Tag Archives | Europe

China’s false denials at UN human rights council must be challenged, ICT says

November 6, 2018

The Chinese government aggressively denied its human rights violations during today’s Universal Periodic Review of its record at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Despite China’s false claims, a number of countries rightly pointed out China’s systematic abuse of basic freedoms in Tibet and Xinjiang, among other serious concerns.

“The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) is deeply concerned by the responses of the Chinese government during today’s UN hearing,” said Kai Mueller, head of ICT’s UN advocacy team and executive director of ICT Germany. “It should be clear to everyone that this was not just about the rights of Tibetans, Uyghurs or Chinese human rights defenders, but also about promoting to the world the Chinese system, which quite obviously discards human rights and the rule of law,”.

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As China faces critical UN review, its appalling human rights record must not become the new normal

November 5, 2018

Washington/Geneva – As the Chinese government is scrutinized at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva this week, the international community needs to challenge China’s appalling human rights record and prevent it from becoming the new normal, the International Campaign for Tibet said today.

“In its own country, the Chinese government is systematically violating the most basic standards of human rights, and it seeks to weaken those rights in the international discourse. China undermines the work of international rights bodies, denies access, seeks to restrict civil society globally and exports its authoritarian model to countries susceptible to such tendencies,” said Kai Mueller, Head of UN advocacy for ICT and Executive Director of ICT Germany.

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ICT welcomes the establishment of Parliamentary groups on Tibet in France and in the Czech Republic

October 15, 2018

The International Campaign for Tibet welcomes the recent establishment of two parliamentary groups on Tibet in France and the Czech Republic, an important sign of the continuous support for the Tibetan people in Europe.

The new Czech Parliamentary Group for Tibet, which was created at the initiative of Dana Balcarová (Pirate Party) and Marek Benda (Civic Democratic Party) in September, was officially launched this week, coinciding with the visit to Prague of the Central Tibetan Administration’s President Lobsang Sangay. It brings together over fifty representatives from both Chambers of the Czech Parliament, making it the largest parliamentary group for Tibet in Europe.

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Dalai Lama commends ICT’s 30 years of service and calls for preservation of Tibetan culture

September 17, 2018

Supporters and friends from across the world gathered in the Netherlands this weekend for a heartfelt public conversation between the Dalai Lama and International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) Chairman Richard Gere in honor of ICT’s 30th anniversary.

The event, which took place on Sept. 16, was held inside a packed stadium of more than 12,000 people in Rotterdam. It ended with ICT President Matteo Mecacci announcing a new grant by ICT to support the Dalai Lama’s vision of secular ethics.

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Dalai Lama to take part in conversation with Richard Gere to honor ICT’s 30 years of service

September 14, 2018

The Dalai Lama, who arrived today in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on the second leg of his European trip, will take part in a conversation with International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) Chairman Richard Gere on Sept. 16, 2018 about how ICT can continue to advance the Dalai Lama’s work.

The discussion is part of the 30th anniversary events of ICT, which was established on March 15, 1988 to support the Tibetan people and the vision of the Dalai Lama.

Over the past three decades, ICT has made significant contributions as a champion of human rights and democratic freedoms for the people of Tibet. The ICT community, now over 100,000 strong and spread across the United States and Europe, is a vibrant collection of individuals who are not only an effective support base for the people of Tibet, but also a powerful voice for resolving conflicts through dialogue instead of violence. Having started with just one office in Washington, DC, today ICT also has offices in Amsterdam, Berlin and Brussels.

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New European Parliament Report Calls on China to Review its Policies in Tibet, Asks EU to Raise the Issue of Access

September 12, 2018

Brussels – The European Parliament, at its plenary session today in Strasbourg, adopted a new report on EU-China relations that urges China to review its policies in Tibet and review and amend laws, regulations and measures passed in recent years that severely limit the exercise of civil and political rights of Tibetans. It further 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 report, which was prepared by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Bastiaan Belder (ECR, Netherlands) and was passed by 530 votes to 53 with 55 abstentions, gives a rather detailed and in-depth overview of the state of EU-China relations. It tackles issues such as trade exchanges, China’s Belt and Road initiative, the 16+1 format, digital surveillance, climate change and sustainable development and the human rights situation in the country, and urges the European Union to rebalance its relationship with China, and to press Beijing to improve the overall human rights situation, including in Xinjiang and Tibet.

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European Parliament’s Intergroup on Religious Freedom reports “severe restrictions” against Tibetan Buddhists

September 4, 2018

In its fourth annual report released today in Brussels, the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance has ranked China among the worst violators of freedom of religion worldwide, noting specific concerns regarding the oppression of Uyghur and Tibetan religious practitioners.

The report assesses the state of religious freedom in 34 countries and suggests ways that the EU could be more effective in promoting the protection of this right. The report labels the situation in China as “severe violations”—the worst rank in the study—and calls on the EU to push China “to ensure that policies used to oppress minorities are reversed and that international human rights law is respected.”

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Denials, smokescreens and misleading information: Chinese government attempts to distort its record on Tibet at UN committee hearing on August 13, 2018

August 13, 2018

GENEVA — Today at the United Nations Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination, the Chinese government flatly denied its human rights violations in Tibet and other areas of the People’s Republic of China, instead painting a rosy picture of personal freedoms that left the body of independent human rights experts in disbelief.

“To state, as the Chinese delegation did today, that it ‘has taken good care of Tibetan culture and religion’ when more than 150 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2009 is beyond ignorant,” Kai Mueller, Head of UN Advocacy for the International Campaign for Tibet, said at the conclusion of the hearing in Geneva, which began with questions from the experts on Friday, Aug. 10 and ended today with responses by the Chinese government.

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International Campaign for Tibet’s oral statement at the UN CERD 96th session in Geneva on August 7, 2018

August 7, 2018

Following is the statement by the International Campaign for Tibet at the UN Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination (CERD) session in Geneva, which was delivered by ICT Germany Executive Director Kai Mueller on August 7, 2018. This CERD session began on August 6 and it will consider China’s state report on August 10, 2018. ICT submitted a report to CERD on China’s policy towards Tibetans.

The International Campaign for Tibet wishes to draw attention to discriminatory policies, regulations and measures, as well as to discriminatory public narratives against Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China.

Tibetans cannot practice their religion freely, nor can they protect their culture and language in a meaningful way. Instead, they suffer from repressive laws that deem any expression of their identity as extremist or even terrorist. Official Chinese propaganda has spread derogatory and racist narratives about Tibetans to ordinary Chinese, particularly since the time of widespread—and largely peaceful—protests in Tibet in 2008. In this context, I would like to mention the introduction of a so-called “Serfs Emancipation Day” in 2009.

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ICT President Matteo Mecacci raises Tibet with UN and EU officials in Geneva and Brussels

June 28, 2018

On June 26, ICT President Matteo Mecacci attended the meeting between the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al Hussein and ICT Chairman of the Board, Richard Gere, in Geneva, where the human rights situation inside Tibet was discussed.

Following that, Matteo Mecacci was in Brussels on June 27 and 28 to meet with representatives from different national and European Institutions.

He first met with the Austrian Permanent Representation to the EU, a week before the start of Austria’s EU Presidency, and presented ideas and concrete recommendations for EU policy on Tibet.

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ICT President Speaks at UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet discussion on Access to Tibet

May 10, 2018

Yesterday afternoon (9 May 2018), the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet[1] hosted a roundtable discussion on the issue of access to Tibet, led by Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), who presented a new ICT report to the group.

The group, which is co-chaired by Chris Law, MP for Dundee West and Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, saw one of its largest turnouts in over five years.

The issue of access to Tibet has long been a sore point of discussion for the Chinese authorities. Despite claims to the contrary by government officials in Beijing, Tibet remains largely closed to foreign visitors[2]. The detention and subsequent expulsion of two New York Times journalists who were visiting Eastern Tibet in February 2018 is but one of China’s more recent attempts to limit who enters the territory and control what kind of information reaches the outside world.

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French President Macron’s statement on the Dalai Lama and Tibet

April 26, 2018

George Washington University – On April 25, 2018 French President Emmanuel Macron, on his first official visit to the United States, held a town hall question and answer session with George Washington University students in the U.S. capital. One student raised a question on a possible meeting between the President and the Dalai Lama, leading to the following exchange:

Question: Hello President Macron. Thank you for being here, we welcome you. My name is Walter James, I am a Senior in the Elliott School of International Affairs. In 2016, the Dalai Lama made an official visit to France, but President Holland did not meet with him, nor any member of the French government. Given Beijing’s repression of Tibet and its persecution of the current Dalai Lama, who’s exiled in India, and given France and EU’s positive relations with the PRC, would you meet with the Dalai Lama if he were to return to France?

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Sweden charges Tibetan with espionage for Chinese government, highlighting pressures on exile communities

April 19, 2018

In the first known case of a Western government bringing criminal charges against a Tibetan accused of espionage, Sweden has indicted a 49-year old man for spying on Tibetans in exile for the Chinese government. The case, which will be the subject of a court trial, highlights the threats to Tibetan communities all over the world as China continues to intensify both its heavy securitization and surveillance mechanisms in Tibet and its overseas influence operations.

While it is known that Tibetans are informed upon across the Tibetan diaspora, particularly due to the heightened and more systematic activity of China’s United Front Work Department, this is the first time that a Western government has brought criminal charges against a Tibetan. In 2010, in a linked investigation, Sweden sentenced a Uighur man who had been caught informing on other Uighurs to a year and ten months in prison – the highest penalty ever for an intelligence case of this kind in Sweden.

In a strongly-worded statement on Wednesday (April 11), state prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist described the Chinese government as a “totalitarian regime”, telling the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that: “This is a very serious crime. Espionage affects very vulnerable people. People who have escaped to Sweden from totalitarian regimes must feel safe to enjoy their basic freedoms, such as the right to protest against a regime without their relatives being put at risk.”

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China: Dramatic deterioration of human rights situation in Tibet detailed in report for UN review

March 29, 2018

Brussels, Paris: In a joint report submitted today for the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of China, FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) and the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) documented a dramatic deterioration of the human rights situation in Tibet. The joint FIDH-ICT report also offers a set of concrete recommendations that United Nations (UN) member states should make during the third UPR of China, which is scheduled to be held in November 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland.

“China’s relentless attacks on the fundamental rights, identity, and culture of the Tibetan people have intensified under President Xi Jinping. The impact of these attacks is sadly manifested in the number of self-immolations of Tibetans that has reached 150 since 2009. It is imperative that China proves it is a responsible global leader and adheres to its human rights obligations with regard to Tibet,” said ICT President Matteo Mecacci.

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The United States, Canada and European government express concerns about Tibet at UN Human Rights Council

March 14, 2018

Geneva – The United States, Canada, the European Union and a number of European governments expressed strong concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet today in their item 4 statements to the ongoing 37th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Among the countries specifically raising Tibet in their statements were Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany and the United States. Bulgaria’s statement – made on behalf of the European Union- was supported by a number of states, including Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Slovenia.

Speaking under the key Item 4 “Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention,” the governments delegations to the Human Rights Council expressed alarm at the ongoing violations of the fundamental rights of Tibetans, saying they were incompatible with China’s national and international commitments. Many also called on China to release all those detained solely for exercising or protecting fundamental rights –some explicitly mentioning the case of Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk.

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UN Rights Council Urged to Press China to Drop Charges against Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk

March 1, 2018

In a statement delivered on behalf of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights at the 37th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 1, 2018, ICT’s Kai Mueller drew attention to the case of Tibetan language rights advocate Tashi Wangchuk as a striking example for the repression against Tibetan Human Rights Defenders.

Speaking under Agenda Item 3 “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development”, he welcomed the strong joint communication just issued by five UN Special Rapporteurs on the case of Tashi Wangchuk , as well as similar statements by a number of governments and parliaments calling for his release. He urged the Human Rights Council to join these calls and press China to drop all charges against Tashi Wangchuk and to release him immediately and unconditionally”.

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ICT and FIDH ask EU to urge for Access to Tibet as it observes 2018 EU-China Tourism Year

February 15, 2018

On the occasion of the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year (ECTY), which was launched in January in Venice, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) have written to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and to the European Union High Representative, Federica Mogherini, to express a number of concerns in relation to the promotion of tourism in Tibet.

The letter, dated February 14, 2018, highlights amongst others the lack of access to Tibet for foreigners (when Chinese tourists enjoy free and open access to the EU), the restrictions imposed on Tibetans’ freedom of movement and the lack of involvement of Tibetans in the decision-making process of tourism policies and projects. It also raises a number of questions and recommendations to EU leaders, and urges them to extend the notion of reciprocity -a notion promoted by the EU with regards to its trade relationship with China- to “the respect for fundamental rights, including the freedom of movement and the freedom of information of European citizens in China and Tibet”.

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German MPs call for release of Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk

January 29, 2018

Two members of the German Parliament (The Bundestag), have called for the release of detained Tibetan language advocate Tashi Wangchuk, who currently awaits the outcome of his trial in Yulshul (Chinese: Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (the Tibetan area of Kham in Qinghai Province).

The two parliamentarians, Claudia Roth and Maria Klein-Schmeink (both members of the Green Party group in the Bundestag) have sent an open letter to the Chinese ambassador to Germany, Shi Mingde, on January 26, 2018. In it, they urged him “to take effective measures to ensure Tashi Wangchuk’s freedom of speech as guaranteed by the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” The letter goes on to “demand Tashi Wangchuk’s immediate release and the termination of proceedings as long as there is no legally valid evidence to substantiate the accusations against Tashi Wangchuk.”

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