Tibetan people are not an ethnic minority, but as determined by an International Lawyers Conference on Tibet in 1993 constitute a people and as such retain the rights to self-determination
“..the Tibetan people satisfied the requirements and are a “people” for international law purposes” Paragraph 4.5
“..three resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly (Nos 1353, 1723 and 2079) have recognized the status of Tibetans as a “people”. Resolution No. 1723 expressly refers to the right of the Tibetan people to self-determination”
Paragraph 4.6 The Conference also concluded that the Tibetan people possessed an “abiding desire” for: “The establishment of an independent Tibetan state”
Paragraph 4.10 It was also agreed that: “The Tibetan people are entitled to..the exercise of the right to self-determination” Paragraph 4.11
Chaired by the Honorable Michael Kirby (then Chair of the Executive Committee of the International Commission of Jurists) the Conference made a recommendation to communist China and the Tibetan Government in Exile to begin negotiations to: “..facilitate the exercise of the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination” Paragraph 8.9 (Conference of International Lawyers-Self-Determination and Independence for Tibet’ London 6th to 10th January 1993)
Given the legitimacy of the Tibetan peoples rights, and in recognizing the collective will of Tibetans inside Tibet for their nation’s freedom, as evidenced by the mass protests and individual actions across the three regions of Tibet , why should Tibetans be asked to accept any less than external self-determination and independence? We would therefore call upon your office to support the legitimate rights of Tibet’s people, including their right to national freedom, and to endorse only negotiations that have as an objective such rights.