Thursday, 10 April 2008

ALDE backing for Tibet

The European Parliament voted this morning on a key resolution on the ongoing political tension over China's policy on Tibet ahead of its hosting of the Beijing Olympics this summer.

Graham Watson (UK, Lib Dem), Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, said:"There is no doubt that the cause of the Tibetan people is a just one, and all EU Member States should unite behind a common position, sending an ultimatum to the Chinese authorities that if they wish to have the political legitimacy at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, then they have until August 8th to open meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama and release political prisoners or those imprisoned for freedom of thought like Hu Jia.

"This is not an attack on the Olympic Games but rather a defence of the spirit of the Games themselves - breaking down political barriers through sport."The IOC should publish the terms of the host-city contract so we can all judge the requirements on China for holding the Olympics in terms of press freedom and human rights."

ALDE Human rights spokesperson, Marco Cappato (Italy, Radicals), added:"His Holiness the Dalai Lama has constantly made appeals on his people to avoid any violence. China should acknowledge and give credit to this effort. It would surely ease the process towards the opening of a dialogue.

"We regret that the majority of the Parliament did not see fit to call upon the Council to invite the Dalai Lama to Brussels. We have now missed an opportunity to encourage the EU to agree a common policy on Tibet and on relations with China."

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