An overwhelming majority of French and German citizens express solidarity and concern for the lack of respect for human rights and civil liberties of Tibetans; have a favorable opinion of the Dalai Lama and call on French President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel to officially invite the Dalai Lama to their capitals, according to a new poll realized by the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) in advance of Xi Jinping’s visit to Europe.
Also, in France, 90 percent and in Germany, 92 percent of citizens expressed their support for a meeting between China’s Party Secretary Xi Jinping and the Dalai Lama, to find a negotiated solution to the Tibetan issue.
The opinion poll, commissioned by the International Campaign for Tibet, showed that citizens in these two major European countries give greater priority to their leaders raising Tibet and human rights with the Chinese leadership, than pushing for commercial contracts.
“The polls give a clear message that European citizens’ priorities go beyond trade and business in our relationship with China,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet. “People are concerned about human rights issues in Tibet, and they want European leaders not only to meet the Dalai Lama, but to encourage Xi Jinping to speak to him face to face to find a negotiated solution to the Tibetan issue. European Union leaders cannot ignore the opinion of their own citizens and should clearly assert their support for fellow Nobel Peace Laureate the Dalai Lama and the human rights crisis in Tibet during Xi’s visit. What is at stake in our relationship with China goes beyond a trade deal or access to their markets; it is the relationship with a rising authoritarian country that will shape the very nature and future of the world in which we all wish to live.”
The surveys, carried out on March 10-14, showed:
- A strong majority of those surveyed – 83% in both France and Germany – favoured their leaders inviting the Dalai Lama for a meeting in the capitals of Paris and Berlin, respectively.
- 80% of French and 87% of German citizens favoured their leaders raising human rights in China with Xi Jinping during his visit. By comparison, 53% in France and 48% in Germany were in favour of pushing Chinese companies to invest heavily in the French/German economies.
- 78% of French and 83% of Germans want French President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel to raise concerns about the situation in Tibet, an increase from a previous survey undertaken in France in April, 2013.
- The Chinese leadership scored low on popularity among French and German citizens polled, with only 37% in France and 31% in Germany having a ‘favorable’ opinion of the current leaders.
- Opinion on the Dalai Lama was overwhelming favorable, with 89% in France and 88% in Germany expressing a ‘favourable’ opinion.
- There was high awareness of the human rights situation in Tibet, with 89% in France and 88% in Germany saying that it was ‘poor.’
The full results can be downloaded below.
China’s Party Secretary Xi Jinping arrived in Europe for his first visit as China’s highest political figure on March 24, 2014. After attending the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague in the Netherlands, Xi will visit France and Germany and will conclude his European tour in Belgium where he will meet with both European Union leaders and Belgian authorities on March 31.
Notes: The survey involved a sample of 1,000 people, representing people in France aged 18 and over, and 1,003 people, representing people in Germany aged 18 and over. It was carried out on March 10-13, 2014, in France and March 10-14, 2014, in Germany.
Below are a series of graphs prepared by IFOP that reflect the results of the survey.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon arrive in France [Germany] to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations and will meet with President François Hollande [Chancellor Angela Merkel]:
Do you wish French President Hollande [Chancellor Angela Merkel] to…?
Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon arrive in France to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations and will meet with President François Hollande:
In March 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping will undertake an official visit to 4 European countries (France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands).
Do you personally have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of China’s leaders?
How would you assess the human rights in Tibet?
Do you personally have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people?
Personally are in you favor or are you against President François Hollande [Chancellor Angela Merkel] inviting the Dalai Lama to an official visit at the Elysée [the Chancellery] in the near future?
The Dalai Lama has never been able to return to his homeland since 1959. Chinese leaders have not met with the Dalai Lama since he fled into exile. The Dalai Lama is seeking a negotiated solution to the issue in Tibet.
Personally, are you in favor or not of a face‐to-face meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Dalai Lama?