EU Parliament bemoans China stance on Dalai Lama

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drapchi_1_tinA delegation from the European Parliament on Sunday labelled as “problematic” China’s attitude towards re-kindling talks with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

In a speech delivered to the European Parliament last October, the exiled Dalai Lama had met conditions previously laid out by China as a pre-requisite for talks, but Beijing had not accepted the gesture, the delegation said.

“To our mind, he (Dalai Lama) came up to these conditions. He renounced independence, he acknowledged the One-China principle,” delegation member Per Gahrton told a news conference.

“To our minds, that creates a problem — you make certain conditions and the person you put the conditions to fulfils them and you then repeat that he has not fulfilled them.”

China censured the European Parliament after it invited the Dalai Lama to speak in Strasbourg and charged that the Tibetan leader in exile was using religion as a cover for political separatism.

The European Parliament had renewed calls to China to strike up talks with the Dalai Lama in meetings with National People’s Congress Chairman Li Peng and Vice Premier Qian Qichen in Beijing, Gahrton said.

The Dalai Lama, revered by Tibetans as the latest reincarnation of a long line of Buddhist kings, has said for many years he is seeking greater autonomy, not independence, for Tibet and is ready to begin talks.

China, which reviles the man who fled to India in 1959 with thousands of supporters after an uprising against Beijing’s rule, says he is insincere.

Following the meetings in the Chinese capital, delegates visited the remote Himalayan region where they encountered concerns over human rights.

Comments by the director of Lhasa’s Drapchi prison revealed that reduction of punishments doled out on inmates depended on good behaviour and confessions, defined as renouncing claims of independence and condemning the “splittist Dalai clique,” Gahrton said.

China has released a few Tibetan activists from jail in recent years, including Tanak Jigme Sangpo who was freed nine years early on medical grounds in March and who arrived in the United States to seek treatment for heart disease on Saturday.